What do you think would happen if two government scientists, with questionable common sense, though they were told to create sentient corn in a memo? I promise you that whatever scenario that just popped in your head is nowhere near as strange or hilarious as what had actually taken place in this first-person puzzle game, rather fittingly, called Maize.
Maize, developed by Finish Line Games on the Unreal 4 engine, is an exploration puzzle game set in a research facility in what appears to be the 1980s. In this romp of oddities, you awake on the outskirts of a cornfield not sure of who you are or why you are there. Upon some further exploration, you notice that this farm is completely abandoned save for the corn that surrounds you. Oh… and the corn can talk… and walk around… and they apparently love naps… a lot. Also, these corns have some puzzles for you to solve in order to prove that you will be useful in helping them fulfil their plan. Oh, what is their plan? Well, they don’t really know but it involves solving lots and lots of puzzles.
Maize does quite a good job of grabbing you with its sense of humour throughout your adventure, with what seems like a very heavy influence from acts like Monty Python and the Hitchhiker’s Guide series. However, I think I stayed for the somewhat nonsensical puzzle elements that took up the bulk of the gameplay in this laugh out loud ruckus.
And I’m really not exaggerating here. I found myself chuckling through most of the game! Whether it be from the absurdities of some of the puzzle combinations or the banter from the corn peanut gallery or even the two scientists, Bob and Ted, of whom you never actually meet as you enter the game after the main plots goings on. Luckily, given their estranged working relationship, Ted and Bob only correspond through colour coded sticky notes that you find all over the underground research facility. Also in that facility, you meet your comrade Teddy, a robotic teddy bear with a disdain for your stupidity and an adorable Russian accent.
Maize continued to impress with its visuals thanks in no small part to the more updated Unreal 4 graphics engine. The game did feel a bit dark in some sections and when I adjusted the gamma settings the darks just kind of turned blue and I know that’s a bit of a nit pick but honestly it’s one of the only things that I can complain about when it comes to this game. I know that humour is very subjective however so I can’t promise that. If you’re a fan of classics such as Monty Python or some of the wackier episodes of The X Files, you’ll come away with your side torn from laughter.
At its core, Maize is a traditional first-person puzzle game but is filled with the delightful charm of a corny Dad-joke (sorry, I had to!).