This needs saying up front –
this game is amaizingly corny. It is also a whole heap of fun.
There are other corny games, but
to my knowledge, never has there been one about corn. And sentient corn
at that. You come across it early on, albeit a brief glimpse of a few
ears running away as the game starts, but much more of it later on.
There is still plenty of corn
from the get-go, and it’s easily as high as the elephant’s eye. It
provides the first “maize”. Finding your way to and from the various
locations, in order to gain entry into the underground facility, is
probably as challenging as the puzzling itself.
Which isn’t very challenging,
but it is maze-like nonetheless. Signs help, as does the fact that you
can sometimes see the roofs of the places you are trying to get to (the
house, the silo, etc.) but I got turned around at times, and ended up
where I started more than once.
One other location is also a
maze, a short one where you have to find your way in and then out again,
with a clock ticking on a nuclear explosion. I failed the first time,
but then walked it before starting the clock, which was a much more
The facility itself might feel a
little the same, with twisting and branching corridors, and a number of
different levels. You might lose track of where a particular room is,
but a bit more running around and you will end up where you need to be.
Whatever your view of these
sorts of layouts, don’t let it deter you. They are gentle, and the game
as a whole is a hoot.
Maize isn’t a hard game, made
all the less hard by the fact that things of interest glow. So too where
you have to use the things of interest shows the outlines of said
things. Examining items also often gives a clue as to what you might do.
The result is that as long as you pay attention to the environment as
you wander through it, you shouldn’t have terribly much trouble at all.
Which I found perfectly fine. It
isn’t puzzle heaven, but isn’t trying to be.
Not everything is signposted,
but you have very few items at any one time, so if all else fails, the
tried and true “try everything here” approach won’t take long. Once you
use an item, it disappears from your inventory. The muffin though
Occasionally I had no idea what
to do next, but just as often there was something to tell me to go
someplace in particular. There were also some very artificial “can’t go
here, now you can” situations, often involving large orange boxes, but
just go with it. Some become explicable, in an explicable sort of way.
The plot is an absurd riotous
mess (I mean that in a good way), as you would expect with sentient
corn. This corn is none too bright either, flitting from here to there,
delivering messages, chatting among themselves, and forgetting what it
was they were doing. They were beautifully animated, spoke with posh
accents, came across as carefree souls, and I looked forward to running
Vladdy the Russian accented
robotic bear is the complete opposite. Once you activate him, he becomes
your constant companion, helpfully but crankily crawling through vents
for you and doing other tasks only Vladdy can do. All of which he does
while berating you for the stupidness of picking up so many idiotic
things, and railing against everyone and everything. And you in
particular, you idiot. He is an over the top teddy, and his attitude
might grate, but I liked the contrast. Plus no matter how much he
complained, he got things done.
Two other corn-stalks play
pivotal roles, and are at the centre of the events. I will say no more
about them, other than they are excellent.
Two completely different
characters are also important, but you never actually meet them. What
you do is read the post-it notes they have left to each other all over
the facility. There are a lot of them, about all sorts of things, and
there is much squabbling and cajoling, as well as optimistic but
fruitless endeavour. You can ignore them if you want, but why would you?
They tell you a lot about the sort of place this is, and a lot about
other stuff and nothing at all. It adds its piece to the cacophony.
As does the folio. Odd things go
in there, 75 of them in all. As well as notes, it included physical
items, like a water pipe and some stones. You can then read about all of
them, and again you can ignore them, but again they are part of the rich
weird tapestry. Plus you would never know the names you gave to each of
Then there the little messages
which pop up centre of screen. They might say something helpful like
“Vladdy will fix that if you ask him to” or “guess what, a new path has
opened up” or something merely observational like “that was probably
important” or “that happened, just because”.
Finally, there is you. You can
find out who you are yourself.
The bits and pieces might all
seem a bit odd, but the characters in particular pull it all together to
deliver a zany, sometimes hilarious caper. It might be a little
repetitive at times, and it is a little top heavy in exposition at the
end, but the final cinematic ending is a ripper. What leads up to it is
no less outrageous than what went before, but if it's good enough for
the those guarding the galaxy, what more needs to be said. It does
involve a little QuickTime rhythm game, so get the fingers ready.
Maize plays first person, and
you move around with the W,A,S,D keys and look around with your mouse.
The keyboard and mouse are both used to do other various things. You
have completely free movement, which I always enjoy. It's a lavish
colourful game, with some quite excellent environments, more so above
ground than in the facility itself, although the rooms are cluttered
with all manner of objects and detail. There are cutscenes throughout,
its well acted, and musical tones and ambient sound round things out.
There is a rather long initial
load, but from then it hummed along. You don’t need to save, as quitting
will do it for you, and when you get to the end you can replay from any
Chapter you like. Just hit resume when you start the game again, and you
will pick up from where you left off. If you fail to stop the explosion
in time, you just get to try again.
Maize has its tongue firmly
planted in its ear, and I confess I thoroughly enjoyed its wry
nonsensical tones. It has its flaws, but it clearly has heart, and I am
very pleased I played it.
I played on:
OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit
Processor: Intel i7-6700 4GHz
RAM: 32GB GDDR5
Video card: AMD
Radeon RX 470 8192MB
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