Meet Your Maker review: A fascinating concept yet to reach its full potential
Meet Your Maker is easily one of the most fascinating first-person shooter concepts that I've played in a long time. As a fan of rogue-lites and fast-paced arcade shooters, Meet Your Maker seems to be a game that's right up my alley. At first glance, it feels like a weird mashup of Nintendo's Mario Maker games and id Software's DOOM (with a hint of RAGE).
However, once you start playing the game, you will get to realize it's nothing like the titles mentioned above. In fact, Meet Your Maker is a wholly new concept that I've rarely seen implemented in first-person shooter video games. As someone who's not a fan of the developers' previous offering, Dead by Daylight, I was genuinely surprised by how unique and at times fun it was to play Meet Your Maker.
While I commend Behaviour Interactive for taking the risk and coming up with a unique concept for their latest title, I cannot in full faith recommend the game to players looking for a fun co-op or even a single-player FPS title. There's a lot that Meet Your Maker gets right, but then again, there's also a lot that it needs to get right to make it a truly enjoyable experience.
Meet Your Maker's gameplay offers a fascinating mix of old-school FPS action and classic puzzle-platforming
The general premise of Meet Your Maker is rather simple: you are a lone survivor in a desolate landscape, where you are tasked with collecting GenMat - a resource is that is crucial for restoring human civilization in the desolate post-apocalyptic landscape.
The basic gameplay loop sees you start a level by selecting it from the roundtable at your base, getting in, procuring GenMat, and getting out without getting killed.
It's a simple premise, but one that is used quite effectively in Meet Your Maker, well, at least that is the case for the game's tutorial section and first few levels. The levels in Meet Your Maker are designed with verticality in mind, where your goal is to obtain certain resources (including GenMat), avoid the dealy traps and enemies, and succesfully exfiltrate to the safety of your base.
Creative levels and fun gameplay bogged down by a boring narrative delivery
The levels you go through are littered with traps around every corner, from spiked floors to hidden flame bombs or those pesky trip wires.
While locating these traps can be quite tricky at the start of the game, once you go through a few levels, you will eventually start recognizing these traps and will be able to avoid them rather efficiently. While the game might look like id Software's DOOM, it certainly isn't anywhere near as fast paced as the arcade shooter.
As for the narrative, well, there is a story and you do get a few lines of exposition when you first boot the game up. However, most of the story is told via audio logs or the codex that you will have to manually check out using the inventory. While the plot can often times be interesting, I would be hard-pressed to admit that storytelling is a strong suite of Meet Your Maker, due to how its delivered to the player.
I really liked the idea of you having only one life. All it takes for you to fail your objective and be yoinked back to your base is to get hit just once, either by the traps meticulously placed around the levels or by the projectiles shot by enemies. You also get access to a fairly robust arsenal of weapons, including a makeshift firearm that is capable of firing only two electrically charged bullets and also a small baton.
The robust progression system keeps you engaged
The progression system of Meet Your Maker is quite robust, allowing you to earn new tools, level assets, and weapons at a steady pace. As soon as you complete a mission, you will be given complete liberty to customize it, add your own traps, and change the layout to your liking. The level editor does take some time to get used to, but it is quite intuitive with a dedicated glossary to help you with the process.
Once you are done editing the level, you can set it to active, which will allow other players to try out your creation and try to complete it. Over time, as more and more gamers try out your creation, you will earn XP for it, even if the titles is not running.
You can also go into Edit mode and see the points of death where other players died trying to complete your level. It can be quite satisfying to watch how your ingeniusly placed traps caught players off-guard.
You can also fully customize your loadout before starting a mission, even though the options are relatively sparse at the start of the game. Once you start clearing levels, you will begin unlocking new and improved versions of existing weapons that you can use to easily clear the latter, more difficult levels. However, I personally found the starting loadout to be pretty effective even in the bigger user-made levels.
Boring visuals and lack of any significant challenge holds the game back
One thing that did annoy me, however, is the lack of any significant challenge in any of the game's levels. Even the user-made creations failed to deliver a compelling and challenging experience.
This is also compounded by the fact that the environment can often times look downright distasteful, with textures that seem like they are ported straight out of the PS3-era. The levels also lack any visual distinction, making each one look basically identical, but with swapped trap placements.
Although you do start the game with developer-crafted levels (outposts), the main crux of Meet Your Maker's gameplay loop is to play community creations and craft your own levels to share with your friends and other players online. This is where the Mario Maker comparison comes in.
That being said, if you aren't looking forward to brainstorming and creating your own levels, Meet Your Maker is sadly not a game for you.
While I adore Super Mario Maker 2, and have spent countless hours playing the user-made levels in the game, I'm not a very big fan of creating my own. I personally prefer games with a dedicated single-player mode with handcrafted levels by the developer. Most of my time playing Super Mario Maker is spent replaying the solo game mode that has some really fantastic levels to play.
Unfortunately, if you're looking for a robust single-player FPS platforming game, you won't find it in Meet Your Maker. Behaviour Interactive's new title is essentially a multiplayer level-building offering first, and a single-player level-based platformer second. Playing the game as the latter is honestly quite a boring experience. It's better played in co-op with a group of friends.
This isn't to say Meet Your Maker is a bad game, far from it. I had my fair share of fun and enjoyment out of it, playing through multiple user-made levels and also creating a few really devious levels of my own. It should also be mentioned that most of my playtime was spent in co-op with a few of my friends, which somewhat alleviated the boredom I would've otherwise felt going through the game's levels.
However, unless you plan on investing time in crafting your own levels or trying out user-generated levels, which are the core pillars of Meet your Maker, you are better off looking for other FPS arcade shooters.
Meet Your Maker runs flawlessly on PC
Lastly, to end the review on a positive note, Meet Your Maker's PC port is easily one of the best in 2023, in terms of compatibility, performance, and stability.
I tested out the game on two of my systems, the first one being a laptop with Core i5 7200U CPU, 16 gigabytes of DDR4 RAM, and Nvidia GeForce 940MX GPU, with the game being installed on a SATA3 SSD. There, the game ran at low settings, FSR on "balanced" at a stable 45fps.
The other system I tested the game out on is a desktop PC with Ryzen 5 5600 CPU, 16 gigabytes of RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super GPU. The game was installed on a Gen3 Nvme drive, where it ran at a flawless 60fps on high settings at 1080p, with FSR disabled.
Having a game that performs this well on widely different PC configurations was really surprising to see, considering we rarely get to see completely functional and stable PC ports nowadays.
Meet Your Maker is a game with some really fascinating ideas that are yet to reach their full potential. It runs great on a number of PC hardware configurations, has a fantastic level creator, and offers plenty of hours of enjoyment if you're interested in creating and editing your own levels. However, for anyone looking for a robust single-player experience, Meet Your Maker has very few things to offer.
The game might not be everyone's cup of tea in its current state. However, with a few updates, it certainly has the potential to become an easy recommendation for players looking for a fun FPS arcade game.
Meet Your Maker
Reviewed on: Windows PC (Review copy provided by Behaviour Interactive Inc.)
Platform(s): Windows PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One
Developer(s): Behaviour Interactive Inc.
Publisher(s): Behaviour Interactive Inc.
Release date: April 4, 2023