Meet Your Maker is a first-person raiding/building/shooting affair from Quebec natives Behaviour Interactive who are best known these days for Dead By Daylight, itself being one of those asymmetrical multiplayer games that is played obsessively, often by shrieking idiots on Twitch. However, Dead By Daylight showed that Behaviour know a thing or two about online games and Meet Your Maker proves it by offering up a solid, and surprisingly different, online experience. It’s also launching as a PS+ freebie this month, so you’ve got no excuses for not checking it out.
After some very melodramatic voice acting from a character called The Chimera, you’ll realise that you’re in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic setting and you’ve essentially got two jobs. The first is to enter outposts and raid them for GenMat (Genetic Material) and other resources. To do this you need to reach the heart of the outpost, extract the material and get out in one piece. However, every outpost is full of guards and traps and at first you’ll be shocked by the severity, and suddenness, of them.
Older gamers will remember a game called Rick Dangerous which presented much like a 2D platformer but was essentially a memory test as death came your way with no warning if you dared to step on the wrong block or didn’t expect some nonsense to drop out of the ceiling on you. Well, at first, Meet Your Maker is a lot like that. You’ll turn a corner and BLAT a spike trap kills you, you’ll enter a room and FRZZZ your face has been melted off by an incinerator. It’s always harsh, usually unfair and will have you wondering what the hell is going on.
Combine that with the slightly drab visuals which reminded us of Tower of Guns and you’ve not got a great first impression. Between all that, wanting Chimera to shut up and not really understanding all the materials, upgrade options and really anything else and we were ready to give up on Meet Your Maker. But here’s the thing, it’s that way by design and not necessarily the devs’ design.
Remember we said you’ve got two jobs? Well, the other job is to build outposts. And that’s kind of the genius of this game. Once you realise the levels are user-created, you’ll understand why they’re so unfair and tricksy. Suddenly, getting killed while picking up the GenMat, because a block disappeared to reveal an armoured guard or getting shot in the back by spikes just as you’re leaving the level is kind of cool. You got beaten by another player and now you want to create your outpost and do the same to others.
The brutal nature of the gameplay means that it is best with, and indeed designed for, two co-op partners. That way when you eat spiked death, your partner can rescue you and vice-versa. It’s still very much a struggle and you’ll definitely be restarting if you get too confident but it works and it feels sufficiently original and unique that we were able to compartmentalise our own failings and enjoy it for what it was.
In the end you’re looking for enemy outposts to be clever, to be deceptive and to be difficult. That’s the point. And that’s why it feels good to beat them, even if that feels inevitable thanks to the infinite retries you have. Of course, after a while you’ll likely be ready for whatever is thrown at you but for a while, there’s a good learning curve to Meet Your Maker.
That said, it’s not all good news. Once you’ve beaten a few levels, you’ll want to spend those resources. You can either spend on your building abilities with new traps and guard types on offer or you’ll want to upgrade your own offence. This is where the game is, currently, very lacking. You start with a ranged weapon and a sword. The ranged weapon is good for taking out enemies at distance but also traps. So if you spot a nasty bomb trap in the distance, you can shoot it to destroy it. Cool. Your weapon only has two shots though and these have to be retrieved after from the body or trap that you defeated. The upgrade path for that weapon is to add one extra shot (useful but not a game changer) and then improve the fire rate. What? Why would fire rate matter on a weapon that is not meant to be fired quickly?
The sword is worse. Rather than upgrade the damage, it upgrades the speed of it. Improving its one second delay to 0.9 secs and 0.8 secs respectively. It’s basically worthless and exactly what you don’t want from upgrades in a game. Give me some cool shit I can use. Give me something worth earning.
Of course, the reason they don’t is because they don’t want to make the raiding too difficult and we get that but with just two guns, two swords and two suits on offer, the upgrade options are severely lacking. That said, ultimately you’ll be looking to spend your hard-earned resources on making your own outposts as miserable to deal with as possible. We created a fun pyramid of death that we’re hoping kills a few intruders and we’ll be looking to make it a lot worse when we get more resources to throw at it.
We mentioned that the visuals are a little drab but they’re also quite samey. We hope that the upcoming packs will improve this a little (as well as the upgrade situation) but we also found the performance to be mixed. I, as host, had some very juddery visuals (even in performance mode, graphics mode was much worse) while my co-op partner didn’t. So there’s something going on there. The grimy, subdued look of the outposts does at least make the traps a little harder to see which does increase the danger in a way that suits this game.
So, at launch, there’s a lot of potential here. The raiding is oddly fun, especially if you can appreciate the trickery behind your own failings, and the building aspect is pretty cool. There’s a content roadmap which we hope they stick to as Meet Your Maker could be great once they add a bit more content but then, with PSN (and other platform) players adding new outposts every day, there’s going to be plenty to do in this game’s launch period.
+ Getting killed unfairly is actually kind of admirable
+ Building outposts is fun
+ Free is a great price
- Performance can be sluggish
- Attacking upgrades are very weak
Why would you upgrade the damage on a weapon that already kills in one hit? The only thing you could possible need is faster attacks. Weird criticism.