Pig Eat Ball is a game about a pig. A magical, flying princess pig who likes eating tennis balls. Eating tennis balls makes her rounder, so she cannot fit through small gaps, forcing her to… regurgitate the balls to deflate, re-consume them, and continue on to snarf yet more. Pig Eat Ball is really weird, which should come as no surprise given that it’s from the mind of Nathan Fouts, aka one-man studio Mommy’s Best Games, creator of the fever-dreamish Serious Sam: Double D.
Mommy’s Best Games’ output is never anything short of imaginative. While their games riff off other genres (such as Serious Sam Double D being a take on platform shooters like Abuse) there’s always some mechanical twist just under the weird, lurid, doodle-styled surface. In the case of Double D, it was the ability to stack nearly your entire arsenal of weaponry on top of each other and fire them all with a single button. In Pig Eat ball, it’s a constantly reinventing array of puzzle-mazes and action challenges based around eating and vomiting tennis balls.
It works rather well, too, or so I reckon. It’s been in development for years now, but to help drive the (at time of writing) 66% funded Fig crowdfunding drive over the finish line and secure funding to properly polish up Pig Eat Ball, Mommy’s Best Games have released a sizable playable demo. 18 levels from the final game’s planned ~200, giving you a little under a tenth of the pig to poke around. An analogue gamepad (ideally XInput-based) is recommended, although you can still play with mouse and keyboard.
There’s a good amount of depth wrung from the simple concept of eating, spewing and re-eating tennis balls in the demo alone. Recently spewed balls will still be sticky, green and gross, and while you can eat them again immediately, they’re a hard meal to stomach. Downing three green balls in a row will upset your pig’s stomach, giving you a three second countdown until you automatically vent your guts across the level. You can hold on just a little bit longer by eating more stuff, but it’s only delaying the inevitable. This gives you at least some strategic options for repositioning for easy recapture of your lost balls.
Just try it. It makes sense when you’re playing it. Kinda. The talking clams are still a bit strange, I must admit. Feel free to bring friends and extra controllers as well, as the game includes the competitive Party Mode as well, with a small subset of levels from the planned final cut.