The Maw review (Xbox 360)

Cajun Chicken | 2128d ago | User review
Reviewing: The Maw
Completed The Maw, want Maw.
Well, its out, I think The Maw has been out for going on 4 days internationally on XBLA now. I bet some people are wondering exactly why, me, 'PS3-centric' Cajun Chicken is doing reviewing a XBLA game.
I'll tell you why, because it's bloody fantastic. I've recently had a blog submitted about my love of the platform game and how it shouldn't be included in the 'casual' umbrella. This isn't about that. This is about a truely fantastic game on XBLA I've noticed, which has never really got any hype what-so-ever since it's trailer announcement about last Summer.

You can say Braid is a work of genius all you want, yeah, I know its an indie game by one guy, but I just found it just trying to be too clever for its own good, trying to be metaphorical about life while just basically using a disguised Mario brothers looking watercolour painted world as a skin using nostalgia at it's selling point. The game mechanics were great, I just don't think they were executed in the correct manner with the 'spirit' of the game.

The Maw is the real deal.

Basically, to sum up the maw, its Banjo Kazooie meets Ratchet and Clank, meets Kirby...isn't that a winning combination?
There's only 8 levels, but boy, this is quality plaforming with some really fantastic game mechanics included, not really innovative seperatly, but the way they are put together certainly is.
Much like the idea of Braid, half the fun of The Maw is the celebration of solving each puzzle with only minor clues, although the solution to some of the puzzles to progress turn out to be simple, its the FINDING of the solution which is where The Maw as a game shines.

Did I mention that this looks like a game that could be sold at retail for a XBOX, PS2 or even Wii game? Maybe not as great looking as the PS3's downloadable Ratchet and Clank: Quest for Booty, but the animation and visuals in The Maw are nothing short of amazing for the first original IP from a developer and a XBLA game. What Twisted Pixel managed to squeeze into The Maw with XBLA's cap is nothing sort of amazing to boot throughout the game, you get rewards like gamer pictures and a theme.
Bear in mind, I am still only talking about an small EIGHT leveled game, which has NO HEALTH and NO LIVES system.

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-MINOR GAME EXPERIENCE RUINING SPOILERS NOW, I SUGGEST NOT TO READ UNLESS YOU HAVE AT LEAST PLAYED THE DEMO IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THIS GAME-
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Your warning is over, I will now continue. Anyway, The Maw has a real 'buddy game' vibe to it, similar to a few past platform games of last gen, simply about an alien called Frank and a creature called The Maw, they have both been imprisoned on a spaceship and all of a sudden, said spaceship crashes in a ball of flames. The Maw who usually eats everything in its path becomes friends with Frank due to telepathy and you as Frank on the crash site wobbles along dazed, limping and confused to find a gadget which creates an yellow/orange electrical link like a dog leash from Frank's arm to the leash around the Maw's neck. X allows you to connect to the Maw, If you don't have the Maw near you, Frank ends up calling the Maw in a cute as heck voice and the Maw tries to find you and automatically connects to your electrical leash.

First of all, you wonder why exactly you are dragging along The Maw as he really does nothing but eat pink creatures that seem to have no effect, then you find out you have to kill creatures or knock them out to 'steal' said eaten creatures ability much like in the Kirby series of platformers, main difference is, you control Frank and NOT the Maw, when using the leash Frank can't jump, because in his natural form the Maw can't jump. So sometimes you have to split from the Maw and get to higher ground to feed the Maw with your leash by throwing the small pink creatures to him. Then something amazing happens, the Maw gets larger. Not only can you throw food down to the Maw, you can pick up mines and sonic grenades from the floor with your gadget, which then works a little like 'The Rig' in the PSone game Wild9 that by pressing A, you can hit objects side to side on the floor and you can also drag along certain rocks to different positions with B.

Bit by bit throughout the game you discover other creatures from the crashed ship caught by the bounty hunters that caught you (Frank)and the Maw and these creatures have made this planet you have crashed upon their new natural habitat. You have to carefully study how some of the creatures work by interracting with them which sometimes will hurt Frank or The Maw which will knock you back. The idea is, SOMEHOW, Frank needs to help and outsmart these creatures so the Maw gets to consume these creatures and steal their abilities to help Frank get further on and complete the level and to get the Maw to a certain size to gain access to the end of the level.
To do so isn't plain simple as the bounty hunters are trying to recapture you and the Maw with forcefields, gun turrets and dispatched troops. Its basically figuring out HOW to destroy forcefield generators, grabbing the turrets with Frank's electronic leash and hurling them onto the ground by tapping A. You can dodge projectiles and creatures by pressing A and the game goes in slow motion until the projectile has either missed Frank or hit him.

The game generally gets more and more chaotic the bigger the Maw gets and the abilities he temporarily steals until eating another creature with a different ablility or completing the level, level by level. The last level is hillariously epic and completely a surprise, you have to play it to understand.

Anyway, The Maw. A 3D platform game on XBLA, you MUST play. The graphics are great, the animation is top notch, the game mechanics are solid and the soundtrack is excellent again, this should be a retail game. Don't be ignoring this one, or Twisted Pixel for this matter. Because I am fairly sure we will see more of Twisted Pixel soon, perhaps exclusively on 360 or not, but they do have another unannounced game on the way and when they do announce a new game, I WILL BE THERE. If you are a platformer fan, you can't ignore The Maw, whatever system you have. The 3D platformer clearly still lives in all its glory.
This is indeed a step in the right direction for Microsoft and the 360.

Also, interestingly theres a link to DLC on the main menu to XBLM, so maybe there may be more Maw soon...
Ups
Fantastic graphics, animation and sound for original XBLA title{Frank and the Maw are excellent characters{Simply GREAT game mechanics that should be in a retail game
Downs
Only 8 levels, 7 of normal platform gameplay{Not much replayablility, except online leaderboards{THIS SHOULD BE A RETAIL GAME!
Score
9.0
Graphics A very clever simple concept, only 8 levels, but who cares, people who mark down this game must be the same fools that marked down PS3's Quest for Booty by not being a full retail game and being too short. A really good small experiment of a platform game.
8.0
Sound Bear in mind, this is a limited capped XBLA title. So thats incredibly good so thats 7. Another point for the fluid animation so make that an 8.
7.0
Gameplay Quite a funny soundtrack, not always immersive, but fits the game perfectly with its wacky vein of comedy. You may get addicted to pressing B just to hear Frank call "Maaaawwww...!"
9.0
Fun factor Graphics animation and sound are great. It feels so good once you realise how to let the Maw consume a creature and to make him larger. The exploring of the small areas in each level are excellent. You'll laugh like heck when the Maw gets hurt and runs away like crazy.
3.0
Online Online leader boards. Nice touch, but not really needed.
9.5
Overall (out of 10 / not an average)
InMyOpinion  +   2128d ago
Getting it! If you like platform games I recommend you try Cloning Clyde as well. It's a bit old but still a gem if you ask me =)
Cajun Chicken  +   2128d ago
Glad I easily convinced you with this user review, Jenzo!
This game needs to be recognised for what it is; its short, but its pure genius. A real gem for any console.
I've noticed a lot of the stuff I really like on the 360 is buried with all the hype of other games that I really don't like, I'm not listing, you know how I am and what I often complain about.

Tell me what you think of it.

Both my friends were totally hooked on it and whilst I was on N4G last night, I actually let one of my friends play it all the way through.

Might check out on Cloning Cylde, depends on visual style. But I'm certainly looking out for Twisted Pixel in the future.
#1.1 (Edited 2128d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
Covenant  +   2127d ago
Good review. I was on the fence about this one--I have 800 MS points to spend--but I think this cinches my purchase.

Nicely done, and it's good to see a "PS3-centric" person keeping an open mind about a game on the 360. I wish more people were like that on this site.
outlawlife  +   2126d ago
i played the demo and loved it, plan on buying it next time i get a points card, i'm about 500 short at the moment
Nevers  +   2124d ago
Played the Demo
... if I have the time, I definitely want this. Game was just very charming and fun. Very pleasantly surprised by how polished it is for a XBLA title. Looks good enough to be retail.

Guess I'm a sucker tho for "a boy and his dog" type games tho....
outlawlife  +   2122d ago
the little alien looks awesome for being basically textureless

everything is flat colors but put together really well
awesome character design in this one

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The Maw

Average Score 7.7 Reviews(77)
Release Dates
PC Release Dates
US 09 March 2009
Xbox 360 Release Dates
US 21 January 2009