Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.
I Want My Mommy presents a conundrum. On the one hand, helping this little blue frog boy find his mom is the right thing to do. He’s lost and alone after his spaceship crashed and the locals kidnapped his mom. You’re in control of the wayward youth. Between him and his momma lie myriad spike-filled, tennis-ball-gun-equipped hallways. After falling on a nasty rock, the kid’s got the ability to create localized black holes from purple crystals. He’s dealing with a lot! The heart bleeds.
On the other hand, helping Ensign Frogulous is a chore. At first, waltzing through the one-screen challenges is a pleasure. The jumping is all about gravity manipulation. Some corners of the world invert gravity or skew it at 90-degree angles, which puts the ceilings and walls into play. Once the aforementioned black holes come into the mix, the challenges are compounded. You might have to sling yourself across the room by orbiting holes and deactivating them at the right time. Plus you have to account for all the moving parts. In one room, a tennis-ball machine needs to be aimed at the switch that opens a door, but you also need to move between two crystals to get the black holes going.
It’s just not very much fun. It’s hard—the game demands exact precision—but there’s no reward. Instead, there’s just another room to traverse with no aesthetic flair to speak of. Mommy is a twist on Terry Cavanagh’s gravity-twisting game VVVVVV with the addition of black holes and higher emotional stakes—you control a child rather than the captain of a downed spaceship. But while Cavanagh’s game was also exacting, it offered plenty of surprises. Sorry, kid. You’ll have to find your mom on your own.