Have you ever seen a video game where a pig princess vomits tennis balls? Me neither, until now.
Pig Eat Ball is a frantic and insane ride of a video game that blazes forth with the spirit of the likes of Pac-Man and Katamari Damacy. To explain it is to have others question your sanity. The sleek setup involves a space pig princess entering a competition where she has to eat a lot of tennis balls so she can prevent the machinations of her space king father from pawning her hoof off in marriage. What follows is irreverent and bizarre, with ample amounts of wacko twists and turns, but the gameplay and vibe is completely satisfying—as long as you can withstand copious amounts of pig vomit.
The core is an adventure mode split across five worlds, each with dozens of levels. The short and sweet challenges involve moving your pig around a top-down environment as quickly as possible, suctioning up tennis balls while solving puzzles. The basic controls involve boosting at the press of a button and maneuvering your pig to inhale balls. The more balls this princess devours, the fatter she gets and to complete levels, you’re going to have to temporarily vomit some balls up so you can fit into tighter quarters. It’s completely ridiculous, but the hundreds of levels that take upwards of 10 hours to romp through are clever and enjoyable, especially as more mechanics, obstacles, and ideas get introduced at a regular clip. Disguises can also be found to augment your pig’s abilities, always providing a pro and a con. For example, you could get a boost to your ball suction, but you’ll move slower.
Stages are scored by how fast you complete them, netting you bronze, silver, or gold medals. Online leaderboards even provide an additional layer of competition. In addition to the more traditional challenges, the single-player story also includes an overworld that features a bunch of weird characters to talk to and some light puzzles to solve. The regular tennis-ball-eating grind is broken up on occasion with other level types, such as gigantic and absurd boss battles, challenges where you have to make sandwiches, and quick stages inspired by the local multiplayer.
Right on top of the sizable adventure is a separate multiplayer mode for up to four players. It’s fleeting and daffy, but with the right crew it can be a nonsensical great time. Everything is single-screen competitive fare, where you and three others (human or CPU) try to complete tasks such as breaking boxes or eating tennis balls as quickly as possible. It’s amusing for the shock value, but it’s not exactly a new couch multiplayer staple.
The adventure mode is the true winner here, as the unbridled mayhem keeps up a solid pace, only really faltering in the back half as it gets just a tiny bit long in the tooth. Pig Eat Ball is a ridiculous and preposterous game that is thoroughly unique, even if it often wears its arcade inspirations on its sleeves. That all being said, it’s a delightfully quirky experience that calls to mind throwback game concepts in a post-modern way.