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The Maw (video game)

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The Maw is an action-adventure video game developed by independent developer Twisted Pixel Games. It was released on Xbox Live Arcade on January 21, 2009, and for Microsoft Windows on March 9, 2009. It became available via Steam on March 10, 2009.[1] The game revolves around a blue alien by the name of Frank, and a purple blob named Maw, that he leads around the game world, feeding and evolving.

The game won the 2008 Audience Choice award at PAX10,[2] and is currently a finalist at the Independent Games Festival 2009.[3]

Gameplay

In this full featured 3D action adventure, players take control of Frank, a simple alien that must partner up with The Maw, a cute little blob with an insatiable hunger that makes him the most dangerous creature in the galaxy. Players will need to harness The Maw’s unstoppable growth and the incredible powers he earns, in order to help Frank find his way home. The Maw features a lengthy, full scope, single-player experience filled with hundreds of 3D character animations, intense cinemas, cutting edge graphics technology, a professionally composed soundtrack, and much more.[4]

Plot

Returning from a routine mission, a Galactic Bounty Hunter ship crash lands on a strange planet, leaving the captured Frank (our hero) and a tiny glowing blob in a cage labeled "THE DEADLIEST ORGANISM IN THE UNIVERSE" (known as Maw) as the only survivors. Aware of the risks, but concerned about traveling around alone, Frank hooks the strange blob to a plasma leash from the wreckage. Making their way towards the communication tower in the distance, they must escape from the bounty hunters out to cage them, as well as the unknown dangers of the new planet they are on...[4]

Characters and creatures

  • Frank: Frank is a Teltarian, a technologically-advanced and peaceful race who have never known war or evil. Unfortunately, the Teltarian planet has been quarantined because of the psychic emanations from the stones on their head, a mood indicator that has no effect on other Teltarians but causes emotional disturbances in other life forms. Frank's special abilities keep Maw from devouring him and allow them to build their friendship.[4]
  • Maw: Loyal, indestructible, hungry. If he weren't a threat to all life in the universe, he'd make the perfect pet. The Maw can digest and absorb the characteristics of anything he consumes, and his growth is unlimited. Possessing mental prowess that lags behind that of a newborn puppy, Maw isn't much threat on his own, but his relationship with Frank has led to his rapid growth. The Galactic Council has ordered the Maw's destruction at any cost.[4]
  • Galactic Bounty Hunters: Galactic Bounty Hunters exercise the might of the Galactic Council by ruthlessly putting down any lifeforms that threaten the safety of the citizenry. Galactic Bounty Hunters headquarter within giant spire towers that they land on each planet they visit, and they swarm out from the spires to capture all offending creatures.[4]
  • Gastro: Creatures made from molten rock and flame, Gastros were deemed a threat to be contained because of their predatory instincts and their tendency to start forest fires. Gastros exhibit pack-like behavior and fierce territorialism. Gastros are able to consume almost any creature due to their searing heat automatically barbecuing their prey.[4]
  • Loofer: Arrogant and quick to anger, Loofers are considered highly dangerous for inexact reasons. No Loofer has ever been successfully studied or examined. In fact, no ship or equipment has ever returned from an exploratory mission. The only researcher ever to survive an encounter with a Loofer was mentally broken, only able to stammer gibberish about “all those terrible eyes.”[4]
  • Beetull: Heavily armored and possessing enormous size and strength, Beetulls are unstoppable juggernauts once angered. Their exoskeleton focuses its strength in a giant horn, capable of cracking apart any obstacle in their path. Beetulls can unfold wings from beneath their carapace to gain greater speed on their charges. Galactic scientists are at a loss to explain how so much power could develop from a purely vegetarian diet.[4]
  • Bulbous: A genetically modified creature originally intended to serve as organic lighting and power sources, the rampant population explosion of Bulbouses and their unfortunate accidental electrocution of a Galactic Senator's child has led to their quarantine and executions on any planet where they are found. Bulbouses have proved extraordinarily difficult to eliminate due to their disruption of electronic equipment in their vicinity and because of their high mobility.[4]
  • Puff-Tor: An extraordinary creature capable of rapidly burrowing through the ground, Puff-Tors have developed a novel method for attacking their prey: by filling their bodies with warm air, Puff-Tors are able to float high in the air, diving down to attack from unexpected directions. After attempts to catch Puff-Tors led to grisly ends of many members of the sport-fishing community, their presence was outlawed by the Galactic Council.[4]
  • Yums: Cute and tender, Yums were genetically bred to be the perfect pet or appetizer. These attributes make them perfect space companions, and as a result they have populated most of the known worlds in the galaxy.[4]
  • Gloober: Able to hide themselves within rocks and other objects, Gloobers are a rare delicacy to capture because of their ability to blend in with any environment. Gloobers have a tender, slightly sweet flavor that is widely considered to be even better than the briskettlefish of Planet Baconia.[4]
  • Snuffles: Oozing a mucus so rancid that Snuffles have no natural predators, Snuffles were outlawed from most of civilization because people tended to never eat again after smelling these abominations. Nevertheless, Snuffles are Maw's favorite food, and he treasures eating Snuffles above all else.[4]

Development

"We're really excited that The Maw will be our first original title. I think it's a great example of the types of character-driven, content-packed experiences we want to deliver. Because it's such a focus for us, our characters exhibit more personality and humor than any of the other retail game I've worked on in the past."

Josh Bear, The Maw director[5]
Twisted Pixel Games announced in June 2008 its plans to release The Maw. It would mark the first original title for the company, which had previously helped Midway Games develop the 2004 game NBA Ballers. Josh Bear, chief communications officer of Twisted Pixel Games and director of The Maw, said the game defined the type of games Twisted Pixel sought to make, which would focus on character-driven narratives, a large amount of content and a quirky sense of humor.[5] Hothead Games, a Vancouver-based independent video game developer, teamed with Twisted Pixel Games to bring The Maw to Microsoft Windows.[6] It was released for the PC on March 9, 2009.[7]

Music

The Maw soundtrack was composed by Winifred Phillips and produced by Winnie Waldron,[8] who together designed the music interactivity for the game.[9] The music from the game has received favorable reviews. Reviewer Erik Brudvig of IGN wrote, "The soundtrack is excellent and fits the feel of the game perfectly", awarding the game's sound a score of 9.0 with the comment, "A wonderful soundtrack."[10]

Reception

Currently has 75 percent on Metacritic based on 39 reviews. IGN gave the game an 8.0,[11] citing colourful graphics (especially for an Xbox Live Arcade game) and easy yet fun gameplay. However, the lasting appeal of the game was questioned, when reviewer Erik Brudvig mentioned that "The game can easily be beaten in a weekend of light playing. Some might play again to find everything, but most will call it a day." On the lowest spectrum of scores, it received three 50 percent reviews from Edge Magazine, Gaming Age, and Thunderbolt, respectively. Accolades came from outlets such as MEGamers with 92 percent[12] approval rating and Games Radar[13] and Gamepro[citation needed] each bestowing it with a 90 percent score.

Downloadable Content

Twisted Pixel has announced that a total of three new levels will be released for the game as downloadable content (DLC).[14][15] Once downloaded, the new levels will be selectable from the in-game menu as "deleted scenes", taking place at various points between original levels in the storyline. New levels include:

  • Brute Force
  • River Redirect
  • The Speeder Lane

Brute Force and River Redirect were released for Xbox 360 on February 18, 2009 and March 11, 2009 respectively.[16] Both were released together for the Steam version of the game on March 16, 2009.[17] The Speeder Lane was released on April 30, 2009.

References

  1. Official Maw Steam Page..
  2. The Maw Devours PAX 10 Audience Choice Award..
  3. The 11th Annual Independent Games Festival: Finalists and Winners..
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 The Maw official website..
  5. 5.0 5.1 Boyer, Brandon (June 12, 2008). Twisted Pixel Announces XBLA Action/Adventure The Maw. Gamasutra. Retrieved on February 7, 2010.
  6. Fahey, Mike (February 24, 2009). Hothead Brings Braid To Mac, The Maw To Windows. Kotaku. Retrieved on February 7, 2010.
  7. The Maw on PC]]. GameDaily. Retrieved on February 7, 2010.
  8. Ryan Langley (2008-06-25). XBLA: 'The Maw' Gets Scored, Musically!. GamerBytes. Retrieved on 2008-06-26.
  9. Louis Bedigian (2009-01-16). Video Game News - The Maw Q&A: Lead Designer Sean Riley on the Alien Who Eats Everything in Sight. GamerZone. Retrieved on 2009-01-29.
  10. Erik Brudvig (2009-01-20). IGN: The Maw Review. IGN. Retrieved on 2009-04-07.
  11. IGN The Maw Review (March 17, 2009)..
  12. MEGamers The Maw review (March 17, 2009)..
  13. GamesRadar The Maw review (March 17, 2009)..
  14. The Maw Downloadable Content Officially Announced (January 29, 2009)..
  15. Three New Levels Coming to The Maw Via DLC (January 26, 2009)..
  16. The Maw on Xbox LIVE Marketplace..
  17. Steam offers gamers in-game downloadable content (March 16, 2009)..

External links

fi:The Maw

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