Maize: Progress Log #2 [END]

[Click here to start from the first progress log]

In the last progress log, I mentioned that I was probably a little over halfway through the game. It turns out that I was slightly under halfway through and there was quite a bit left to go. Having now finished it, I can say that Maize is one of those games that gets better and better the further you play, but explaining why that is in any meaningful detail would require spoiling some of the most entertaining things that happen. Things best experienced when you don’t see them coming. This makes talking about it especially tricky since the only things safe to post would be those highlighting graphical bugs and little flaws like that, and that would be a one-sided portrayal of what Maize is like as a whole since there are great moments that render such imperfections meaningless. It’s time for some super vague praise!

The writing in general is great

The game is littered with pink and blue post-it notes covering the back and forth conversations of two researchers, the first oafish and self-absorbed and the other filled with contempt for the first’s many dumb decisions. The area design even reinforces their dynamic despite them never actually making an appearance in the game, with there being paintings, statues, and various other things that I won’t spoil. It’s entertaining, though, and seeing the effects of their petty disputes and general mismanagement had me stopping to take in the scenery. All of the writing is similarly great like this, showing great personality, and the voice acting brings it all alive.

The voice acting here is on point

Voice acting is one of those things that can be easily screwed up, and yet this game has been perfectly cast. The main antagonist channels Vizzini From Princess Bride, while the mercurial, nap-loving corn stalks provide welcome levity whenever the situation calls for it. The robotic teddy bear sidekick Vladdy may be occasionally grating because of his constant, soul-crushing antagonism, but I’d be lying if I said he didn’t grow on me by the end regardless. The comedic timing of all of these characters is fantastic and makes every cutscene entertaining to sit through.

The audio can get a bit weird, though

One of the things that’s rare (but nonetheless a bit odd) is how the audio doesn’t always originate from where you’d expect. Like in the video above, it isn’t coming out of the speakers, but instead seems to be coming from the middle of the dance floor. As a result, the audio can pan in unexpected ways that doesn’t really correspond with your movement and where the speakers are, and that’s a strange disconnect.

Some final thoughts

There are all kinds of little issues that one could hold against Maize. The audio thing above, some awkward crane controls where up and down are the opposite of what you’d expect, graphical bugs, Vladdy occasionally getting stuck in walls, etcetera. The humor makes up for all of this, though, and even if it didn’t, many issues have a way of fixing themselves. Take Vladdy getting stuck, for instance:

Yeah, he teleports to follow you, so you can just wander off and he’ll teleport out of whatever he’s stuck in before long. It never becomes a real issue. That’s Maize in a nutshell—lots of little technical imperfections, but nothing serious enough to undermine the game’s charming sense of humor. This is one of those shorter, easier games that make for a great contrast to others that take themselves far too seriously, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who plays games to relax.

[Click here to go to Maize log #1]

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