Puzzle games come in all forms and styles, but Finish Line Games has found a way to truly go outside of the norm and bring a unique, comical title! Originally launched on Steam in late 2016, Maize is a great game to be brought over for console players to enjoy a confusing, yet not frustrating puzzle game located in a strange cornfield that turns out to have way more going on then is first presented!
Without trying to give too much away, you will start out with literally no knowledge of whats going on and waking up in the middle of the cornfield. You find yourself collecting various items to use in often unexpected ways in order to continue making your way through the game. Little do you know that this farmhouse is a cover for a secret science facility, run by a dimwitted genius and his constantly frustrated partner, that is causing the corn to come to life!
After making it through the first couple sections and reaching the science facility underground, you will end up encountering an extra odd sentient corn and putting together your Russian teddy bear friend, Vladdy, that will then insult you through the rest of the game while helping you when he can!
With nothing to do but figure out what items you need to do anything in the game, you will have to make your way through a maze of maize to get to the farmhouse. This is where you will really get to start collecting items and putting them all together properly!
While there are no enemies to fight throughout the game, there are plenty of confusing moments and items that will appear completely useless at first, but will be helpful at some point. This includes the English Muffin you will find at the beginning of the game and will end up carrying with you through most of the game. I thought I missed something from the beginning pretty often, but it turned out to be very helpful when it's moment came.
There are various items that you collect that aren't meant to be for use, but rather will end up in your folio. This is the collectible side of the game and you can unlock a trophy/achievement by collecting each one of these items, which could literally range from a piece of paper to an entire rug!
All items that are collectible, regardless of useful or folio item, will be highlighted so that they are easier to see. This doesn't mean it will be obvious though as some items are incredibly small and this game is actually quite large! Not to mention the mess that is constantly all over the place in each section of the game.
One of my favorite moments in the game are the sticky notes you will begin to find. These will be either Blue for Ted or Pink for Bob. Their back and forth is always comical and even though I am not part of the team nor interacting with the two, I agree with Ted that Bob is rather infuriating!
I did like how they were able to keep you within a perimeter so that you never did end up traveling through parts of the game that didn't relate to what you are currently trying to do. Since the items are basically found in the hide-n-seek fashion, it helps to have the stack of boxes (shoe boxes to be specific) block paths that no longer are helpful.
The game had a mix of cartoonistic-realism that fit well with the comedy style of the game. While not everything looked like it was completely real, it did appear to look as though you were within a well-drawn cartoon.
There was a consistent, low music that played in the background that made the searching for items more bearable and as the intensity of your task grew, so did the music to fit it. It was also interesting to hear a sneaker-type squeak when walking rather than the usual footstep tapping you would hear in a game like this. The sound effects surrounding you also brought life to both the outdoor and indoor sections of the game.
Other than going for the trophy that states "Beat the game in under 2 hours" or trying to collect every folio, the game doesn't have much reason to be replayed as the puzzle elements and story will all be exactly the same.
What Could Be Better
I think I would of enjoyed actually seeing, or at least hearing, Ted and Bob having an argument over the facility and more banter between the sentient corn. Also would of been cool to see the device in action, bringing some other corn to life from the field.
It was a very funny game with a confusing, yet fun way of solving puzzles. As stated above, the level of confusion never really reached the point of frustration and I believe that is thanks to the way they blocked off areas that wouldn't be helpful to the player. Easy to say that any puzzle gamer would enjoy this easy-going, comedy title!