Story: This is one of the stranger narratives you’ll explore in a video game, as you start just outside a corn maze, with a farmhouse visible in the distance. You will need to figure out how to get inside, search the house for clues, then you open up a pandora’s box of over the top madness. I don’t want to spoil too much, but suffice it to say Maize is a game about sentient corn. You encounter this corn early in your adventure, then unravel the tale of how the corn was brought into existence, the original plan for the sentient corn, and what these walking ears have planned now. This is a story driven game, so buckle up and make sure to read and interact with anything you can, you never know where a scrap of insight or a little humor might be found.
Entertainment Value: Maize is like a first person point & click adventure, as you hunt down items, explore each location, and solve puzzles. You don’t need to jump or fight and in truth, you are rarely in a situation where you can fail. But these instances do pop up, such as a timed section that tasks you to safely dispose of a radioactive power source, but the game is fair even then. In most situations, you just need to find an item or two to move forward, then put them to use in the proper place. As you move from one locale to the next, all of your usable items you’ve found will have been used, so you won’t have a bunch of inventory on hand. Well, except for that damn English muffin. The puzzles are mostly simple and straight forward, with item descriptions that give a helpful nudge and sometimes even a direct “do this” type approach. I didn’t mind the simple puzzles though, as I wanted to progress and learn more about these sentient corn. The overall frustration level is low, which is good since this seems to be more about narrative than traipsing all over struggling with puzzles.
To this end, you should also scour each location for items of interest even beyond the puzzle related goods. A post-it note novel unfolds at one point, as you can read all these outlandish exchanges between coworkers who obviously have a serious distaste for each other, but can’t stop bantering for two seconds. You can also collect 75 various items that are stored in your folio, each with a small bit of lore or some humor. This could be just a quick note that you’ve picked up a rock and named it Wallace, a reminder that you’re making terrible decisions on what to pick up, or more story driven elements that shed some light on the narrative. So well worth it to take some time to track down any and all of these, if you’re interested in the storyline, that is. The gameplay is rather simple, you just move around and look for stuff, then cycle through your inventory when you’re ready to use it and one click, voila, puzzle solved. But Maize keeps you interested with the narrative, which flows at just the right pace, giving you little peeks at things to keep you wanting to push forward. I had a great time with Maize and if you appreciate point & click games or just love an odd narrative, it is well recommended.