What do you get when you cross LittleBigPlanet with the 1997 Horror movie Cube? You wind up with Meet Your Maker, a game that encourages players to use their creativity for evil. Although available on most platforms, it launched for free as part of Sony’s PlayStation Plus monthly games for April and it's my favorite new game of the year.
Developed by Behaviour Interactive, the minds behind Dead By Daylight, this latest title is a blend of first-person PvE shooter and dungeon designer. You'll be raiding player-created bases and then perfecting your own deathtrap.
The plot is beautifully sparse, In a desert post-apocalypse, players take on the role of a "Custodian" whose purpose is twofold. Number one is to raid other Custodian's outposts and steal the last useful resource known to man, Genetic Material (known as GenMat). And number two — defend your loot with the most devious outpost you can imagine for other players to challenge.
You can use the GenMat you pick up in raids to start upgrading your gear (more on that in a second). As for creating your own outpost, you're tasked with equipping your deathtrap with automated traps and AI nasties.
Raiding in Meet Your Maker
This side of the game takes the form of a simple but fast-paced first-person shooter reminiscent of Quake, especially considering most players like to force you into tight corridors with their constructions. There is however no direct PvP — players take on each other's creations, not their aiming skills.
You’re armed with a grappling hook, a rifle and a sword. At the start, your gun only has two bullets — you can retrieve them but risk putting yourself in a vulnerable position. Later on, you'll unlock a crossbow that has more ammunition but cannot destroy traps, only kill AI-controlled guards.
The sword, however, will be your bread and butter — a great tool for dispatching enemies and traps but of course, it lacks range. Luckily if timed right it can also deflect projectiles. And don’t worry, there’ll be plenty of those coming at you.
Traps are the main obstacle you’ll face; they come in a variety of types. There are the more conventional options like spikes and arrows or more extravagant ones, like a giant claw that will drop you in a pit of lava or hold you still to be cooked by flamethrowers.
You don’t lose anything when you die and you have unlimited lives, but you will have to start your raid of the outpost from the beginning.
Raids can take around 2 to 10 minutes to complete depending on difficulty and size. My absolute favorite moment is that when you take the GenMat, often a whole new set of traps can spawn, giving you just enough time to mutter “clever girl” before your fate is sealed.
Building in Meet Your Maker
It is only through raiding that you will earn enough resources to create your levels. But from then on, you unlock a new source of income — player deaths. Each time one of your outposts kills a player, you’ll receive resources. Rather brilliantly, you can see exactly where and how foolish raiders met their maker with replays from their perspective.
I am no expert game designer but the level editor in Meet Your Maker is very forgiving. Every element is grid-based, so it all fits together like the evilest Minecraft server imaginable, or Jigsaw playing with his Legos.
Levels have to have a full path from the entrance, to the treasure and back again, as well as a capacity limit to stop you from stuffing every inch full of minions. Aside from that, anything is fair game — my favorite level I've designed resembles a giant pinball machine with players being forced to fight uphill while dodging bombs rolling at them. Apologies in advance should you run across that in Meet Your Maker.
Every time your creation kills a player, you will not only earn resources but also experience that lets you prestige your outpost. This increases the capacity of your dungeon, so you can make it more and more dangerous. Those looking to create something more beautiful than brutal are in luck, too — players can commend levels they find particularly fun or creative to earn prestige points too.
Don't miss out on Meet Your Maker
It all sounds rather exciting but for me, Meet Your Maker has become a relaxing experience. The lack of direct PVP and the ability to methodically clear a room of traps, with that “just one more go” feeling makes it a go-to winding-down game for me. The inclusion of online co-op in both building and raiding is also a great way to kick back with a friend.
Despite getting Meet Your Maker for free, I find myself shunning other paid-for games in my collection. If you’re still unsure, grab it before the end of April, you’ve got nothing to lose. Make sure as well to snag the likes of God Of War and The Last of Us for free before it's too late.