There was, once upon a time, a taxonomy of player types. These split everyone into achievers, explorers, socialisers, and killers depending on how we approached a game and our personal goals in its world. Since then, the categories have been said to be too rigid, and it doesn’t create the space for those who just want to wreak diabolical havoc, because they’re valid too. Letting players swap between the roles of the raider evading grisly traps and the builder that placed them there, Behaviour Interactive’s Meet Your Maker is a moreish multiplayer that makes death not an art, but a test of your situational awareness while others off-screen snicker in delight. Like Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway if the stakes were much, much, much higher.
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Meet Your Maker introduces us to a devastated Earth, its beautiful flora and fauna shredded and smashed to red dust. It isn’t over til the fat lady sings though and the Chimera, a bulbous hybrid housed in a glass chamber lit dimly inside your sanctuary, is the last effort to restore organic life. Pure genetic material is the most valuable asset and it is the key to evolving your Chimera. You’re able to harvest this GenMat through your outpost as a little Harvester scuttles back and forth in the depths of your fortress like a shivering, snorting ant.
The game submerges the player in the particulars of how to harvest the different resources, what they’re used for and how to speed up your rate of harvesting like a baby at their baptism. Dunked, slightly shocked, not sure what happened but everyone seems to be carrying on anyway. Ergo, a lot of the learning of Meet Your Maker is done through raids on other players’ outposts.
Outposts are delineated into normal, dangerous and brutal depending on the number of guards and traps present and challenging outposts glean greater rewards for the Chimera and the player’s Advisors. And different outposts generate GenMat for different Advisors – these characters are responsible for guards, traps, weapons, suits and hardware. Levelling them up increases the duration of their boosts which will increase the rate at which you collect resources from raids and outposts.
Even if you die multiple times on an outpost, you’ll still retain the experience points from your exploits. These include close calls with projectiles from enemy guards, sabotaging traps to destroy themselves, destruction streaks while on the same life and more. Meet Your Maker, for all of its brutal aesthetic, is actually forgiving when it comes to your time and grit to try, try again. Though your arsenal is limited, you can collect spent ammo and there are no sanctions for the number of tries at a fortress.
Additionally, that the outposts spring forth from the brains of players means you’re not only testing your own skills here but you’re testing the psychology of the person that made it. Unlike procedurally generated levels, there’s no telling what you’re about to step into which incites a thrill and acts as inspiration for your own.
Peartown, the oddly Nintendo-friendly generated name of my outpost, contains a sizable atrium for players to stroll through, following that little Harvester to the treasure trove. I’d lost my life consistently in warrens, slaughtered by traps that blended into the sprawling darkness above, below, beside me. I decided to put people on the back foot by showing off an outpost that gives both of your elbows a little space.
It worked. You’re also able to watch the playthroughs of those who’ve died and bested your outpost, which I did, complete with a cat on my lap. I was disappointed though that no one had tried the “skylight” entrance – this is intended as a nod to Dishonored and drops the invading player straight into a spike trap.
I’ve really enjoyed Meet Your Maker as a possibly more casual player than this game is aiming for with its audience. Dead By Daylight is a difficult act to follow, as it continues to ensnare streamers and viewers year after year, and Meet Your Maker does successfully set itself apart by answering the question of what would Wallace and Gromit have gotten up to in a post-Brexit Britain.
But, there’s no actual incentive to make your outpost artistically challenging, though Behaviour Interactive asserts otherwise. The best results for deaths are as above: dark, twisty, deceiving with a wave of traps surrounding the invader that activate the second that the GenMat is stolen. While that ramps up the tension and is super satisfying when you skirt by a set of arrow bolts, it’s not necessarily what the team had imagined.
To prove my point, I tried an outpost that was totally closed off from entering it at all. At another one, I frolicked through with zero traps and guards awaiting me, only to have what felt like all of them activate on my position as soon as I pinched the glowy red goop. There’s an item that lets you respawn yourself when you are eliminated in another area of the outpost, yet to use it effectively, that requires an omniscient knowledge of when and where traps or guards are going to be. That takes time, precious time that you don’t have at the start of your raiding career as your Advisors’ boosts give you a window of nine minutes to make the most of their increases at their cheapest level.
The grappling hook is a valuable out when staring down a chain of fearsome traps and, as an aside, the automatic traps will stop when the Harvester walks past, providing half a second of opportunity to sail by (middle fingers up at your own discretion). However, when presented with the option to be funny or to be kind, there are too many oldest siblings out in the world and so the balance will never tip towards the latter.
It’s not a unique issue to Meet Your Maker as Mario Maker is also awash with impossible levels. Not impossible in its dictionary definition, but impossible for anyone who’s hopped on to their console for half an hour. As I return from a raid, the Chimera intones something like, “we must stop at nothing to secure GenMat.” Sure, maybe.
Gruesomely moreish Meet Your Maker wants players to think outside of the boxes they’re building – with luck, post-launch content will encourage them to expand on their imaginations.
- Super satisfying to outsmart outpost builders
- Forgiving as well as brutal
- Just one more raid
- Outposts are built for greatest gain to the builder, not to the community
- Players are making pretty much the same thing as each other