Review: Pig Eat Ball

Princess Bow is barfing her way out of arranged marriage in Pig Eat Ball, an adventure indie game with twisted arcade gameplay and worlds to explore. To beat a level, you need to eat all those tennis balls, but it makes you bigger. Barfing is required to squeeze through tight spaces.

Review: Pig Eat Ball

“I am not surprised” my mom said when heard barf sounds in a game I was playing. I wonder whether the dev team behind Pig Eat Ball, named Mommy’s Best Games, had moms’ reactions as one of their goals.

Warning! If you’re feeling sick — you’re likely to do what Bow the pig does in the game of Pig Eat Ball!

Title: Pig Eat Ball
Developer: Mommy’s Best Games
Publisher:Mommy’s Best Games, INDIECN
Platform: PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox
Game Version: Finale
Review Copy: Pre-release demo provided by developer
Interface: Controller, Keyboard
Available on Steam.

Fight, Solve, and BARF your way through 100’s of action-packed levels wrapped in a colorful, arcade-adventure world! What if Pac-Man got fatter while he ate? In Pig Eat Ball, to beat levels you must eat all the balls, but you get FATTER WHILE YOU EAT. If you get stuck, you’ll have to barf to squeeze through!

First, Bow the pig needs to eat all the tennis balls available in a level  – but she also needs to squeeze through narrow passages. She loses volume by puking, but your goal is to eat all the balls out there… and if you eat what you puked on, you’ll barf again 3 times (just like IRL). The solution is to be patient and wait until the “green substance” fades off the object strewn throughout the maze, and eat the ball again. 

The core idea of Pig Eat Ball is simple: eat all the balls in a level, and figure out the way to eat those that seem inaccessible. The levels prove how creative you can get with this mechanic, and keep players engaged within the same theme and vibe, with varying tasks, all kinds of locations and specific challenges, and changing difficulty.

In addition to an unfailing appetite, Princess Bow the pig has another useful power: she sucks. Like a vacuum cleaner. No, seriously: an obstacle between her and food isn’t much of a problem. She simply “guides” the snack around whatever is in the way, and eats it like all the rest.

The balance of puzzles and action in Pig Eat Ball feels just right: just enough of a puzzle challenge to switch the brain from the action, and enough action not to start falling asleep over a puzzle. Surprisingly for a player like me, I barely had any “meoowww, I’m stuck!” moments in this game. Instead, the feeling you get when you solve a challenge or beat a level (there needs to be some smart term for it!) is often there — but again, just enough to not get bored. Are there Power-ups? Sure! They’re called Disguises: find them, wear them, change the gameplay, have fun. But be careful, because each has it’s own pros and cons. Decide wisely…

Using a controller makes the game 100x more enjoyable. My first time playing was with keyboard and touchpad while staying in a cabin in the woods, and it was NOT as good an experience as a controller. That added some extra challenge though!

The game runs smoothly on an older MacBook Air, which was a nice side perk to discover while traveling and gaming. The laptop started heating up as I played more, but didn’t reach the level of burning my lap. (That did happen with a game once!)

The storyline adds another layer to the whole experience of Pig Eat Ball – you don’t just pass level after level without purpose. You, as Princess Bow the Pig, are actually regaining control over your future. The levels are a contest that Bow’s father, King Cake, the prize being that the winner would marry the Princess. Princess Bow decides to win this contest for herself to put her fate back in her own…hands? paws? She’ll need a lot of luck with this though: the Contest spans across the whole Space Station Kingdom and there’s many obstacles in the way.

Barf really hits the fan when enemies show up. Pillbugs are one of the most troublesome, as they not only they make it trickier to eat tennis balls, but also distract you, as you try to figure out which enemy does what. And what happens if you throw up on them? (Admit it, you want to know…)

It’s pretty hard to review this game without spoiling it: the way the action and story intertwine creates one of those experiences that feel most exciting when tried out blind, not having been told about it at all.

Keep a special eye out for Oysters: they have a great sense of humor that you’ll like…maybe. Just find them and talk to them: Trust me!

While the single-player Adventure mode is fun, everything is better with friends! Pig Eat Ball also has a 4-player competitive Party Mode and brings with it my eternal challenge as a person with slow reactions: keeping track of which little pig is me. There’s contests to see who can eat the most balls, who can break the most things, and the sandwich-building contest which I’m still trying to master…

Long story short: if you’re into gross jokes and cute stories, Pig Eat Ball has a 99% chance of making your day. In addition to the modes I’ve talked about here, Pig Eat Ball also has a level editor, and I still haven’t explored all that the game has to offer… so see you in a month! Someone please feed my cats.

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