The Maw is an Xbox Live Arcade (and later Steam-released) platformer by Twisted Pixel, later creators of 'Splosion Man. It involves an alien boy, Frank, who gets kidnapped by Galactic Bounty Hunters and then befriends an amorphous blob known only as the Maw. After the ship crashes, he teams up with the Maw to find their way off the planet. By helping Maw eat... and eat... and eat...
The duo must work their way through a variety of levels taking advantage of the Maw's ability to grow in size with every meal and take on the unique attributes of some of the creatures he devours. Your typical everyday tale of a boy and his loving pet. If that boy was an alien and his pet an unstoppable eating machine.
The Maw provides examples of the following tropes:
- All There in the Manual: Frank's race, the Teltarians, can cause emotional disturbances in different life forms with the stones on their head. This is why the Galactic Bounty Hunters captured him at the beginning of the game, as well as why the Maw doesn't eat him. Some of the game's information says what most of the enemies are named like for example the small pink creatures are named Yums, the Firey Lizard creature are named Gastros, the rare & floating snot & Mucas creatures are named Snuffles, the electric flying insectoids are named Bulbous, the slug-like creatures are named Gloobers, The worm-like puffball creatures are named Puff-tors, the hostile peacock-like creature from the fifth level is named Loofer & the giant beetle creature is named Beetull, a pun on the animal species Beetle.
- Cosmic Horror Story: A rare example of a C.H.S. that exists mainly in the subtext — the Maw looks cute and is on your side in gameplay, but it's also a horrific danger to all life in the universe and you're helping it get to a point where it can enact that danger. The main reason why this game isn't absolutely terrifying is because the visuals are so cute.
- Downloadable Content: Aside from the game itself being DLC, three extra levels were made available for the game labelled "Deleted Scenes". However despite the name they are not infact removed or unfinished levels but original content specifically made for download. They are just labeled as such because the way the game ended made having the DLC take place between ceratin levels the only option.
- Extreme Omnivore: There are only a few things that the Maw won't eat.
- The Goomba: Yums, The small pink creatures are the first enemy you first discover in the game, are also the weakest enemy around.
- Heavy Voice: The Maw's voice deepens when becoming larger.
- Hellish Pupils: When Maw is angry or especially hungry, his pupil turns into a vertical slit.
- 100% Completion: Eating all Yums (and related critters) on a level has Maw react to being awarded with eating all enemies in the level, as if receiving a badge or star.
- Holler Button: Press X to "Mawwww!"
- Killer Rabbit: The Maw is this, initially. Once it grows to the size of a house, though...
- More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Maw has a gaping mouth full of pointy fangs.
- No Name Given: The three sapient flower-like creatures from the first level that scare the Maw & the small electric creatures that come from the ground and you slam onto a stone for a Puff-tor would eat that appear in the Second, Fourth & Sixth levels were never named on any sources of the game making these two enemies, the only enemies in the game to be unnamed.
- Odd Friendship: Between an alien Emotion Controller and his pet Eldritch Abomination.
- Planet Eater: The Maw eventually becomes a hungry planet-sized creature, one that's still growing.
- Power Copying: The Maw absorbs powers each level, only to lose it the next.
- Sugar Apocalypse: The cutesy setting just makes it all the more jarring when you go around eating every living thing on it.
- Sugar Bowl: The planet that the game takes place on is a brightly-colored place, filled with a variety of cutesy or silly creatures...
- Technical Pacifist: Frank is apparently a pacifist and technically he doesn't take anyone's life during the game (at least not directly). But considering how many creatures Maw eats and how Frank uses that to his advantage, this may be more of an Informed Ability. In the final level, Frank is capable of single-handedly hijacking an aircraft, kicking the Bounty Hunters out the ship.
- Trailers Always Spoil: The trailer for the game ends with Maw eating a planet.
- Unexpected SHMUP Level: Both the third DLC level and the final level are top-down shoot-em-ups.
- The Unintelligible: Everyone besides the main character, who only says "Maw!"
- Unique Enemy: The Loofer in Level 5. Eating it enables you to Beam Spam your way through everything else in that level.
- Variable Mix: The music shifts depending on the situation, but it's most notable when using the loofer's power to shoot lasers, where a somewhat calm music shifts to combat theme from one shot before returning to calm after inactivity.
- Villain Forgot to Level Grind: On numerous occasions throughout the game, Frank and Maw will run into enemies that were a serious obstacle before, when the Maw was much smaller. In these latter levels, these enemies won't be any better armed than they were before (though there might be more of them), and the Maw will eat them like candy.