Pig Eat Ball

A game by Mommy's Best Games for PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One, originally released in 2018.
Mommy’s Best Games has traditionally been a purveyor of bloody explosionfests, with releases including run-and-gunner Weapon of Choice, multi-ship shmupper Shoot 1UP, and sidescrolling Serious Sammer Serious Sam: Double D XXL… and now they’ve returned with pigs, in space, eating tennis balls. While it’s certainly a tonal shift for the studio, their trademark zaniness is in place with overhead action involving a pig growing in size upon consuming tennis balls, barfing them out to get smaller, and eating them again to complete the level. The action takes place alongside numerous silly characters, notably the charismatic pill bugs who attempt to thwart the player’s efforts with a variety of weapons and machinery. And it’s all part of our mission.

Despite the unusual setting, the story is quite traditional… a king has declared that his daughter shall be wed, and whomever wins a series of games shall have her hand in marriage. The daughter, who has no interest in being married, dons a disguise and decides to enter the games herself. But this is no ordinary kingdom… The kingdom exists aboard a huge space station, and the aloof king – named King Cake – has a cake for a head, with a royal guard that have cake slices for heads, and a daughter who is a pig named Bow.

In order for Princess Bow to win the games, she must make her way through more than 100 levels, most of which are completed by eating tennis balls in single-player arenas that are designed to be completed in under 60 seconds. While many other games see players collecting coins or other doodads with infinite carrying capacity, that is not the case here. Each time Bow eats a tennis ball, she gets a bit fatter, and once she has eaten several tennis balls, she can no longer fit through narrow passages… and that’s when she needs to employ one of the game’s key mechanics: barfing.

When stuck, Bow can barf out one or more tennis balls in order to move forward, but since the goal of most levels is to eat all of the tennis balls, she will have to swallow them up again. Immediately upon being barfed, tennis balls appear green and slimy, but they return to their normal yellow selves after a few seconds. Getting overzealous and eating too many barfed-up balls – called barfies – causes Bow to involuntary barf again, spraying several barfies out in front of her. Fortunately, the game offers a “don’t suck” button that allows Bow to keep from sucking the tennis balls back into her mouth… which is useful when attempting to navigate tight quarters, or when there are lots of barfies bouncing around in a small room.

Bow is able to rotate 360 degrees, and by default, she is constantly breathing in, causing her to pull tennis balls and other objects toward her. This also means that she occasionally pulls undesirable objects toward herself, such as spike balls. This is where some of the puzzle elements come into play. Players may need to eat tennis balls and then turn away quickly or press the “don’t suck” button to avoid spikes, or they may need to purposely pull spikes toward themselves in order to reach tennis balls tucked behind them.

Other level elements include bombs that can be used to break through barriers, billiard balls that can be sunk in holes to open paths forward, and loads and loads of conveyor belts. Players will often find themselves in rooms employing one or more conveyor belts, with some rooms entirely surrounded by them. Conveyor belts set up challenges where tennis balls must be coaxed onto the belts and pulled off before they escape the player’s reach. In large conveyor-packed arenas, players must keep a watchful eye as tennis balls and spikes are quickly transported around the room, potentially flinging themselves into Bow.

Some levels require the player to complete challenges under a specific time limit, while others grant the player limited health, but many can be completed however the player likes. Some levels require the player to think about Bow's size and consider the order in which to consume tennis balls so she doesn’t get stuck, and some levels require the player to complete certain level objectives before he can move to the next section. Adding to these puzzles are different kinds of barriers. Some barriers stop all objects while still allowing players to draw them toward Bow, others specifically prevent tennis balls from passing, and others are solid objects that may be smashed and broken.

Bow can dash forward at any time, granting her a speed boost in the process, and skilled players can boost multiple times to send Bow flying along at higher speeds. Bashing certain blocks causes them to break... Glass blocks will shatter from any direction, but others must be broken from a specific direction, and some objects – like color-shifting lucky cats in the sushi-themed area – are only safe to break at certain times.

Dashing also gives bow an advantage in levels that take place against opponents, with Bow racing against competitors to collect stars or build sandwiches. In levels where Bow is competing to eat the most tennis balls, she can bump opponents in the tail (and they can do the same to her) to cause them to barf out some of their balls. Similar tactics can be employed in the game’s online or offline multiplayer modes, which allow up to four players to take each other on in a variety of challenges… and there’s a level editor as well.

The game offers five themed worlds to explore, with quirky NPC’s to interact with, and dozens of levels in each. Players are given some freedom to play levels out of order, or to skip over challenging ones, and players can return to previously-visited areas at any time. Clams act as entry points into each set of levels, and completing these challenges rewards the player with a pearl, along with a bronze, silver, or gold medal. As pearls are earned, new parts of the space station are unlocked, with new building blocks and connectors flying in and assembling themselves before the player's eyes.

Players who need a bit of extra help in completing a level can make use of various powerups, including a shield that protects them from damage, clocks that add a few seconds to levels that have countdown timers, magnets that pull objects toward them, and bananas that can be flung against spikes to make them harmless.

The game also offers dozens of disguises for Princess Bow, in addition to the one she puts on at the beginning of the game. These disguises offer passive buffs but also have gameplay tradeoffs, such as a jet fighter helmet that grants a higher boost speed with less control, a sweatband that lets you stay skinny longer but causes you to barf more when taking damage, or a snorkel that gives you more traction on conveyor belts but a shorter suction distance.

Minibosses appear in each world and require you to dodge their attacks while seeking out tennis balls, such as outrunning a pill bug driving a gigantic saw blade that chases you and shreds the environment as it makes its pursuit. Bosses appear at the end of each world and must be combatted directly by dodging attacks and striking weak points. Completing each boss encounter unlocks the next world and provides additional narrative between the king and Bow, as she tries to determine who has been sabotaging the space station.

Mommy's Best Games is responsible for a number of innovative 2D action titles.

Weapon of Choice is a high-octane side-scrolling action game where you take one of 7 operatives – each with his or her own unique weapon of choice – into battle against hordes of monstrous alien beasts and huge boss creatures, all of whom are bent on destroying you and everything else on Earth. The game is a completely over-the-top tribute to all of the things you loved about the 2D shooters of old, with numerous modern gameplay enhancements, including Death Brushing, where time slows down when the player character is inches from death; the Spider Pack, which allows you to walk up walls and across ceilings, leaving your hands free for blasting aliens in their tender spots; and the Vengeance Missile, which lets you to launch a 400 kiloton rocket at whatever is left on the screen after your last death.

Solve your problems with firepower through branching paths, multiple endings, and difficulty modes that challenge you to play the game at high speed with no Death Brushing.

Shoot 1UP is a shmup that centers entirely around the ability to gain 1UPs.

1UPs have been a part of our gaming culture for decades now, and we all know how they work… get enough points, or grab an onscreen icon, and your little “extra life” reservoir starts to fill up with extra chances to beat the game once you’ve been killed.

Shoot 1UP asks the question… why wait to die to use your 1UPs?

That’s right, each time you earn a 1UP – which happens pretty frequently – it is instantly dropped into the action. After just a few minutes of playing, you’ll have a small squadron of ships on the screen. Play a bit longer, and you may find yourself with up to 30 ships at once, maneuvering in unison and firing a wide stream of bad-guy pellets in multiple directions. 2 player co-op and “ghost ship” powerups can double the action, giving you 60 friendly ships onscreen at once.

Once again, the Mommy’s Best Games pedigree shows through with colorful environments, numerous alien baddies, enormous bosses, and innovative action-packed gameplay.

Explosionade falls into the 2D mech combat sub-genre along with a handful of other outstanding titles, such as Cybernator, Metal Warriors, and the Bangai-O series. In these games, the player takes control of a huge mech that is represented onscreen by a relatively small sprite, but which has huge amounts of firepower. Navigation tends to be a bit slow and deliberate, with a focus on pressing forward, defending your position, and choking your enemies with mouthfuls of bullets, missiles, bombs, and whatever else you have stashed away in your arsenal. And, in Explosionade, you can actually double the firepower with some same-screen 2P co-op.

Taking a cue from those games, the mech in Explosionade has a low movement speed, a jetpack-assisted jump, a shield, a machine gun, and an unlimited supply of grenades. That’s right, unlimited grenades. Actually, the grenades are called Meganades because they’re a bit oversized, as are the explosions that they leave behind.

As you might imagine, grenades blow up a lot of stuff. You’ll be demolishing your way through 40 challenge room-style levels blowing holes in the floors, walls, and ceilings, usually with the sole purpose of getting to the other side so that you can blow up even more stuff. Of course, you’ll also be delivering flaming death upon the heads of your enemies, including several varieties of flying critters, hovering sentries, walking soldiers, and mounted turrets. When life gives you explosions, make explosionade!

Somewhere along the line, Mommy’s Best Games decided that there just wasn’t enough action in Serious Sam: Double D, and so they popped the hood, cranked the explosionator into the red zone, and unleashed Serious Sam: Double D XXL. Now, instead of fighting mutants and headless kamikazes on his own, Sam can team up with his new gun-loving pal for some solid 2-player co-op. The game is now fully voiced with John J. Dick, the voice of Sam “Serious” Stone, reprising his role as the enigmatic hero of the future.

Everyone enjoys the Serious Sam stable of weaponry, including shotguns, Tommy guns, rocket launchers, and lasers. But why settle for incredible firepower when you can have unreasonable firepower? A new device called the Gunstacker gives players the ability to stack up a huge pile of weapons and fire them all at once. A shop system allows players to purchase dozens of weapon upgrades, but rather than offering something as simple as increased firepower, these upgrades completely change Sam’s abilities. Turn your grenade launcher into a flesh-eating beetle dispenser, trip your enemies with hot slices of butter, and toss throwing stars from your machine gun Machinobi style!

The total disregard for restraint doesn’t end there, with several new challenges and entirely new levels. Sam can take to the skies on the back of a flying dinosaur and launch heat-seeking missiles at Bio Mechanoids, and he can hang 10 as he races through Ancient Egyptian pyramids on a rocket-propelled snowboard. He even gets to face off against new enemies such as the armored Gnaar and flying fire breathing kittens. Oh yes, gather ye catnip while ye may and prepare to eat bees, you belching furball!