Twisted Pixel's upcoming Xbox Live Arcade action game The Maw was on hand at the Penny Arcade Expo for a little hands on time.
In the game you play as Frank, a hapless alien armed with only a Plasma Leash. Fortunately he has the frighteningly large and easily frightened blob-like pet Maw. Frank can use his leash to guide Maw around to eat thing and clear paths, but despite being nearly all teeth, Maw is an easily frightened creature. So Frank has to spend a lot of time bulking up Maw and dealing with obstacles that the creature won't face.
The game has a lot going for it. First there's the amazing personality built into the game. The Maw and its lead creature are sure to win over the hearts of gamers as they play through it. The game itself is a nice combination of unique mechanic and fun puzzles. To take on many challenged gamers have to move Frank around which, in turn thanks to the leash, gets Maw to move around. But the fact that you don't have total control over Maw and can merely suggest where it should go, adds a whole other level of challenge to the game.
While seems big enough to take on everything in the game if it wanted to, the fact that everything even slightly close to his size, makes the game much more challenging. Often Frank will have to find ways around scary creatures to move Maw along through the game. Frank can use his leash on other creatures, he can also use it to occasionally grab some items for puzzle solving.
Maw grows as you feed it, it also takes on the powers of the things it eats. So when he sups on a fire creature he temporarily gains the ability to shoot out flames.
The Maw seems to have that pleasing mix of fun graphics, engaging character art and interesting game mechanic that virtually insures success. The game is due to hit the Xbox Live Arcade next year.