Crowdfunding platforms and direct digital distribution channels have already made some crazy projects a success. A truly bizarre video game comes from the Canadian developer Finish Line Games. The creative minds from Toronto combine in the adventure game maize Proven gameplay mechanics with rather weird humorous interludes in the style of a Monty Python. Anyone who likes to be insulted by talking teddy bears and hunted by a lisping corn monster is at maize precisely. The game was released on GOG and Steam at the end of 2016. The release for the PS4 and Xbox One consoles was only a few days ago.
In our following game test too maize for the Xbox One we explain why a trip to the cornfield can be worthwhile.
Science has already brought some absurd research results to light. Often with the best of intentions, sometimes with far-reaching consequences. The experiments of two scientists who were instructed by the US government (who else ?!) to develop a sensitive maize variety should also have consequences - which ultimately turns out to be an error.
And so the circle of science closes: two researchers develop something with the best of intentions that nobody wants and yet has far-reaching consequences. Is described maize as a first-person adventure, which is justified in view of the game perspective. As action-packed as a first person shooter is maize on the other hand not. Anyway, the gameplay seems similar to Daedalics adventure game The pillars of the earth, not to be in the foreground. There's not even a compelling backstory that Finish Line Games is trying to impress players with. Rather, it's the gags and absurdities that make it up maize Make an experience that feels refreshingly different from conventional adventure games - and because the selection of puzzle-heavy games is manageable, at least on the Xbox One, you like to take every title with you.
Monty Python meets X-Files
The humor of maize is, to put it nicely, quite special. Fans of old Monty Python films immediately feel like they have arrived in gag heaven. It's not a subtle humor that the developers work with, but a special kind of exaggerated show interludes that films like The life of Brian or The knights of the coconut made legendary. Works by the British comedian group were often comical, but always silly. Until the first jokes catch fire when playing maize a few minutes. Without an introduction to the story, the player wakes up in a dense cornfield, which limits the path and thus leads the player through the game world at the same time - at least until a mysterious red door is opened.
The goal of the game is kept open from the start: As a gamepad acrobat, you have to find out why you are in the game world at all. The main setting for the first hour of play is an abandoned farmhouse with a barn and grain silo. With a tried and tested control mechanism, you move your alter ego around the world to collect objects and use them in given locations to solve puzzles. Players usually find fragments of stories in the form of notes or research papers. At the latest when you discover one of the scientists, it becomes clear that something didn't go as it should.
Shallow adventure fare with great gags
Is playful maize rather shallow. The puzzles are fair and are mainly limited to finding the items required for the respective game section. Particularly pleasing for beginners: the outlines of the required finds are always recognizable, so that one can roughly see what it is about. Complex combinations of various inventory items are included in maize not required. While this makes the game less difficult, it helps make it quicker - and it is maize twice as good. On the one hand because you can enjoy the solid story almost without interruptions. On the other hand, because every progress is connected with new weird gags. Know the jokes and absurdities maize hardly any limits. During the presentation you can still tell the origin of the title. The English dubbing is quite successful, but does not correspond to the quality of a real blockbuster game. Finish Line Games is an indie developer, but does an excellent job in terms of the atmosphere of the game world. You shouldn't expect the graphics of a triple A title for around 20 euros. Overall, that's what maize has to offer, however, coherent in itself.
The first meeting with the talking (singing ?!) corn plants is surprising. The second time the joke no longer comes into its own in similar game situations. Hits, on the other hand, are the bizarre moments when you first meet the lisping corn monster or the robot teddy bear Vlad, who knows how to solve puzzles with his mechanical arm. Desert insults against the bear with the Russian accent have to be accepted as a player as well as excessive dialogues of the sensitive maize plants. This is often absurd, mostly silly and regularly funny too.
Apart from the comprehensible puzzles, there are unfortunately only a few interaction options with the game world. Sticky notes are always hanging at neuralgic points in order to bring at least a little more "life" into the rather sterile world. The funny anecdotes from classic point-and-click adventures, which you experience through exploring objects, are missing maize.
Image gallery for Maize for Xbox One
Number of players: 1 players
Age: 12 +
Playing time: 4 to 5 hours
Long-term motivation: low
Publisher: Finish Line Games
Developer: Finish Line Games
Release year: 2016 (PC), 2017 (consoles)
Language: English with German subtitles
Cost: 20 Euro
maize is a remarkable work for a small independent development studio. This is less due to the playful elements than to the fact that this video game serves a real niche. Whether one with maize It depends on how much you like weird humor and absurd game situations. Can you do it with films à la The sense of life from Monty Python, you will be rather annoyed as a player by the gags of the corn plants. The robot teddy bear's jokes, on the other hand, almost always ignite.
Is purely playful maize rather shallow. You always walk from scene to scene, collect the outlined objects there and then place them in the specified locations. Once you have mastered a section, the next area is immediately activated. You won't get lost as a player in the clear game world. Even on long walks you will rarely have to go. maize is an adventure game for an entertaining evening in front of the TV. The relatively short playing time of 4 to 5 hours and the non-existent replay value simply do not allow anything else.
For just under 20 euros you get a lot of laughs, lots of crazy ideas and the good feeling of having supported the great idea of an indie studio.