Great puzzle games come in all shapes and sizes, but all of them have one thing in common: they provide a good challenge that teases — nay, pleases — the brain. Some you want to play because they’re in-depth and seriously involved, while others are short, sweet, but sized just right. Sizeable, developed by Belgian solo indie dev Sander Ambroos and published by Business Goose Studios, is a bite-sized diorama puzzle game that provides game within a game discovery mechanics that will surely delight fans of the genre. Coming to Steam on March 19, Sizeable’s page promises “A relaxing puzzle/exploration experience” with “beautiful low poly dioramas ranging from deserts to space” and “relaxing music written and composed by Jamal Green.”
Sizeable’s puzzles are simple dioramas packed full of whimsical settings and stories. One level might feature a desert with pyramids and an oasis, while another showcases a seaside scape with a full moon, lighthouse, and sunken ship. By growing and shrinking items in the environment, players will be able to affect other items in the diorama. Shrinking the palm tree next to the sun will cause the oasis to evaporate, the water vapor now forming a cloud, while shrinking the moon makes for a low tide, allowing the now topside sunken ship to be interacted with. By manipulating items in the environment like this, players will be able to find the three pillars hidden within each diorama and move onto the next level.
Controls in Sizeable are easy to grasp: left click interacts with the desired items, right click + hold & drag rotates the diorama, the scroll wheel grows and shrinks the items, and “R” resets the level. There are 21 main dioramas with four secret levels to discover and plenty of promised content slated for the future. Although its playtime is an hour and some change, it’s time well spent on a genuinely lovely little puzzler that unfolds deeper as you play.
Sizeable’s aesthetics are charming in their simplicity, with bright colors and a minimalistic approach to divulging information. Even through the the dioramas are small, they’re rich with items without being too full; in fact, I found the balance to be absolute perfection, as not every necessary item immediately stood out against the unnecessary ones without getting too lost “among the weeds” either. Coupled with relaxing music that really soothed the senses while energizing the mind, I found Sizeable’s look and feel to be absolutely top notch.
Each diorama in Sizeable has three small puzzles that must be solved in order to continue to the next level, which is noted in the top left corner of the screen. Each one is in-line with the diorama’s theme, such as connecting roller coaster tracks together in the amusement park level or plugging a whale’s blowhole in the deep sea level. Hiding inside each diorama is a tiny turtle, and collecting them all unlocks a secret area with even more hidden puzzles with clues pointing to where you can discover them. I think this was my favorite part of the whole game, as trying to find the hidden puzzles was like a game within a game and was honestly a little bit of a challenge. It really was perfect to make searching for the additional puzzles a puzzle itself, and it upped Sizeable’s charm immensely.
If I have any complaints about Sizeable, it’s honestly just that it’s perhaps a little too short. I say that due to greed instead of disappointment, however, as I simply wanted more puzzles to devour. On the other hand, its short nature means that it makes for a great game to stream or play for a YouTube video, especially if you’re looking for more wholesome or simple content. As someone who had recently just finished a bigger title, I took the opportunity to play Sizeable as a light palate cleanser, and it worked like a charm. And if you’re hoping for more puzzles, the developer has hinted that more are on the way in the future, so be on the lookout for those sometime soon.
Sizeable may not be a very long experience, but it is an absolutely delightful one worth having. Every single diorama was utterly charming in its presentation, full of life and stories, that I found myself glued to my seat in an effort to solve each puzzle just so I could see how adorable the next one was. If you’re looking for a simple puzzle game with a fun discovery aspect and minimalist approach, be sure to check out Sizeable on Steam.
Final Verdict: 4/5
Available on: PC (Reviewed); Publisher: Business Goose; Developer: Sander Ambroos; Players: 1; Released: March 19, 2021
Full disclosure: This review is based on a copy of Sizeable provided by the developer.