Eat Girl – what an odd name for a game that actually isn’t about cannibalizing the opposite sex. Anyway, Eat Girl is a top-down maze game developed by tesselode. It’s like a speedier and trippier version of Pac-Man. This scarcely-talked title is exclusively available on itch.io, and it’s well worth that spare change if you’re hungering for something simple, frantic and addictive.
Things like the retro-style font, the pixelated visuals, and its unusual digital sound effects almost make it feel like something out of Taito or Namco’s library of arcade games of the eighties that it likely drew its inspiration from. However, its animated backgrounds – made up of patterns of distorted shapes moving around the screen – and the eerie chiptune soundtrack silently buzzing away in the background is… odd, to say the least.
It doesn’t stop there. Take the enemies, for example. As you navigate through each maze, gobbling up all the dots that appear on-screen, ghosts with sickly faces will charge down the corridors if you so happen to pass their line of sight. Then there’s an apple with a pair of sharp fangs that hovers. Can’t forget about the Thwomp-like grey lumps, snails, or the mean ol’ stars that’ll launch bolts of electricity and vaporize you when you get up close, either. Why these freaky dudes are so keen on chasing you down and K.O.ing you at a single touch is a mystery that’s perhaps best left unsolved…
Some of the stages mix things up by adding things like teleporters that enemies can use, not to mention crates which can only be destroyed once you build up enough momentum and smash through them. Accelerating and making tight, 90-degree turns will gradually build up your speed. However, this comes with a few risks. One wrong move could send you colliding into a wall or foe, and since it’s a lot trickier to control when you’re bolting around like mad, it can make for some panic-inducing chases.
The hub world is a labyrinth in itself. Navigating around it can chew up a little bit of time, moreso if you’re still trying to break through the crates to advance further. If the entrances to each of the stages were in closer proximity to one another, nothing would be lost, in all honesty. Honestly, it’s a minor issue in an otherwise polished and clever title that requires plenty of lateral thinking and fast reflexes. One thing that I do like, however, is that once you eat all of the pellets, an exit portal will appear. If you’re trapped in a tight spot, you can wait for the vortex to gradually grow in size. To rush, or to wait it out – a tricky decision brought on by a handy gameplay feature. Very nice.
While there aren’t any additional bonus modes or scores to beat, Eat Girl is still well worth the cash, and can be an exigent distraction from time to time. Its unsettling atmosphere compliments its entertaining – yet increasingly manic – gameplay, and with 30 levels to go through, you should be able to get a handful of hours out of this quirky little gem. Eat it up, you won’t regret it.