|System: X360 (XBLA)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Twisted Pixel||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Twisted Pixel||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 21, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Likewise, the musical score and voice work are also substandard. The music and sound effects work insofar as they help set the tone, but the jazz themes and simple beeps and boops aren't remotely groundbreaking. Even though the music was composed by God of War's Winifred Phillips, I wasn't convinced. The voice work, if you can call it that, is marked by simple grunts, excited laughing, and hysterical wailing. Needless to say, not a lot of time or money went into the games presentation, and the title suffers because of it.
Finally, gameplay is formulaic. Outside of new powers, after the first few levels, there's not a whole lot more to discover. As such, I don't expect all who buy the title to fully enjoy this game. Still, the mix of puzzles and hidden objects should keep the majority of gamers content enough to feel the title warranted its pricetag; I certainly had a lot of fun with it.
The Maw is a strictly single-player affair, devoid of any online or mini-game content, though there is Xbox LIVE leaderboard support. The lack of multiplayer action doesn't really hurt the game though. Such additional content could have either been a boon or bust, but it wasn't necessary. After all, I was satisfied with the amount of content that comes with the package, and I look forward to future DLC installments. Also, the incorporation of Achievements into the game was particularly good. Players of all skill levels will find they are consistently and justly rewarded. This is especially true when you consider that a dashboard theme as well as gamertag pics are unlockable as you progress through the game. This is something I've wanted from all titles for the 360, and it's nice to see it realized in The Maw.
It's not difficult to see why The Maw was awarded an Audience Choice award at 2008's Penny Arcade Expo (PAX). This downloadable title for the XBLA provides gamers with a good amount of fun for not a lot of money. Moreover, considering the paucity of quality action/adventure titles available for download, it's nice to have this game available. The Maw's a very good game, just don't expect it to rival a title such as Bionic Commando: Rearmed.
CCC Editor / News Director