User-generated content is a massive draw of the internet nowadays. Waking up and seeing all the videos, writings, and memes people have posted is a big part of Gen Z’s day. And when a game is built around user-generated content, it tends to get people’s attention. Such is the case for Meet Your Maker. From Dead By Daylight Creators Behaviour Interactive comes an inventive new multiplayer experience. Meet Your Maker is a gripping FPS experience, with a near-infinite amount of content, all of which is user generated.
Meet Your Maker is available now for PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One and Series X/S, and Steam, for $29.99. If you are a PlayStation Plus subscriber at any tier, then the game comes free with April’s monthly titles.
Story: Craft Worlds, Not Narratives
In the post-apocalyptic future year of… the game never actually gives a date, come to think of it. Regardless, a horrific virus has swept through the earth, causing human civilization to collapse. As a result, the human gene pool has been horrifically damaged, and mutant hordes have risen up. Only the Chimera has the skills necessary to undo humanity’s collapse. They have tasked you, the player, as her Custodian, to explore the wasteland and recover pristine human DNA (or Genmat as they call it) such that the Chimera may eventually synthesize a cure.
The story, as with many live service games, is entirely superfluous. Your advisors all mention various events in the world’s past, but there’s no way to learn more. Dead by Daylight had surprisingly nuanced and in-depth lore, but this has basically nothing by comparison. This is something of a shame, but having nothing will sadly be a running theme with this package.
Gameplay: Build, Raid, Die, Repeat
The world of Meet Your Maker is an exceptionally hostile one. As the Custodian, your job is twofold. You must trudge through dungeons full of nothing but traps and monsters, all to steal that precious Genmat, worth its weight in gold. And you must also design your own deathtrap-filled dungeons to protect your own Genmat from other players, all with the same brutal mission as you. It is here where I’d make a comment on the nature of working together providing better results, but then the game would be far more boring. You can play in co-op, though I did not have anyone to test this functionality with.
Raiding is the core of Meet Your Maker, and what players will spend the majority of their time doing. Raids manage to be consistently tense and interesting. Everything kills you in one hit, and outposts have zero checkpoints, forcing you to restart upon death. I enjoy how it forces me to play cautiously. When going into an outpost, one must expect that there are traps around every corner. Ceiling-mounted cannons, fake floors, and acid blocks are just some of the many obstacles that players will face. Playing this game like an ordinary shooter is just asking for failure. You must move slowly, keep an eye out for traps, and expect that the builder of any level you’re in hates you and wants you to die.
The Custodian by default is equipped with both a gun and a sword, though options for other weapons exist and can be bought and upgraded as you progress. Swordplay is very simple, not that it needs to be complex. The sword is snappy and responsive, and hacking your enemies to bits is extremely gratifying. When enemies glow green, that means that you’re close enough to execute a devastating lunge attack that kills them in one hit. Actually, any attack of yours kills them in one hit so long as they are unarmored. One hit kills you, and one hit kills your enemies.
Your guns take the form of weird, science-fiction crossbows. I definitely prefer this over a game that would have more conventional rifles and shotguns. It gives it its own unique edge and affects how you engage with combat significantly. Gunplay isn’t always reliable, and you should always have backup plans when engaging in battle. As they are bolts instead of bullets, they fly in an arc instead of traveling straight, with your default weapon having an obnoxiously bad arc that requires you to lead your shots. Ammo is very sparse, and each bolt has to be manually recollected after being used, a great incentive to get up close and personal.
The building of outposts is a nice contrast to the chaos of raiding them. The building menu is a nice, chill place, where you can rack your brain and plot how you want other raiders to die. The build menu is simple enough, and generally works well on a controller, but there are some frustrating limitations with the building system that I find baffling. The first is a small problem with excessive menu navigation. You can only have one type of block selected at a time. So, for instance, if you wanted to build a structure, and then mount traps to it, you have to build the structure, then go into the menu and select the trap block. This seems like something that’s easy to patch though.
What Isn’t easy to patch is one of the core restrictions of the building system. You cannot move the GenMat, the goal of the stage. When you first get a blank outpost, the Genmat is randomly placed in the level, and you just have to build around it. This is something that massively restricts the variety of levels that people can build. Most outposts take the form of an underground cave with one block wide walls. You cannot build vertical levels for instance.
You also get a grappling hook, one that works well. But as most of the levels are underground, you can only get so much use out of it. I wanted to build a stage that would have enemy raiders tackle complex platforming challenges over a sea of acid blocks. But this cannot happen with that building restriction. You *also* cannot move the “Forsaken Tombs” (big “T” marks in the walls containing treasure). But this is a less important thing, you don’t need to move them, you just need to put traps around them. At least they included a way to keep track of your objective without the obstructiveness of an actual map. In each level, a Harvester appears, taking the shortest direct route to the objective.
Upon clearing a stage, you get taken back to your home base, where you can engage with Meet Your Maker’s meta progression. You can feed the Chimera, talk with your advisors, and upgrade your equipment. Your five advisors are horrifically mangled cyborgs, and they scream in pain when you use their special abilities. The base is well-designed, and everything is simple and well laid out. My only real complaint with the UI is that there’s no way to automatically loot items when managing your bases, which can get annoying to manage.
You wouldn’t think that a game built around player-generated levels would not have enough content, but Meet Your Maker is absolutely starving for more content. More building tools, I should say. There are nine trap types, five weapons, four enemy types, four pieces of equipment, and a pathetic two playable characters. The lack of tools at launch is doubly disappointing because live service games draw the most engagement at launch. That’s just the way things are. And as a disproportionate portion of the maps will have been made at launch, they won’t feature all the new tools that Behaviour plans to add in future updates. One particular suggestion I’d like to make is for new traps that could allow for platforming challenges. Moving blocks, conveyor belts, and trampolines would be great tools to have.
Not that Behaviour has to worry about players getting bored. Meet Your Maker has a tried and tested method of extending its playtime, arbitrarily sluggish progression. There are three currencies in Meet Your Maker: Cells, Parts, and Synthite. You will be swimming in Parts and Synthite, but Cells are needed for every piece of meta progression, and those are obtained at a glacial pace. The best way to get them by far is simply from daily login rewards, something I’m not wild about. Obnoxiously grindy progression makes any game less rewarding. It will probably take months to fully upgrade everything and unlock every trap and mod.
Graphics And Sound: You know what this map needs? Needs more sand.
It can be difficult to evaluate how Meet Your Maker looks. As the game’s map design is dictated entirely by the players, it’s up to them to make something that looks good. And I’d say that generally, the players do manage to make outposts that look appealing (except for me of course). There are a lot of different block types and decal options that allow you to make unique-looking creations. It’s not as flexible or robust as a game like Minecraft, but this can still be a tool for boundless creativity. All the standard normal block types and decals are unlocked by default too, which is surprisingly generous considering how grindy unlocking the traps and monsters is.
The sound is very subdued. There’s very little music when exploring outposts, probably to make it easier to hear the various sound cues emitted by the traps and enemies, which is far more important. What little voice acting exists from the Chimera and the advisors is solid enough. Not every game needs a massive orchestral suite.
The truly disappointing thing about the game’s art direction is the biome diversity. There is only one. Each outpost is surrounded by an endless desert, and that’s your lot. I understand that the desert punk setting is somewhat restrictive, but there had to have been a way to add more variety. Maybe a mountainous biome high in the clouds? Underground cave areas? Ruined cities? Anything? I’m sincerely hoping they add more biomes in a future patch. Gee, it seems like hoping the devs add stuff in future patches is a running theme, isn’t it?
Meet Your Maker was reviewed for PlayStation 5.