Promotional Feature: A crazy mow-’em-up that’s a cut above the rest!
Take the chore of mowing the lawn and throw in a gaggle of garden gnomes? You’d be forgiven for thinking that you’re left with something short of a party. But it’s with exactly this unlikely blueprint that Mowin’ & Throwin’ promises chaotic multiplayer mayhem as it launches today on Steam Early Access. How does it do it? Marc Mixon, Executive Producer at House Pixel Games, tells us how.
“Mowin’ & Throwin’ began as a two-day game jam organized by Ed Dearien just before he went to work for Sony on God of War. We loved the result of the game jam and wanted to take it even further,” Marc Mixon explains. The result is a 2v2 party game in which gnomes race to mow the most of their lawn while actively trying to sabotage their opponents. “No one else was doing that. We took those two things and redefined them to create the fun experience that brings people together,” he says.
The 2v2 local multiplayer format is a critical aspect of Mowin’ & Throwin’s design, as opposed to a more typical four-player free-for-all. Players take turns riding on a suped-up nitro lawnmower with a cannon, running around frantically gathering grass up with their hands or throwing bags of fertiliser over the fence to make their opponents’ grass grow back. “The first prototype was 2v2 local and that design generated engagement from players. Players got excited and started yelling at the screen and at each other! That’s how we knew that we had found the fun. Whatever else we did in development, we knew we couldn’t lose that,” Marc says.
There’s good reason why this 2v2 dynamic works so well, Marc explains: “It offers a unique mix of both cooperative and competitive play, which differentiates us from games that focus exclusively one or the other.” House Pixel Games absolutely haven’t ruled out additional games modes or online play for Mowin’ & Throwin’ in the future, but only if they offer a comparable level of fun to the local 2v2 format which works so well.
Every aspect of Mowin’ & Throwin’s design exudes its fun and crazy personality, and the visuals are no exception. “The vision is to capture the lighthearted, carefree, whimsical fun that is Mowin’ & Throwin’,” Marc explains. “We use bright, highly saturated color, zany gnome characters, and outrageous lawn environments to give life and character to the game and make it unique and memorable.”
Thanks to its simplicity and eye-catching style, Mowin’ & Throwin’ has real widespread appeal. Marc identifies three large key groups of gamers that will love the game. The first is perhaps the most obvious: local multiplayer gaming groups. “Friends who meet regularly, usually once a week, to play games like Overcooked, Gang Beasts, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime and Crawl, and are always looking for new local multiplayer games to add to their library,” Marc says. If some of the above are regular favourites for you and your mates, you’re likely to have a blast here.
The second is kids and their parents, who have the opportunity for some riotously fun family time. “I grew up playing games. Now I have kids who are becoming interested in games. I want games that I can truly enjoy playing with my kids.” Marc says. “Think of how Pixar and Dreamworks created movies that appealed to both parents and adults. House Pixel Games wants to do that for the gaming industry with Mowin’ & Throwin’.”
Finally, Marc was pleasantly surprised to discover how well Mowin’ & Throwin’ lends itself for competitive couples. “This was a surprise to us, but it really shouldn’t have been. The core of our game is 2v2, which lends itself to couples vs. couples. We’ve seen both males and females enjoy the game together at shows like PAX,” he says.
The next step for Mowin’ & Throwin’ is today’s launch on Steam Early Access. “Our primary goal in Early Access is to continue to grow our community of players and let them guide us,” Marc says. House Pixel Games plan to experiment with modes other than the standard 2v2, as well as with adding more levels, characters and customisation. Though they’re keen not to over-stretch. “We believe in keeping our promises to gamers, so we take care to manage expectations and never commit to things that we aren’t sure we can deliver,” Marc asserts.
Player feedback has already had a significant impact on Mowin’ & Throwin’s development. Marc relates the story of how what he calls “tank mode” for the lawnmower originated: “In one of our early focus groups we asked players what was fun about their experience. An overwhelming majority were having the most fun tossing fertilizer bags and rocks at the other team to make them scramble.” On reflection, they realised that it was the element of sabotage which players loved, and tank mode was born. “Tank mode allows players on the mower to accumulate grass as ammo, then pop out a turret and shoot it at other players causing chaos,” Marc says.
If you’re looking for your next party game then you’d do well to check out Mowin’ & Throwin’ as it launches on Steam Early Access today.
This is a promotional feature sponsored by House Pixel Games. What does that mean? Find out here…