If you had told me ten years ago that I would one day write a review for a game about sentient smack-talking corn, I probably wouldn’t believe you. To be fair I wouldn’t believe a lot of things because I was a child. Still though, Maize is a weird game, and it knows. Unfortunately being weird doesn’t make you good, funny, or enjoyable, which it isn’t.
Okay, so you might be wondering what Maize is about. It’s a lot simpler than it seems thankfully. You play as an unnamed character who has wandered into a corn field, while text appears at the top of the screen, narrating the action and explaining what you should do to progress.. This often involves wandering through the farmland looking for particular puzzle items in order to progress through the levels. Along the way the player finds objects that reveal more about what is going on in the farm, as well as meeting some of the strange inhabitants. It is very reminiscent of point-and-click adventure games, but set in first person.
Maize’s lack of game play affects it in a really negative way. I’m not accustomed to games like The Stanley Parable, where the game play consists of walking from room to room and interaction is limited, but the game’s other aspects make up for it. In Maize, the vast majority of the time is spent walking from area to area, trying to find glowing objects. The puzzle solving makes very little sense, and often times the solutions to problems are bizarre and nonsensical. The lack of logic accompanied with the limited interaction make the game a chore to play. There isn’t anything fun about it. The only other objects that you can interact with are folio items which are meant to reveal more about the world. Like I said, this wouldn’t be such a glaring problem if it weren’t for the other issues present in the game.
Hah, you thought I would write this review without any corny puns? You thought wrong.
Maize tries really hard to be funny. Too hard. At first the writing seems to have potential but instead becomes incredibly cringe-worthy and almost all jokes fall flat. What the writers fail to realise is that the majority of humour comes from the delivery. I understand that they may think talking corn and a narrator writing snarky comments is funny, but it’s presented in such a way that makes me visibly frown. Not only that, but the amount of jokes and the length at which they continue is absolutely awful. Every single piece of writing in the game attempts to be funny. No joke. It gets rid of any interest in the world of the story at all, because there is no world is story. It’s a constant barrage of cringe self referential humour. There’s no substance to this game, and even if half of the jokes were funny, the lack of depth and interest would turn off most people.
The game runs incredibly poorly too. At the highest settings, many of the games textures look incredibly blurry, almost unrecognizable. Highlighted objects can be difficult to tell apart from the other objects. If that wasn’t bad enough, the game often skips frames and stutters when walking around the environment. Performing the simplest tasks makes the game freeze up and it’s incredibly disorienting. The one thing that I do think the game does well is its soundtrack and building of atmosphere. The music for the game is genuinely really nice and has an eerie atmosphere around it. That atmosphere actually really helps the beginning of the game and makes it seem rather interesting. It’s unfortunate that feeling wasn’t kept for the rest of the game.
Many aspects of the game are very wheat.
For 20 US dollars you could buy a lot better things than Maize. You could buy Furi, a game that actually has good gameplay. Or you could buy The Stanley Parable, which has an interesting and funny story with limited gameplay. Don’t bother getting Maize, it doesn’t have either of those things and frankly isn’t worth your money.