Maize Review

Somewhere in the american rural countryside there is an abandoned farm. The hero wakes up without memories of who he was or what he did before. As it happens, he will start to explore the farm and eventually the underground facility in Maize, a first person adventure game by Finish Line Games about sentient corn, talking teddy bears and scientists who communicate only by post-it notes.

Maize is a game about sentient corn. Corn that was created because two scientists misinterpreted a U.S. Government memo. As you can understand, these scientists aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed and the corn that now lives, breathes and talks, isn’t that sharp either. Immediately as you start to explore the abandoned farm and the areas around it, you will meet these corn characters and find out about the history of the place gathering documents and random collectables from the ground.

Meeting them won’t help you much either since the dialogue between them is driven by a primal urge for things they need, and what they seem to need all the time is to take naps. Even though the dialogue isn’t informative, it tries to be funny, incorporating that surreal comedy that we can find in Monty Python sketches. Personally, I am a huge fan of Monty Python and unfortunately, most of the times Maize’s humor didn’t hit the right notes. I found that it was like something was missing, like the end punchline wasn’t there or it just wasn’t funny.

There are three pretty interesting characters in the game though that kind of make the exploration better and Maize’s background story a bit more interesting. Vladdy, the mechanical teddy bear with a russian accent and a pretty awesome deep voice, that follows you around, insulting you and sometimes helps with some of the environmental puzzles. The other two are the scientists, which you will not see in the game but you will read all about their relationship and the background story behind the area and the science experiment, through post-it notes that exist in the world.

Through their dialogue I found most of the enjoyment the game has to offer. Two completely different characters, the one hot headed and logical, and the other cool and with pretty absurd ideas. Their relationship carries beautifully over through the writing, provides the more laughs in the game, especially if you observe the area you are in while you read the notes, since they refer to that area, and I searched all over the game’s places, not to find any missing items, but to search for more post-its from those two.

As far as the gameplay goes, Maize is a pretty straight forward and linear game, with light adventure elements. Many areas are locked while others that you can visit are unlocked and connected through linear paths, until you gather some items, solve a puzzle and unlock the other places of the game. The riddles are completely forgettable since there’s not that much thought involved. There are ghost shapes of the item you need, at the place you need it. When you find said item, you can come back and just place it there. The game makes everything very easy for the player.

And maybe that’s for the best, because the overall story and characters of Maize aren’t all that interesting, most of the times the jokes don’t hit in the right places and even the item descriptions feel pretty flat. If the puzzles were hard, I know I would probably not have the will to continue playing. Even the big twist about the hero wasn’t unexpected.

While playing Maize I tried to find elements to keep me going but there aren’t many in the game. Only Vlad and the scientist’s relationship made things interesting, the rest of the experience felt a bit flat. I also found that the game is heavy on my pc, that I had to use a lower preset for the graphics. This shouldn’t be happening since the game is very linear with only a few open areas in the world that would barely justify the heavy use of graphics. All in all, I believe that this game is aimed at younger audiences, those who just get into first person adventure games and want something light to get them going, and not at me who enjoy a gripping story with interesting characters and actual puzzles to solve.

You can buy Maize on Steam at 25% off, for the price of 14,99€.


Verdict

Maize is a very linear, first person game with very light adventure elements. There are a couple of characters that make the player want to find more about the world and offer a few laughs, but the rest of the game feels flat, storywise and as far as mechanics go. Check it if you are a young player and new to first person adventures. For all the others, it’s better to look somewhere else.


+Vladdy, the walking and talking russian mechanical teddy bear

+The relationship of the two scientists who communicate by post-its

The rest of the characters are not that interesting

Very light adventure with forgettable puzzles

The story and jokes feel flat

Not the best optimization making weaker PC setups go slow

Score : 6,5/10

Dimitris “Dimi Kaye” Kalyvas