What do you get what you cross sentient corn with a maze and a Russian teddy bear? You get Maize. Obviously.
Let’s get this out of the way, the first level is an absolutely brilliant opener, with only the bare minimum hand holding going on as you navigate through the rather sinister corn fields that surround you. When you reach a table and come across an English muffin as a collectable, you know this is going to be unlike anything else you’ve played for some time. You reach an abandoned house which needs to be unlocked, and well, you have no key. So much like the best walking simulators out there, you’re on a journey completely on your own as you walk around the area of the house looking for a solitary key that can open the house, which in itself opens itself up to a clusterfuck of a puzzle that I’ll be impressed if you beat with absolutely no help in less than 45 minutes.
No really, Maize is not easy and you’re either going to get immediately frustrated and turn it off, delete it and never turn it on again. Or, you’re going to persevere and see it through. Fortunately for this review, I’m the latter kind of gamer, and I dig these kinds of games.
Anyway, the key? Puzzles in Maize require parts that can be found in every corner of the house and its surrounding parts, most pathways are blocked until you solve certain sequences in the house, so you best strap in because you’re gonna be running around this house for a while once you’re in.
If you’re really struggling, then I’m afraid you’re going to have to read stuff. Each object you pick up has a little bit of backstory which can help you move forward. Some are obvious, some are not so much, so you’re going to be using your noggin an awful lot to get through. Fortunately, each tip has a solid amount of humour, so it never feels like a chore when you’re smiling your way to victory, does it?
The beauty of this level is that it’s so cleverly designed, almost like an escape room. By the time I finally finished it up I wasn’t even mad at how long it took, I was delighted because now, one would imagine the game would begin. Once you solve the first puzzle that’s when the humour of Maize really kicks in. A terrific cut-scene with talking corn making you do a riddle is a highlight.
It’s a shame then that the game never really lives up to that first hour. The humour is present throughout and the more you explore, the more you’ll find to chuckle at, the issue being once you’ve done one puzzle you’ve pretty much done them all, albeit with different objects. It started to feel a little repetitive by the time you’re running around just looking for things that are shining a little. The game isn’t about where to find things but rather what you do with them, the issue being where things are is 90% of the experience.
If you have a good time with the initial level in the farm house, you’re going to get something out of Maize, it’s a great indicator of how the rest of the game will play out. There are a variety of humourous moments and fun fourth-wall breaking, and depending on how long it takes for you to complete the puzzles, you’ll be finishing it up in about four hours max.
Finish Line Games are going to get some good notoriety with Maize, and I wish them the best of luck and look forward to seeing what they do next. It feels like a game I could get into whilst commuting, should a Switch version ever appear I’d be all over it.
As of now, it feels like a single idea with a strong story connecting it all together. It doesn’t live up to that brilliant trailer but if you’re after a game to give you a good chuckle, you can’t really go wrong here. Just be ready to walk around a hell of a lot to get to the punchline.
Maize is available now on PS4 (reviewed) and Steam
Developer: Finish Line Games
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a review code from the publisher. For our full review policy please go here.