Law Mower by Scoria Studios has you playing as a man that is sick and tired of people not properly maintaining their yards. He has grown sick and tired of this neglect and has decided to take matters into his own hands by mowing all the lawns. This may or may not include the murder of anyone or thing that dares get in his way and stop his epic quest of lawn mowing through 45 different levels. Spoiler: It totally does include killing everything that dares get in the way.
Those interested can purchase the game on Steam.
As surprising as it may be to know, Law Mower is not a very story driven game. The only real story is given to you at the beginning where you are told to go mow all the lawns. There are brief mission descriptions that offer minor pieces of narrative on the locations you visit, but nothing much. Law Mower is a game that very much lives or dies based on its gameplay. Unfortunately, like all the grass in this game, it cuts any enjoyment one can find in this experience down.
The general idea of Law Mower is simple enough. You walk around and cut all the grass and/or weeds down in a certain area. The problem is that actually moving the lawn mower around is a terrible experience. It isn't smooth or flowing which makes it incredibly difficult to dodge the numerous enemies the game throws at you. These issues are even worse when you try to play with a controller.
When playing any 2D movement based games like this, I much prefer playing with a controller, but that was an incredibly annoying experience. I couldn't actually navigate the menus with it so I had to keep the mouse around just for navigation. Buttons also overlapped with each other, such as the button for the flashlight is the same one that highlights uncut grass. So when I'm walking around the map covered in a mixture of my own blood and enemy blood, I have to keep turning my flashlight on and off just try and see the grass through all the blood.
This isn't even mentioning the fact that the controls simply don't work. Keyboard or controller the controls are incredibly unresponsive. I often have to double tap the controls just to get the lawn mower moving in the right directions. As you can probably guess, this makes avoiding enemies incredibly difficult. Which hurts even more since the game uses an archaic live system which means you will be completely restarting levels once you die three times and you will die far more than three times on some of the levels. To make matters even worse, some of the deaths are completely unavoidable. There have been multiple times where I have died in just the right way where my lawn mower keeps going right into the spawn where it immediately kills me because there is no invincibility once spawned. that's two deaths for the price of one, they are practically giving them away. Oh my, they just made it an even better deal with three for the price of one because some of the levels have enemies right by the spawn which means you can lose all of your lives instantly because you can't do anything once you spawn but be killed.
While there is a decent variety of enemies ranging from birds, dogs, to people who have decided shooting rockets is the best way to deal with you, none of them are fun or seem even fair because of the controls. Getting surrounded by dogs because the controls suck and you just want to go backward but going backward will get you killed because you just walk backward instead of turning the mower around is frustrating. This means there is no real way to deal with enemies behind you. You have to waste your extremely limited sprint and hope the controls work well enough that you can turn the thing around. The same goes for having to dodge birds and rockets in tight spaces. The controls simply don't work well enough for that to be a fair challenge.
Speaking of challenge, Law Mower has a rather archaic idea of what that entails. The higher difficulties are just more enemies. That is the only difference. That just means more enemies you can't properly deal with because the controls are terrible and, of course, they are all one hit kills. That is what I like to call artificial difficulty. It just makes the game seem more difficult than it really is. This was a tactic used a lot with the NES and SNES to extend the play time on the games. It was an understandable tactic then, now, it is cheap and frustrating.
Graphics and Audio
The graphics and audio for Law Mower are just slightly better than the gameplay and that is mostly because it all seems to function well enough. The graphics are pixelated and lack the unique art style to make it look good. It is all very bland and would be serviceable if it wasn't for the fact the blood textures often obscure the grass you need to cut making forcing you to run around the level highlighting every area just to make sure no grass is hiding under the bodies. Or if you are using a controller rapidly turn your flashlight on and off like two year old trying to figure out the source of the light coming out the magic stick.
The audio, unfortunately, isn't any better. The sound is repetitive and the music isn't any better. They are annoying, especially after you have failed a level a few times and are forced to just listen to that or the annoying sound of a lawn mower going off. Not exactly a great mixture there.
Law Mower is simply not a good game. The broken controls destroy what little fun someone could enjoy out of this game filled with archaic ideas. The graphics are ugly and cover up grass that you need to see and the music is as repetitive as listening to the lawn mower throughout the levels. Running things over with a lawn mower is only fun for so long and this game wears out its welcome after only a few minutes.
Law Mower is a game that should have come out for the NES. The archaic difficulty system of just throwing enemies at you and giving your terrible controls to fight back make much more sense in that era. Now, however, they are just unforgivable.
|+ Entertaining idea||– Broken controls|
|– Artificial difficulty|
|– Boring level design|
|– Ugly art style|