Pig Eat Ball – Nintendo Switch
Developed and Published by: Mommys Best Games
Category: Action, Adventure, Arcade, Puzzle
Release Date: 18th of October 2019
The premise of Pig Eat Ball is about as classic as you can get. A king wants his daughter to marry the best of the best, so he holds a tennis tournament of sorts for suiters to battle it out in order to win her hand in marriage. If you switch out the king for a cake, the daughter for a pig, and the tournament to a series of crazy challenges revolving around tennis balls, you’re halfway to understanding what’s going on.
In another classic move, the princess in our story is none too happy about being forced to marry someone she’s never met, so she dresses up as a boy and enters the competition herself. This is where players enter the game, and soon they’re controlling this not a boy princess pig around the huge space station kingdom, situated near a giant iceberg in space.
With me so far? Then this story is probably for you. It gets more and more bonkers as it goes on, but I won’t spoil it for you.
In terms of gameplay, Pig Eat Ball actually contains an enjoyable loop. Players need to gather pearls by completing a series of challenges for oysters around the Space Station Kingdom. These challenges mostly focus on swallowing all of the tennis balls in the level, but raise the bar with a new twist every time.
Some challenges have you bursting through walls in a time limit, with others forcing you to speed your way through spike balls, which make you throw up the balls currently in your possession. Each new element of the game is genuinely interesting, making players consider their actions in a mission before they bother trying to complete it.
Later challenges task players with being far more thoughtful, removing the time limit, but only allowing players to get hurt three times before they fail. This is where the game can be frustrating, requiring a lot of patience in order to work out the correct process for completing the challenge.
Powerups add even more variety to gameplay, which players can pick up both in each challenge, or in the outer hub worlds. My favourite were the Wax Lips, which increase your suction distance, though they proved incredibly annoying when the challenges filled up with spike balls.
Other powerups provide useful augmentations to princess not a boy pig, and they’re all meaningful in their benefits and drawbacks. Some may enhance your speed whilst slowing your sucking range, while others could cause bizarre side effects like lowering your tolerance for damage before throwing up.
Every challenge grades players from bronze to gold, with each medal awarded for completing the challenge within a certain time limit. The fastest players are even placed on a leaderboard for the challenge, all of which culminates into a system that becomes easily addictive, as you seek to best ‘CookieQueen098’ fir the twentieth time.
While each set of challenges ends with a sort of miniboss, that usually has nothing to do with eating tennis balls, it’s the actual bosses that are the most interesting part of Pig Eat Ball. Each boss has a unique mechanic to it, and to be honest they all look bloody terrifying as well. The huge centipede with an accordion belly was probably one of the most horrific things I saw in my time with Pig Eat Ball, but I genuinely enjoyed the struggle against it all the same.
The bosses might look completely mental, but they do serve a purpose in the equally mental story of Pig Eat Ball. After each encounter you’ll be given a new slice of narrative between princess not a boy pig, and her confectionary-constructed father. Believe it or not, this makes the game feel better to play, and less like something that’s been made to be as crazy as possible in the hopes that YouTubers and streamers will pick it up and make it go viral.
The visual beauty of Pig Eat Ball extends further than these great-looking bosses though. Each level, whether it’s a hub world or a challenge, has been carefully designed with pixellated graphics to make the player feel as though they’re playing a PC game on Windows 95. The colours are garishly bright, but the concepts are all extremely obvious, meaning that the player’s imagination fills in the rest when they enter a level.
My favourite challenges in the game were the Pac-Man-like encounters. These took place in arenas that looked exactly like Pac-Man levels, and even had ghostly enemies chasing me down. The protagonist can vomit on the ghost, which naturally makes it go blue and head off for a shower, but if you then hit the ghost it would become a set of lungs and spine, running away to recover in peace.
It’s these moments of nostalgic reminiscence that made me want to persevere with Pig Eat Ball, even when I thought I’d seen everything it had to offer. It might look like a game your grandad thought was too advanced for him, but there is a lot of fun to be had in this frantic puzzle shooter that even some games with bigger budgets fail to offer.
One of the best design choices I think that Mommys Best Games made with Pig Eat Ball is the ability to zoom the camera out and view the entire map. From this perspective you feel like you’re playing on an arcade machine, and given the visuals, that’s often exactly what you want. I played a good portion of the game in this view, because it reminded me of playing games wenI was a child, and that’s something that not a lot of games can make me feel these days.
Ultimately Pig Eat Ball is the culmination of nostalgia and modern fast-paced gameplay. The visuals are great, and so are the challenges you have to play through. However, if you’re not at least 28, like me, then some of the references might pass you by, and you’ll just be left wondering why a level was designed a particular way. With that said, these references are secondary to the enjoyable gameplay, which is why I’d highly recommend that everyone give Pig Eat Ball a chance.
What might seem like an obvious premise on the surface is far deeper than you’d expect in this game. Break through the frosty icing on top and delve into the cakey interior, with the odd vein of jam and cream. I promise this game is worth your while, as long as you’re up for a challenge both in gameplay, and in powering through the insane story.
Buy Now – $14.99
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A review code was provided to The Switch Effect from the developer.