PS4 Review: Maize

Would it be corny to call this one a-maize-ing?

Maize is one of the strangest games I’ve played in a long time. You play as a silent protagonist who wakes up in a maize field of corn and without much input, you stumble across a house and after searching high and low for a key, you enter it to find puzzles that need solving such as fixing the fuse box and so on. Eventually, you gain items to access an underground lab but are ambushed by sentient corn who say they hope you do better than the “other ones” and to watch out for their brother as he’s a bit odd…

The corn characters have English accents (Not the cliched tea and crumpets one either) but more Monty Python meets Tweedledum and Tweedledee and has the same wit. You’ll also cross paths with a robotic teddy bear with a Russian accent called Vlad who thinks everything and everyone is stupid, except him of course.

The best way to describe Maize is a first-person adventure game that feels like a traditional point-and-click adventure in which you collect hordes of items to solve puzzles either there and then, or later on. For instance, one item you get at the beginning of the game isn’t used until right near the end. You’ll backtrack between a few areas as you go and while in hindsight the puzzles are simple, I did struggle for a while with some bits as the solutions seemed so obscure, they didn’t seem possible. How wrong I was…

Maize is just plain nuts and it’s got a great sense of humour. Scattered around the underground lab are tons and tons of post-it-notes between the two “geniuses” who created the corn lifeforms and one keeps messing up while keeping a bright outlook, while his superior constantly is writing abuse at him. I advise you read every bunch you come across for some genuine “Oh…Bob, you ****ing idiot” moments that you’ll be saying to yourself.

You’ll also cross paths with a giant corn known as the Cornacabra who tries to stop you from “freeing the Queen” as well as 3 corn characters who lurk about in areas who are idiots obsessed with taking naps and are just hilarious. To say any of these characters are forgettable is a damn insult…I’m looking at you, Metacritic reviews! I can honestly say I haven’t laughed so hard at a game in a long time, maybe it’s because I’m English myself…but the writing is genius and some of the puzzles have the most random and priceless solutions that I had to wipe the tears of laughter from my eyes.

I only have two major complaints about Maize. One is that it’s simply not long enough, it’s over in a few hours and there’s even a trophy for getting the game wrapped up in under 2 hours (which I managed on my second attempt). I could have spent hours more down in that lab or in the cornfields. My second issue is that sometimes the framerate slows down while you are sprinting, but this is rare.

Visually, Maize has a charming look to it…even though you can tell it was done under a small budget. The voice-acting is great and the team deserve credit for delivering some truly great lines that had me in stitches, while the soundtrack is also pretty good. The end song even is a joke as it’s one that “Bob” recorded in the lab’s sound booth.

The Verdict

Maize is bizarre and brilliant at the same time. The only thing that really lets it down is how quickly it’s all over. I hope we get a sequel or spiritual successor of some sort. The sense of humour is just priceless and worth the price of admission alone. I cannot recommend this wacky game enough. Just download it already.

Score: 9.0