It has been a long time since I have played an adventure style game. I mean the old 90s point-and-click style like Grim Fandango (which is a masterpiece). They are cheesy and silly but ultimately, a lot of fun. So, when I heard about the new Maize game I was intrigued; even more so, when I discovered it was a game about sentient corn. Yes, you read that correctly; living, talking and thinking (well, sort of) corn. Naturally, I had to find out exactly what it was I was missing out on. How had I never heard of this game before? But, after playing the first ten minutes of this game, I knew I had to share this with you all.
I don’t know many stories that revolve around talking corn, but Maize does a great job of it. You are an unknown being who is dumbly fumbling around a corn field that sits atop a secret facility. Your goal: to find a way to free the corn and their queen. Yes, corn follow a traditional monarchy system but let us move on. The story is fun and linear much as you would expect from an adventure game. Overcoming obstacles, making adorable Russian teddy bear friends and solving really hard puzzles, this is a tale of how one “man” can save corn from its underground prison. What more could you expect from a quirky indie game?
This game plays much like the old 90s point-and-click style adventure games. Except in first person and not point and click. The puzzles are the biggest gameplay element, that and the collectables you find around. You have a folio that brings up a brief description of the object you have just collected. These come from beautifully designed brochures for a Top Secret underground facility to a chair. Perhaps not the most exciting things in the world, but to your character they are and why the hell not? I really liked that the puzzles weren’t too difficult to solve as it kept the pace of the game moving forward. Simple but effective is possibly the best way to describe Maize.
Graphics & Sound
The graphics were superb. Made in the Unreal engine, of course they were bound to look amazing. Kudos to First Line Games for using this engine to create Maize. It isn’t the easiest to use but they made it work. Despite this, it still has that cartoony feel to it. Especially when it comes to the character design. I don’t mean that it a wholly negative way either. It just adds to the quirkiness of the game. I mean, I’m not sure how much more quirk you need with talking corn but I’m not complaining. The voice acting was spot on as well. I think my favourite had to be Vladdy the robot teddy companion that helps you out along the way. But, I enjoyed most of it to be honest. The classic British sounding corn and their queen seemed rather apt. And then, of course, there was the rogue corn with a lisp trying to stop you from freeing them all. If you ask me, the voices and script for this game were just perfect. Or at least, perfectly quirky. Which I’m okay with.
Nothing over complicated. Standard movement keys except you can’t jump and space bar opens your folio. Then there is that sequence where it turns into a “Dance, Dance Revoltuon” rhythm game for about 2-3 minutes. The only mystery that remains is whether or not the ‘Q’ button does anything. Seriously, I still want to know.
Like I say, the game is fairly straightforward. It doesn’t try to over complicate things, I think it is meant to be a simple and fun game with a rather bizarre story that you can enjoy. It would have been nice to see a few more complex puzzles thrown into the mix as a lot of the solutions were basically handed to you. But, I suppose that makes sense given the nature of this game. However, it certainly doesn’t detract from the fun and it means you have more time to enjoy reading post-it notes about a rather dysfunctional business relationship.
I doubt there is much in the way of replayablity. Unless of course you want to enjoy the story again or if you want to go back and collect all the folio items that you missed the first time around. It is a fun game but I doubt I will play it again any time soon. However, Maize does have a Chapter option in the menu so you can always go back to a particular chapter that you enjoyed should you so choose.