I think I’m in the minority of gamers that misses multiplayer couch gaming, be it competitive or cooperative. Excluding fighting games, the list of relevant local-multiplayer games has been shrinking in recent years. Offline multiplayer options mainly found themselves in shooters like Halo and Gears of War, sports games, or more simple games like Castle Crashers, the Scott Pilgrim game, and South Park Let’s Go Tower Defense Play.
My memory isn’t the best when it comes to these things, so I know I’m missing a few titles. But with the heavy introduction of online gaming, co-op games have started to replace offline co-op in favor of online. This was a real issue for a time. However, while it may not yet compare to the PlayStation 2 and GameCube era to me, the surge of indie games this generation has started to alleviate this issue.
Mowin’ & throwin’ & friendship growin’
House Pixel Games adds Mowin’ & Throwin’ to the collection of local-exclusive games on PC, as well as Nintendo Switch for those who wish to take the game on the go. The game is a local 4-player game, pitting two teams of two against each other in a competitive lawn mowing race. You must either mow your lawn fastest or have the least grass remaining when the timer hits zero. What’s good is that matches only last a couple of minutes. So while things can get intense, the game keeps it short.
Additionally, there are various items to spice things up. Fertilizer lets you sabotage your foe’s lawn by adding more grass for them to mow. You can throw poison or rocks at them, which inverts their controls or stuns them, respectively. Lastly, with the mower, you can use grass cannons to attack them or add little bits of grass on their lawn. Since your mower runs on gas, which can run out fast, you’ll also find gas containers to refuel your machine.
Mowin’ & Throwin’ features both 2 vs. 2 and 1 vs. 1 game modes, so if you lack people, you can just enjoy the game with one other friend. I mostly experienced the game locally with one friend. However, like many local-exclusive games, the game fully supports Parsec. This let me drag 3 of my online friends to play 2 vs 2 with me. Also, while the Steam’s store page says that you’ll require a controller to play the game, the game works perfectly fine with keyboard both locally and via Parsec. You can rebind your keys as well.
Co-op mowin’ mayhem
In the 2 vs. 2 game mode, there’s still only one mower per team, so this is when the real cooperative play comes to play. When I was playing with my friends, I was the one mostly mowing. Meanwhile, my friend was on offense, attacking my other friends’ mower with rocks, throwing fertilizer, throwing gas containers my way to keep me moving, and more.
You can pick up gas containers to refuel yourself. Everything else you run over you destroy, though, so it’s important to know where you are going. Keep this in mind, and you can destroy the opposing team’s thrown fertilizer before it explodes and gives you more work. You can even use mowers offensely, attacking with “throwing grass cannons,” as I like to call them.
I personally prefer 2 vs. 2, as the more people the merrier, but also because playing 1 vs. 1 means that you have to perform both offensive and navigational roles, which is more intense.
Get off my lawn!
Although it doesn’t add anything substantial to the game, I still love that Mowin’ & Throwin’ offers four characters to choose from, as well as six different hats to choose from. While there is only one mode and one objective in the game, the different stages add different layers and make it feel a lot less vanilla. One of my favorites is the Gnomehenge stage, which is a mostly dark stage and only lights up when lightning strikes. There’s also A Lawn Way Down, which has bricks over gaps that fall away for a time after you cross over them.
But my absolute favorite is the Jungle Rumble stage. This level has two bridges per lawn — however, it has a statue that activates them. Players must throw an item at the statue to activate their bridge and deactivate their opponent’s. This adds another layer of fierce competition to an already chaotic match.
One for the collection
I really had fun playing Mowin’ & Throwin’ with my friends. Aside from the Overcooked games, I feel like we’ve lacked this sort game for a while. It’s a simple-to-play competitive game, but one with a lot of depth. I only had one real gripe with the game, and that is that it doesn’t have any type of AI modes. While that’s not really the ideal way to play the game, and it’s probably not as fun, the core gameplay itself is good enough for me to want to play the game even when my friends are unavailable.
That is in no way a deal breaker, though. As long as I have people to play with, I’ll definitely keep mowin’ and throwin’ with them for a long while.