April 15, 2024
Hit the deserts to build and raid to your heart's content, time to Meet your Maker. The Finger Guns review:

Ahh, Behaviour. What a wonderful love-hate relationship we have. From the 1500 hours or so I have on Dead by Daylight (DBD), I’ve never been more grateful nor full of despising energy about a video game in all my life. For all the wonderful, memorable matches to the downright disgusting number of times I’ve been face-camped by a Leatherface, I’ve sworn by and sworn at your game-making more times than I’ve had hot dinners.

What a welcome treat Meet your Maker is then. I finally have the chance to play one of your video games without wanting to smash my head through a window or leap off the top of a mountain.

A first-person, community-centered (ha, the irony for DBD fans) build and raid game, Meet your Maker once again demonstrates that Behaviour know how to utilise their audience to do their job for them create a compelling, if unsophisticated title. Is it time to attend to your creator or should you avoid meeting your maker at all costs?

(I jest – mostly – about DBD, love/hate you Behaviour!)

Face Your Reckoning, Or Build Your Own

Meet your Maker is set amongst the backdrop of a devastated Earth. Sand and steel are all that remain of life. You are one of the (un)lucky survivors, committed to the “Chimera Project” whereby you must harvest a material named GenMat to sustain an overlarge test-tube foetus in a vat of green liquid. Yep, genuinely. Like BB from Death Stranding but upscaled about 30x.

Aside from the atmosphere you can just about peer out to via your hub’s windows or when out on a raid, that’s all the story you’re getting. Humanity is destroyed, civilisation lies in ruin. All that’s left is for you to venture out into the wastes, creating outposts to harvest GenMat and raiding others’ structures for resources.

Meet your Maker isn’t especially interested in creating a deep narrative, instead it’s primarily driven by its simple-yet-complex mechanics and gameplay systems. The 5 advisors and the Chimera present in your hub are basic gameplay tools – they won’t be providing insights about the world or giving your role within it any truer meaning.

While this approach lends itself to keeping the focus on playing, it’s missing any sense of place or grounding. You don’t even get to experience the desolation of the world in a meaningful way and given how much effort has gone into DBD’s character backstories, I can’t help but feel this was a missed opportunity. A touch of lore and exposition would have gone a long way here, so it feels disappointing not to have any.

Meet your Maker review

A Raid-y Day

The core of Meet your Maker involves you hitting the wastes to scavenge GenMat from other player’s settlements. Of course, it wouldn’t be much fun (nor a Behaviour game) if you could simply dig it out of the scorched Earth. Instead, you’ll have to overcome the perils of traps, guards and some devious player-led design.

At the Command Center, you can select one of up to 15 available maps, split into 3 difficulty categories. 5 will be “Normal”, 5 “Dangerous” and 5 “Brutal”. The level of difficulty is dependent on how dense the map is with various lethal spikes, laser-spouting cyborg creatures and how many varieties of dangers there are present.

You have one-job upon starting a level – find the GenMat, grab it and get the hell out of dodge. You’ll be armed with a bolt-firing rifle, a sword, grenades and your wits. In my case, everything but the latter. The building blocks of each outpost are exactly that – large blocks. As such, traps can be lurking on any floor, ceiling or wall. Sometimes, there’ll be a multitude in a row, other times they’ll be scattered all throughout.

The beauty of Meet your Maker’s raids is that you go in knowing nothing about what this next horrendous maze holds. Some are short but will just have one room piled with explosives, spikes, bolts and enemies firing blazes in your direction. Some will have you running for minutes at a time, working through winding paths or multiple dead ends like a labyrinth of Daedalus’ own hand.

While there’s only 4 enemy types and a handful of traps, the ridiculously creative ways people have constructed gauntlets of death already is incredible. One had me and Josh utterly stumped as we died time-after-time in a soul-crushingly hard room overflowing with explosions and lava. Every outpost I’ve played, from hour one to hour eight, I’ve found myself tensely traversing every corner and checking every surface in a downright paranoid fashion. When you hit an expertly crafted outpost, it’s immensely impressive and rewarding.

Meet your Maker review

The Human Condition

The fact that each outpost is human generated makes it that much more personal, in a strange sort of way. Knowing that someone else deviously plotted that bolt trap right in that tiny corner means my rage for being complacent was simultaneously congratulating a wily person. Despite all the steel squares and lack of life, there’s a heart to Meet your Maker thanks to the community tools on offer.

Having said that, after a couple of hours of intense play, I noticed that there’s a real routine to the challenges you’ll come against. The lack of variety in traps and especially guards means that once you get to grips with typical hidden spaces and overtly awful sequences, you’ll be able to run them quite easily.

Additionally, Meet your Maker mainly rewards an outpost for killing you, as opposed to providing a fun or engaging time. As you might expect, players have already found certain layouts and trap placements that are ripe for kills, at the expense of actual enjoyment. Once one player found the formula, you’d be amazed at how many times I then ran into it again. Some of these gauntlets are flat-out incompletable, which leaves a sour note and demonstrates the game needs some fine-tuning pretty desperately.

Raiding alongside a fellow scavenger helps, given that you can revive each other (going solo means restarting on death) and you have additional ammo. The boltgun only holds a max of 3 recoverable rounds, and many maps have already taken advantage of this limitation to great effect. Squad up if you can, though it won’t make some of the maps any more enjoyable.

This Block Will Be Your Tomb

Of course, raiding is only half of the equation in Meet your Maker. The other 50% comes in the form of building and outfitting your very own gauntlets of death. The construction controls work surprisingly well, with a slick and easy interface which allows you to place and drop blocks, traps and guards with ease.

You have a capacity limit for any given map you acquire, restricting your ability to just throw everything in for the sake of it. This incentivises intelligent placing and using the aforementioned creativity to create intense mazes. Or, you can just throw something together and some mindless scavenger will likely wonder in and get burned, shot or spiked to death.

When creating a maze, Meet your Maker thankfully has a couple of key minimum requirements to prevent cheesing, XP boosting and physically impossible outposts. A creepy/cute robot harvester must always be able to move between the starting point and the GenMat (which helps raiders find the route to it as well). There must also be a minimum number of traps and guards present in order to make it a challenge.

Once you’ve finished creating your magnum opus, you’ll then activate it to make it available for others to raid. While you’re off stealing (hopefully only in-game) someone else’s resources, or chilling going about daily life, your outposts will generate GenMat and resources for you. They only last for a certain period of time, upon which you’ll need to reset and reactivate them, or prestige them if they’ve taken down enough scavengers or earned accolades post-raid.

The systems themselves work well, giving the foundation a real solid footing. As I’ve alleviated to already however, it just feels like this is too content light. While you can unlock mods for traps and augments for guards, there’s too few varieties to make meaningfully different outposts, creating a homogenised feel. It isn’t helped by the lack of structural diversity either – only having blocks to work with makes each map feel uninteresting, even if it is hip to be square.

Meet your Maker review

Chimera Poor-ject

Rounding out the gameplay loop for Meet your Maker is its supposed upgrade and progression systems. In your central hub, there are 5 “advisors”, representing suits, hardware, weapons, traps and guards. Each of these levels up from specific XP doled out depending on what map you select to raid. Once their meter fills, you can progress their level, increasing your overall Chimera level.

Completing raids successfully, gaining Chimera levels and achieving success on selected maps incrementally provides you with three currencies. I don’t know what they’re called, I just know them as pink, blue and orange. These currencies are spent on purchasing or upgrading your weapons, consumables, suits etc. You can also purchase a boost for each advisor increasing currency rates.

In theory, this system should provide a lot of the reward for your efforts across this post-apocalyptic wasteland. Unfortunately, it flat out doesn’t. Every upgrade and purchase is expensive, requiring a lot of runs or waiting on your outposts to actually be able to buy them. More pertinently, there’s so few options to actually purchase, and the ones that are available feel like lateral alternatives rather than vertical improvements.

You’d think that levelling up each advisor would increase their inventory or provide discount prices… or something. But it doesn’t. Nothing fundamentally changes from levelling them up, not even cosmetically, which feels like a glaring hole that’ll swallow up Meet your Maker’s longevity. It’s like a sarlaac pit slowly devouring your poor hub.

If you’ve played Dead by Daylight, you may not be surprised that the currency system and acquisition feels so throttled, but whereas DBD has a wealth of content to make up the difference now, Meet your Maker does not. If there’s one element that needs an overhaul in this game, it’s the progression and currencies.

Meet your Maker review

Raid To Success

Visually and performance-wise, Meet your Maker is a step-up from Behaviour’s previous work. The game ran very well, with the only exceptions being when I ran into a room with 30+ traps all firing explosives at me at once and the odd geometry glitch. The colour palette is incredibly mid-2000s with lashings of brown, grey and yellow making it look rather dull, but that’s kind of the intention with a decimated desert landscape like this.

It very much feels like the building blocks for a really fun, endlessly replayable community-driven game are here. There’s a certain addictive quality to logging in to find out how your outposts have done and working through a couple of awesome maps made by others. Much like DBD, Meet your Maker’s success is going to hinge significantly on how well Behaviour support the title with more content from here, and how they monetise that process.

Having completed over 50 raids and brutally slaughtered over 100 players via my own two outposts, I can’t deny it’s been a stealthily good time. It has a lot of flaws, but something about Meet your Maker has continued to bring me back for more raiding goodness so far. Is it going to be another 1500+ hour (and counting) addiction? Probably not, but I’ll enjoy mangling some poor unsuspecting players along the way until the fire burns out on this decaying wasteland.

Meet your Maker is a solid new adventure for Behaviour Interactive, boasting a strong community-driven set of systems and mechanics that encourage creativity and ruthlessness in their design. The lack of available options, a poor progression system and grid-locked currencies dull the excitement of raiding somewhat, but the core structure of this outpost should allow it to harvest for some time yet.

Meet your Maker is available now on PlayStation 5 (review platform), PlayStation 4, Xbox Series S|X, Xbox One and PC.

Developer: Behaviour Interactive
Publisher: Behaviour Interactive

Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we purchased a copy of the game. For our full review policy, please go here.

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