This week's edition of Critical Reception examines online reaction to Twisted Pixel's The Maw, an Xbox Live Arcade action/adventure title that critics say is charming, cheap and memorable enough that its short lifespan shouldn't put you off.Boasting a unique premise and innovative gameplay mechanics, The Maw earned early critical praise and a number of awards prior to its release, including the Audience Choice Award at PAX-10 and a nomination for the Technical Excellence award at this year's Independent Games Festival. Deadman Gold The Maw currently averages a score of 78 out of 100 at Metacritic.com.Terry Terrones at GamePro gives The Maw a Fun Factor rating of 4.5 out of 5, citing its length as its biggest shortcoming. Despite its brevity, he begins, The Maw's retro feel and charming characters make it a title worth owning.In The Maw gamers play as Frank, an alien that looks like a cute, bipedal ant, Terrones explains. He and Maw, a purple, one-eyed critter the size of a basketball (at least at the start), are captives on a spaceship. The ship crashes and a mutually beneficial relationship quickly develops. Frank is the brains, The Maw is the brawn and the two work together to make their way through an unfamiliar planet.While the plot sounds ominous, Terrones admits, the game is anything but. It's charming, with likeable characters and plenty of mild humor. Maw is like a pet (think Cookie Monster with razor sharp teeth) who has a hearty laugh and a tongue that always hangs out like a golden retriever.Terrones feels that The Maw character itself gives the gameplay ample variety. Gameplay centers on Maws considerable appetite, he says. When he eats he not only grows but occasionally absorbs the ability of whatever animal he consumes. This gives the game a welcome change of pace and allows Frank the necessary tools to complete each levels puzzles.While the game does have a few drawbacks itll only take you 3-4 hours to beat and the camera is a bit inflexible youll certainly have fun with this title, Terrones summarizes. With adorable characters that fit perfectly into its retro style of play, The Maw offers XBLA fans something new and unique.Over at Destructoid, Conrad Zimmerman rates The Maw at 8 out of 10. The first thing one notices about The Maw is how beautiful it looks and sounds, he praises. The planet's surface is vibrant and full of life. Cheap RS Gold Plants rustle in the breeze and shudder as the characters move over them. The assorted creatures are all distinct and charming, with their own mannerisms.Zimmerman is also impressed with The Maw's gameplay. The game is very straightforward and highly entertaining, he writes. Most levels include platforming bits that only Frank can accomplish, which usually result in acquiring a new power for Maw. The blob can only have one power at a time, but it's never really an issue as the game is completely linear in nature and there is rarely an instance where you use two powers in the same level.An occasional lack of interactivity can be problematic. While The Maw is billed as a game, the amount of interactivity is not great, RS 07 Gold Zimmerman notes. Much of it feels like a series of quick-time events, with button prompts appearing near your character for just about every action that requires even the slightest amount of timing.What Twisted Pixel has really accomplished here is creating the equivalent of a Pixar movie with interactive elements, Zimmerman posits.