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Maize (PS4) Review

September 21, 2017 | Posted by Genna Boyer
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Maize (PS4) Review  

Normally, when I think of inventive stories, my first thought does not involve corn. In fact, I would never consider a vegetable worthy enough to demand an entire plot. However, with a drop of fictional science, Maize delivers a quirky story featuring sentient versions of my go-to vegetable.

I should preface by saying that I loaded up Maize with no prior knowledge of its story or genre, other than what I had already inferred from the title and the game’s loading graphic. When the opening scene faded out on a band of sentient cornstalks hopping away from my character, I was filled with a curiosity that could only be sated by progressing the story. And once the unnerving feeling that something was going to pop out of the cornfield and kill me dissipated, the game became very simple.

Maize largely caters to players who possess: a hankering for exploration, a love for picking up an assortment of junk, and funky problem solving skills to use that junk in ways that are not entirely logical, plausible, or safe in its in-game application. Exploring Maize’s environment is straightforward. Open areas are determined by what point you’re at in the story. Don’t worry, it’s impossible to stray from the current objective when all other paths are blocked by strategically placed shoe boxes. Yes, shoe boxes serve as obstacles. That’s not even the weirdest part of Maize.

To unlock new paths, thereby unlocking more of the story, you must pick up junk to repair, build, or retrieve other items. Finding these junk items is quite simple; when you’re within range of an important object, the object will have a white, glowing outline. This indicates it can be interacted with, and the same applies to areas where an item can be placed. Not all items are of high importance, however, due to the implementation of “folio items.” Folio items are collectables found in every corner of Maize. While folio items are essentially meaningless to the story’s progression, their true worth is found in their peculiar descriptions. I admit, I scoffed at them more than once.

As I scoffed at the off-putting descriptions, I also scratched my head, because more than one description implies you’re an idiot. Honestly, it’s a somewhat fair assessment when you consider the three things you’re going to think the most while playing Maize: “Where do I need to go next?”, “What do I do with this stuff?”, and “What the hell just happened?” Maize often turns into a pick-everything-up-and-mash-the-interaction-button-until-something-happens game, so the extra characterization in the folio item descriptions is helpful to understand your character on some level.

Thing is, your character is smart enough to piece together your sidekick, who happens to be a tantrum-prone Russian teddy bear named Vladdy. The game warns you that he’s rude, and rightfully so. Vladdy’s favorite words are “stupid” and “idiot.” Be prepared to ignore these minor insults directed toward you, because his repetitive usage of them echoes in your eardrums after a while. If that doesn’t miff you off in some way, then the screech-squeak audio for his movements will. It’s nearly impossible to like Vladdy, but when I did, he was being electrocuted while trying to help me.

With its graphics and atmosphere, Maize could have been a compelling adventure. Tragically, the game’s off-putting humor and lackluster button-mashing puzzles are not enough to draw anyone’s attention for more than one play-through, even though it would only take a few hours of your time. While the concept of the story persuaded me to push forward, curiosity can only boost the story for so long. In the end, Maize will leave you feeling unaccomplished and cheated out of a few precious hours of your life.

The final score: review Bad
The 411
Although Maize is visually appealing, the eye-catching graphics alone cannot compel anyone to overlook the off-putting humor, the repetitive dialogue, the juvenile insults, and the disappointing conclusion.

article topics :

Maize, Genna Boyer