Available now on PS4 and Xbox One, Maize might just be the most bizarre game concept you've ever heard of.
Sentient corn? A pissed off Russian Teddy Ruxpin lookalike? An abandoned research facility filled with over the top expensive statues of the man that worked there? Yeah, Maize is something alright.
It originally released on PC last year, and our previous team member Ruaraidh wrote a pretty good review back in December. The console version is a straight port of the game that doesn't add anything new, and I'm inclined to agree with his general sentiments. At its best, Maize is a hilarious and clever romp that doesn't mind poking fun at itself and its genre. At worst, it's a buggy and boring point and click game that holds your hand far too often.
Thankfully, Maize's best, for the most part, outshines those low points. It plays out like a standard first-person adventure: wander around, interact with stuff, pick up items to use later. The fact that everything you can interact with is clearly highlighted means there isn't much challenge, but it's not too much of a bug-bear. It isn't really the gameplay that's king here; it's the delightfully bizarre story.
You'll play through a short, fairly mundane section before you get any taste of what's to come. Looking around an average-seeming farm house, you'll be asked to solve some pretty basic puzzles, all the while oblivious to the absurdity that's about to happen. Then, a cutscene fills your screen. And you're faced with three talking stalks of corn. Yeah, Maize isn't your typical adventure game.
From here on out, Maize's tone remains purely tongue-in-cheek. Nothing will particularly tax you; rather, you'll glide easily from one area to the next, soaking in the jokes, funny dialogue and numerous collectables that'll all add to the story. It's not exactly a story that makes much sense, mind, but the cutscenes are entertaining enough that they're always a pleasure to watch.
Unfortunately, on Xbox One at least, Maize's technical problems simply can't be ignored. The framerate of the game is consistently noticeably low and the graphics are, at times, particularly rough around the edges. The Xbox One version certainly doesn't offer the best way to play the game. It's a shame, because Maize's absurdity makes it a title worth playing — just perhaps pick it up on PC instead.