Reviews - Updated on April 15, 2022



Age: 0

Online: from 23.05.2015

Comments: 64

December 17, 2016


The Canadian studio Finish Line Games is known only for the racing thriller for four Cel Damage – in other words, in the adventure genre, developers have been without a year for a week. If even the authors of Myst, having collected a million dollars for the production of Obduction, could not offer anything outstanding, then what can we expect from debutants? After all, they themselves either jokingly or seriously advise consulting a psychotherapist, a priest and an old cat lady before buying their game. Is this a joke in Canada or are we dealing with unprecedented modesty?

Bad place and robot bear

Like any detective story, where you need to restore the events of the past in order to get to the bottom of the truth, Maize starts with a mess in your head. Why did the hero wake up in the middle of a cornfield between a farm, a silo tower and the entrance to the bunker, who guessed to block the passages in the thickets with orange boxes and why report that pressing the Q key is an absolutely useless exercise? It looks like someone is going to press it. Well, maybe once to check. But what if? “Kick Q all you want – it’s still useless,” the game says solicitously.

Usually creative impotence is draped with such jokes: you know, an overly intricate plot with hints of who knows what, deliberately complicated gameplay in order to suffer with it longer … Fortunately, Maize is honest with the player in all its manifestations, including the script. The anecdote about two scientists who mistakenly created intelligent corn gradually shifts the focus to the relationship of the academic tandem. But his life and work are depicted not directly, but indirectly – through portraits on the walls, details of everyday life and hilarious polemics in notes.

The first Michurinian, Bob McTavish, is narcissistic, eccentric and somewhat reminiscent of US President Donald Trump. He certainly adds Esquire to his titles and degrees, dreams of turning a secret project into an amusement park, and sometimes shamelessly squanders the budget: how do you like the fire evacuation plan from a cubist artist? But Bob’s colleague, Ted, is focused on work and completely devoid of a sense of humor, so both characters themselves form an interesting couple. In addition to wandering around the places of their scientific glory, the hero must understand what is happening here and when exactly the experiments on corn selection turned into the nonsense of a drug addict.

The paintings in Maize play on well-known canvases – specifically here a parody of “American Gothic” by Grant Wood.

In order to fuel the excitement, Finish Line Games discourages other actors and situations every minute. Here are the walking cobs arguing about life, here their queen asks you for help through the ventilation grate, and in the underground laboratory a toy Russian robot bear named Vladdy opens his mouth. Be sure that you will not hear such a number of bundles of adjectives “stupid” and “American” at any concert of Mikhail Zadornov. Vladdy addresses the hero only as a stupid idiot, and comments on all his actions with causticity worthy of better use. “You collect too much stupid rubbish”, “Stupid American garbage never works properly”, “Go there yourself, you stupid idiot, and I’ll wait until you make a mistake”, these are just some of his lines, but even they are enough to understand: a partner from a bear is so-so. However, some puzzles cannot be solved without Vladdy.

as simple as popcorn

Let as the plot develops, Maize becomes more complicated topographically – say, it sends from a cornfield to an underground bunker with a leapfrog of rooms, corridors and pipes of a nuclear reactor – this does not affect the complexity of the tasks. Having understood what their essence is, you automatically fill the inventory with everyone in a row in order to apply what you have collected, if not with the help of the mind, then by the method of banal enumeration. Which is good and bad at the same time. On the one hand, seasoned quest lovers who know how to combine the incongruous and solve the unsolved run the risk of being disappointed – they will not receive a serious challenge from Maize. When, in response to the inclusion of a huge mechanism, an inscription appears: “Perhaps you just did something important,” this, you see, is frivolous. On the other hand, thanks to the humor and simplicity, the game will surely appeal to beginners who are just getting acquainted with the genre.

Vladdy fixes stupid American machines and helps the stupid hero in his stupid deeds.

Of course, from time to time, complete absurdity is going on here, but at the same time, the game is internally logical: each item can be used only once, everything will find its place. That is, do not ask why you need a tracksuit and a sweat-soaked headband or what a corn oil-filled washbasin gives you. Just do everything with the objects that they allow you to do with them – you can’t make a mistake here, and the important is highlighted along the contour. Orange boxes, which at first irritate no less than the always rude and creaking bear, help to avoid bouts of topographic cretinism, and Vladdy himself relieves melancholy. The grumbling of a Russian robot is better than the gloomy ambient, from which cats scratch their souls and it seems that we are about to be frightened by ghosts jumping out of the darkness.

The main advantage of Maize is that it destroys stereotypes. It seems that the employees of Finish Line Games took up the genre for the first time, but come on, you swallow their work in one breath. The simplicity of the tasks smooths out the absurdity, and the humor in places resembles Monty Python and never rolls into vulgarity. Here, even from stamps like the Russian bear, quite successful jokes have been extracted. The plot is banal – how many troubles did scientists do in games? – but with embossed characters and dots over i. Finally, while other adventure developers emphasize seriousness and confusing gameplay, the authors of “Corn” humanize it to the maximum and make it accessible to anyone.

Pros: logical and organic world in its own way; simple mechanics, you don’t need to rack your brains over tasks for a long time; interesting characters and sometimes good jokes.
Cons: the monotony of tasks and the lack of Russian translation – some of the jokes, notes and dialogues cannot be understood without knowing the language.

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