Dead by Daylight developer Behaviour Interactive has another live-service title on its hands with Meet Your Maker. While it technically falls under the asynchronous multiplayer umbrella, there’s nothing that quite matches Meet Your Maker‘s sadism-fueled brand of base-building and precarious first-person combat and exploration. Its core conceit leaves a strong first impression in spite of many glaring issues.
Meet Your Maker is a game of two halves: One sees you exploring user-created outposts in search of a GenMat core, followed by a mad dash to the level’s exit. Along the way, you’ll fend off all manner of traps and guards designed to beat you while you’re down.
Meet Your Maker’s second half is the glue that keeps the structure in place — the base-building itself. The intuitive interface lets you place different block types, enemies, and traps with ease, thanks to its grid-like construction. After activating an Outpost, you’ll watch the kills rack up and reap the rewards of careful tinkering.
Both of these halves complement each other brilliantly, thanks in part to Meet Your Maker‘s addictive progression loop. The headquarters is where all major planning and upgrading takes place. From there, you interact with various merchants to prepare for raiding Outposts in a pseudo-PvP gameplay loop or build Outposts yourself to passively kill other players that stumble upon your creation.
This command center is where Meet Your Maker begins to sink its hooks into you. There are three currencies: Cells, Parts, and Synthite. You’re bound to come across Parts and Synthite as drops during an Outpost raid as drops, along with traditional experience points and GenMat for each completed raid.
This GenMat acts as experience for the five different merchants. Each time a merchant levels up, one bar fills toward the monstrous test-tube Chimera’s progression. Once enough bars fill up, the Chimera levels up, granting a large sum of Cells, Parts, and Synthite, with new gear and boosts unlocked every few levels.
These currencies are then used to buy or upgrade equipment at each of the merchants, providing enough confidence to see players through the next difficult raid.
Traps and enemies, along with behavior-altering mods and augmentations, can also be purchased at two of these merchants. These allow you to create even more elaborate and deadly Outposts, increasing your chances of killing invading raiders. This is highly incentivized, too, because each player death results in either dropped Parts or Synthite. Synthite, in particular, can be reinvested into the Outpost itself.
Every player death and awarded post-match accolade grants your outpost prestige points. Once a threshold has been met, that outpost can be prestiged with Synthite, increasing the base’s build capacity along with doling out experience points. This is useful because every player level grants even more Synthite.
There’s also a whole other progression system with its own rewards in the form of a tribute system tied to GenMat acquisition. Each tribute level grants Cells, along with a daily bonus that rewards plenty of currency types for the first tribute level up of the day.
Just shy of mentioning everything, you get the idea. Meet Your Maker is constantly injecting dopamine through its various progression systems.
Even if you’re hours away from a specific upgrade or trap with all its associated mods, the consistent reward tracks keep you invested. It’s a convincing illusion when placed in the right flow state.
This flow state is easy to settle into thanks to solid gunplay, movement mechanics, and the community’s ingenuity. One-hit deaths paired with a limited ammo system ensure every decision is meaningful. Every corner lean, every grapple, and every shot can be the difference between life and death.
Meet Your Maker’s starting weapon maxes out at a measly three bolts, for example. Luckily, all fired bolts can be retrieved, further adding weight to the moment-to-moment decision-making. Sometimes the act of retrieving ammunition can lead to your demise.
This turns every encounter and trap room into an elegant dance between what to shoot in which order and how to get that ammo back without dying. It’s exhilarating, thanks in part to the largely interesting player-made outposts. As with any game like this, there’s definitely fluff to wade through, but all things considered, I’ve come away impressed with how inventive so many of the outposts have been.
They range from elaborate mazes within pyramids featuring multiple entry points to sky-scrapers filled to the brim with secret areas leading to resources. Some even feature interesting set-piece-like gimmicks, such as floors that turn into corrosive cubes upon nabbing the GenMat core, with a convenient backdoor exit out of a spy film.
The fact that players have managed to create such interesting spaces with the hard limitation of ensuring a four-legged creature always has a path between the core and entrance showcases what’s possible. An often criticized aspect of this game, the Harvester may end up being one of those limitations that drives creative solutions in the long-term, even if its application could use some tweaks.
In spite of everything, I’m more than a little concerned about Meet Your Maker’s longevity. Community-driven games require consistent support and high-quality updates. Without loving care from the developers, users run out of content to wade through, effectively killing the game.
That’s why Meet Your Maker‘s launch state rings alarm bells. Its content scarcity smells of beta or Early Access. As far as the first-person raiding is concerned, there are only two ranged weapons, two melee weapons, and two suits with upgrade slots for two distinct playstyles. Creators only fair marginally better with four enemies and nine total traps. Augmentations and mods barely expand this number, with a measly total of four mods per trap and seven augmentations recycled among all the guards.
To be clear, Behaviour Interactive has shared a post-launch roadmap. Its first free deco pack with new blocks, props, and decals launches on April 18, 2023. Throughout May, players will see an unspecified number of new mods and augmentations. June also signals the first major content update, including a single new suit, weapon, trap, enemy, and biome.
Anything beyond this point remains a question mark for now. At this rate, it might take upwards of two years for Meet Your Maker to feel as feature complete as it should have been on launch day. But we’ll have to wait and see.
It’s also frustratingly buggy, with upgrades frequently failing to register. My weapon often reverted back to its starting ammo pool despite the loadout menu and merchant stating the gun was maxed out. At one point, I couldn’t switch to a gun, leaving me to complete a raid with only my melee blade. Suit upgrades also fall victim to a co-op-related bug, causing you to lose all suit upgrades even when the upgrade menu shows the purchases. It’s disheartening to put dozens of hours into upgrading things only to suddenly lose them.
Meet Your Maker Review: The Bottom Line
- Multiple progression systems with consistent rewards
- Solid gunplay and movement
- Exciting user-generated content
- Limited health and ammo creates tons of tension
- Severely lacking in content
- Frustrating and major progression-related bugs
Meet Your Maker is a highly addictive first-person shooter/base-building hybrid. Its satisfying gameplay loop is cemented by various progression systems, filling that itch of watching bars and numbers go up at a consistent rate. The tools and systems are in place to allow for creative death traps filled with tons of hair-raising moments and satisfying encounters, further enhanced when playing with a friend. In fact, the community has already made expert use of existing content.
Unfortunately, creativity can only take that content so far. Before long, deja vu will become this game’s crutch. Meet Your Maker needs significantly more content across the board to become a sustainable community experience.
Featured image via Behaviour Interactive.
Meet Your Maker Review: Sadism Simulator
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