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  • John Bush

Game Review #292: Mowin' and Throwin' (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: John B. Developed By: House Pixel Games Published By: House Pixel Games Category: Action, Multiplayer, Party Release Date: 05.31.19 Price (At Time of Review): $14.99

Buy Mowin' and Throwin' from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Mowing the lawn every week is probably one of my least favorite spring and summer activities. I could be locked in the basement playing wonderful, wonderful vidya games, but instead I have to be out in the harsh, harsh sun doing manual labor. According to House Pixel Games, gnomes and I have very little in common in that regard. They take their lawns pretty seriously and they are prepared to violently lay claim to the title of fastest-mowed lawn. Mowin’ and Throwin’ for the Nintendo Switch is a harrowing glimpse into gnomish lawn-mowing culture, a multiplayer-only experience that exposes the cutthroat competition amongst gnomes to see who can mow their lawn first.

It’s All There in the Title

All kidding aside, Mowin’ and Throwin’ is a bright, colorful, casual party game. It is not complicated in the least, either; everything you need to know about the game, you learn from reading its title. The object of the game is to mow your lawn before your opponent(s) mow theirs. You can either play the game 1v1 or 2v2, but it is multiplayer only; lonely folks need not apply. Each player or team has one lawnmower which can fit one player, and you use the lawnmower to, well… mow the lawn. Not that complicated. You need to keep the lawnmower all gassed up to mow; when you run out of gas it just stops moving. When that happens, you have to hop off and look for gas.

Item crates randomly drop from the sky pretty frequently throughout a match; they contain things like gas or heavy objects you can throw at your enemies. If you get hit by a falling crate you will be stunned for a few seconds. They’re easy to dodge, though; when one is about to fall, a target appears on the field. Just make sure you’re not standing in a target area and you won’t get hit. When you pick an item up, you lose the ability to move; you can’t do anything until you throw the item you’re holding. If you pick up gas, you’ll want to throw it at your lawnmower to keep it powered up. If you pick up a rock or whatever, you’ll want to wait for your moment to toss it at your opponent. It’s fairly easy to dodge tossed items; they move slow and since both players see the whole screen, it’s not like they can hide where or when they’re throwing things.

For the most part Mowin’ and Throwin’ is a simple game, but this is kind of where the game’s strategy comes in. Since you can’t move when you pick up an item like gas, it creates a window for your opponent to attack. You have to pick up the gas, aim, and throw as fast as possible to keep yourself from getting a rock to the face. Picking up a rock before your opponent goes for some gas is only a good idea in 2v2 matches; if you’ve got a rock in 1v1 and your opponent has no item in their hand, well, you’re stuck doing nothing while they can easily dodge whatever you’re throwing. In 2v2 games, it’s generally a good idea for one person to mow while the other grabs gas and/or rocks to throw. For such a simple game the strategy can be surprisingly complex.

Hope You’ve Got a Big Couch

As I mentioned before, Mowin’ and Throwin’ is a multiplayer-only game. While it is a lot of fun to play with friends, the multiplayer-only aspect limits playtime. Since it is multiplayer only – and local multiplayer only, to boot - you can’t really practice it, or pick it up whenever; you have to set aside a specific time to play it. It’s best if you have a group of friends you regularly play couch multiplayer with, and if you don’t - like a certain lonely reviewer - it can be a bit of a hassle to find an occasion to boot the game up – or, say, get a review of it written in a timely fashion. In a small way I kind of like the local-only option a little bit; it basically ensures that you’ll only be playing with people you like, instead of internet randos. Overall, however, the multiplayer only limitation really damages the game’s appeal.

Gnomish Fashion

Mowin’ and Throwin’s 3D graphics are bright, colorful, and inviting. The gnomes have fairly lighthearted designs, like lawn gnomes but with interchangeable hats. You can also customize your gnome’s appearance a little; there is a small selection of outfits and hats to wear. It’s not a huge aspect of the game, but I always appreciate customization options, however meager. The different stages and objects in the game are similarly cheerful, which creates a perfect atmosphere for a party game. The soundtrack is similarly light and breezy. It’s easy to listen to, but the more people you have playing the more the music will get drowned out by trash talk – if you’ve got a good group of players, that is.

A Lawn Well-Mowed

Mowin’ and Throwin’ is a well-designed, casual party game. It’s got simple enough mechanics that anyone can pick it up and get into it, but the strategy gets deep enough that even more seasoned gamers will still find something to keep them engaged. The art design is colorful and welcoming. From top to bottom, Mowin’ and Throwin’ is perfectly designed to be shared by a group of friends on the couch, but that same narrow focus keeps it from having a wider appeal. If you don’t have a group of friends you regularly game with in the same house, finding an opportunity to play together can be an ordeal. Even having a regular online gaming group isn’t enough because the game is local multiplayer only. It really is a fun game, but its limited playability really hurts its appeal.

Score: 6/10

Buy Mowin' and Throwin' from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

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*Review Code Provided by Indie Bros. on behalf of House Pixel Games

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