The Maw Review
The Maw box art
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.

The Maw screenshot

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.

By Jonathan Marx
CCC Editor / News Director

The cute character designs are great, but the visuals aren't particularly crisp or detailed.
The controls are very straightforward but can be troublesome, especially during combat sequences.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music is decent, though not very convincing. The voice over work is non-existent and somewhat amateurish.
Play Value
The interplay between Frank and Maw is great! Cruising around the eight levels, chomping everything in sight, finding hidden items, and using elemental powers is all a lot of fun. Though, after a few levels, the game begins to feel fairly formulaic.
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • The power of The Maw: Feed Maw a variety of different creatures and make him grow to help get through levels. Use Frank's plasma leash to control the indestructible Maw, as he grows, evolves, and gains new powers that can be used to get rid of enemies and solve level puzzles.
  • The teamwork of Frank and Maw: Frank and Maw must help each other to solve puzzles and get through each area. Frank's plasma leash can be attached to Maw as well as creatures and other objects to slam and toss things around.
  • Action and adventure: This single-player story-driven game features eight full levels with different puzzles and power creatures throughout.
  • Musical score: The original music score was created by God of War composer Winifred Phillips.

  • Screenshots / Images
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