Monday, May 25, 2009

Beaten : The Maw

The Maw is a cute little 3D action-puzzle game released a few months back for the XBox 360 via the Live service, and it's really a great, quick, and low-frustration diversion from the usual fare found on the system. I took a few days off from playing Saints Row to visit the world of The Maw and had a fun time.

Players play as a small alien guy who, like the Maw, has been captured for reasons unknown by faceless alien soldiers and thrown into a cage on a spaceship. The adventure begins with the ship crashing and the alien guy and Maw finding themselves together at the crash site. A believable bond of survival and friendship quickly forms between the duo as they begin to explore their surroundings. The alien guy drags the Maw around by a sort of energy leash, and the Maw starts to eat everything that moves, including cute little pink blob critters.

As the Maw eats, he has growth spurts, increasing in size throughout the game but remaining loyal enough to the alien guy to not eat him, too. In addition, certain creatures that the Maw eats grant him differing abilities, from breathing fire to stampeding over foes, and these new talents are required to navigate the game's environmental puzzles. Level after level unfolds this way until the climatic finish with the now-gigantic Maw.

It's a blast. There's exploration and discovery throughout the game, and no death. Saves are made after every level for convenience, and the levels can be revisited at any time once they are unlocked. I forget how many Microsoft Points this game cost, but it wasn't that much and it was totally worth it. There are three "deleted scenes" also available for the Maw (extra levels to download) that I will probably be checking out at some point as well.

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