STAFF REVIEW of Pig Eat Ball (Xbox One)

Monday, November 18, 2019.
by Adam Dileva

Pig Eat Ball Box art Having done reviews for over a decade, I’ve played my fair share of nearly everything out there, even some of the weird Japanese stuff that I used to import back in the day. Pig Eat Ball might be one of THE weirdest games I’ve ever experienced, which is saying quite a lot. Developed by small studio Mommy’s Best Games, creators of Shoot 1UP and Serious Sam DD XXL, Pig Eat Ball is perfectly titled given that you’re a pig, eating you guessed it, balls.

I don’t even know where to begin describing the gameplay other than chaotic and insane. You need to eat all the tennis balls in a level to win, but the more you eat the fatter you get, so you might get stuck or not fit down narrow corridors, so you’ll need to barf out some of said balls to get skinny again and fit through. Yes, this game is about eating tennis balls and barfing them out. I told you it was weird. It really is unlike anything I’ve played before. Oh, and it has bearded clams; like actual clams with beards on them... perv.

While the gameplay is insanely weird, as is the story that frames it all as well. Your dad, King Cake, has decided to marry his pig (literal) daughter off, you, to whomever can win the official Royal Games. Of course she doesn’t want to get married, but King Cake is not having it, so she decides to go undercover with an ultra-sneaky disguise, glasses, and win the Royal Games herself to avoid getting married to anyone else.

Now that Princess Bow is taking matters into her own hands, er, snout, she’s going to have to travel across all of King Cake’s Space Station Kingdom, consisting of five massive worlds, earning pearls to challenge the bosses before moving onto the next. I honestly expected a short and quick adventure with a smaller studio game like this, but was surprised there’s actually a massive amount of content for hours of entertainment. With over 200+ levels to challenge yourself in, you’re going to have to dedicate some time if you want to see Princess Bow’s adventure until the end.

To complete a world, you’ll need to earn a certain amount of pearls to unlock the final challenge against a boss. To earn pearls though, you’ll need to challenge each bearded clam (I still giggle when I see these) and complete all of their levels, usually consisting of 3-5 or so. These levels are bite sized, usually tasking you simply eating all of the balls at once to win. Doing so is much easier said than done though, as you can choose to barf out the balls at any time since you won’t be able to fit down certain pathways when you’re super fat. When you barf out the tennis balls though, they’ll be covered in puke and you’ll need to eat them up again, making you sick all over again.

Played in a top down perspective, Pig Eat Ball is a puzzle game at its core, but there are some minigame elements to it as well. Each hub world has secrets to uncover and every level will grade you from bronze to gold based on how quickly you complete them. If you’re a real glutton for punishment, you can try and challenge yourself to getting all gold medals to unlock super-secret items as well. And for those that love bragging rights more than anything else, an online leaderboard will keep you busy indefinitely.

Remember, Princess Bow is partaking in this tournament in secret, so she’s going to need disguises, of which there are plenty. Some are hilarious, like adding a mustache or giant wax lips, and each has its own pro and con of choosing it, like making you move quicker, but less suction power to eat balls for example. Some levels benefit from a specific strategy, so you’ll want to experiment with each disguise, as they may make some levels much easier or difficult. For example, I was using the Wax Lips that gave me more suction power, but in one level it made it more challenging because spiked balls get sucked up too in whatever direction you’re facing, hurting you.

Each of the five giant worlds are individually themed, as the first world is space ship based, whereas the second is a sushi lover’s paradise. You’ll also face new types of puzzles and enemies with each new world as well, constantly keeping you on your toes as you progress. While many levels will simply require you to eat all of the balls at once, some have a time limit or a certain amount of times you can get hit without failing. While none are overly challenging, it can take a try or two to simply figure out what’s going on with all of the chaos happening on screen at one time. There’s nothing like being one ball away from winning, only to barf all of them up, sending them scattering everywhere. Prepare yourself for some wild bosses as well, as they are just as crazy and weird as the rest of the game.

If you happen to have some friends or family over and want to play some multiplayer, assuming you can explain the Pig Eat Ball’s premise and still keep them interested, up to four players can play against one another in local competitive play. These minigames range from typical ‘eat all the balls’, to who can make the most amount of sandwiches (by sucking up the ingredients and then spitting them out), among a bunch of other weird games. It’s a fun mode should you have friends over and want to show them your super weird new game.

Visually, Pig Eat Ball looks as if it’s from the classic 8 or 16-bit era. If you’ve played classic wacky Japanese games in the past, you’ll have an idea what to expect. It’s very colorful but it can be very confusing at times what’s actually happening given how much chaos is on the screen at one time. The soundtrack is fantastic though, consisting of upbeat classic chiptunes that appear to come from the same era the visuals consist of. The sound effects are even better, with barfing sound like, well, barfing and the scream of pillbugs as you hit them always put a smile on my face.

Pig Eat Ball is one of the most creative, weird and oddly satisfying indie games I’ve played in quite some time. Weird is really the most descriptive way to put it, as there’s nothing really like it out there. Even still, there’s hours of content to be had and plenty of laughs if you’re like me and can’t get over that you need to earn pearls from bearded clams.

Overall: 7.8 / 10
Gameplay: 7.5 / 10
Visuals: 7.0 / 10
Sound: 8.5 / 10


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