Meet Your Maker Review
Despite the fact that there are small armies of developers and creatives working in the video game industry, fresh ideas are relatively rare. While Meet Your Maker isn’t entirely original, it does have a gameplay loop that’s both addictive and frustrating in equal measure. If you were the kind of kid who spent hours drawing elaborate dungeon designs on graph paper — you know, instead of doing your geometry homework — Meet Your Maker is for you.
Hunter and Hunted
Meet Your Maker has two fundamental loops. First, it’s a first-person shooter where the goal is to make it through elaborate, trap-and-monster filled labyrinths of death. Second, the goal is to design said labyrinths, using a wide selection of death-dealing tools. Really, the premise is that simple. It’s kind of refreshing not to be daunted by multiple systems, byzantine upgrade paths and a pretentious narrative.
There is a story of sorts but it’s really more of a premise. You are the custodian of the Chimera, essentially a disembodied brain floating in fluid. The Chimera is the last hope for humanity, and your task is to collect Genmat — genetic material — and bring it back to your headquarters and the Chimera. The game’s narrative set up lasts about as long as it took you to read that sentence. It teaches you the absolute basics, and not even all of those. Then you’re on your own.
Outposts of Death
Meet Your Maker tasks you with visiting an endless series of Outposts in search of Genmat, crafting materials and coin/XP. Outposts are sprawling collections of platforms, hallways, blind alleys and traps built by the developer and other players. If you make it through and out again without dying, you hold on to whatever goodies you found, mostly by killing enemies. If you die, you can infinitely try again, but of course the enemies and traps respawn. Also, each time you retry, that loadout of consumables you crafted keeps dripping away with use.
Whether you fall prey to a monster or a trap, death is instant. You don’t have a dwindling health bar and restorative potions. Your task, then, is to memorize where each enemy or trap is located, so that you can get in and get out alive. Getting through an Outpost, even the easiest ones, becomes as slow and painstaking process. You can’t run and gun through the levels. For one thing, you have limited ammo and part of the puzzle is preserving it.
Back at headquarters, you can spend your XP and coin to upgrade your gear and buy better weapons and consumables. There isn’t character progression but the steady stream of improving your loadout helps inch you forward towards facing more difficult levels. Exploring with a buddy in co-op helps, too.
If You Build It, They Will Die
The other aspect of Meet Your Maker is building your own Outposts. You buy a plot of land and build the most devious and deadly level you can. Of course, given that the general public is building Outposts, their quality varies wildly in creativity and elegance. Some are clever, with smart and fair placements of traps and enemies. Some are just frustrating collections of death.
Given that everything is tile based and very angular, the act of building Outposts is not technically too difficult. Players have crafted intricate puzzle levels with lots of verticality and hidden paths. The tools are there.
There’s one huge drawback, though. Buying plots of land is expensive. Buying new trap components and other building elements is expensive. Players don’t start out with the ability to build anything. They don’t get to play in that sandbox until they have played hours of other people’s levels. It would be nice to start with some basic components and a bit of property to putter around in.
Who Needs Color?
For a game at least partly about creativity, Meet Your Maker has one of the most limited color palettes in any shooter. Everything is basically a shade of grey or brown. Play more than a few dozen levels and visual repetition starts to become an issue. No matter how intricate the design, all Outposts use the same tiles and objects. It’s not like you can create your own monsters.
At least on PC, loading times are pretty bad, whether you’re loading a level for the first time or respawning after dying. There are some other bugs that still need a patch or two, and I had levels that hung up and flat-out refused to load.
Meet Your Maker starts with a great concept, but it takes time, patience, and the willingness to fail a lot to really enjoy what the game has to offer. Player made levels range from brilliant to annoying, and unfortunately building is locked behind hours of grinding, which just seems like poor design. Negatives aside, Meet Your Maker does have a pretty compelling loop for both sadists and masochists.
***PC code provided by the publisher for review***
- Clever concept
- Fun building mechanics
- Challenging, devious levels
- Player made content varies
- Can be frustrating
- Repetitive visuals and color
- Building is locked at start