Title: Major League Eating: The Game
Price: 100 Wii Points (US$10.00)
System(s): Wii (as WiiWare)
Release Date: July 14, 2008
Publisher (Developer): Mastiff (Sensory Sweep Studios)
ESRB Rating: “Everyone 10+” for crude humor.
Pros: Good utilization of the WiiMote’s motion controls, OK graphics and fairly addictive game play. Great multiplayer game, online and offline..
Cons: Some Wii freezing glitches and lackluster minigames.
Overall Score: One thumb up, one sideways; 86/100; B+; * * * 1/2.
Eating. Belching. Farting. These are the things of professional athletes. Well, maybe if your sport is competitive eating.
Perhaps one of the oddest food related games is Major League Eating: The Game, a WiiWare release from Mastiff where you actually stuff your face as best as you can. It’s crude, it’s silly and it’s kinda fun.
Ready. Set. Eat!
The game is set up as a side-by-side (not split screen) competition that pits avatars against each other. Grabbing grub from a plate in the middle, you move the WiiMote up toward your face to shove the food in your avatar’s mouth. The food them fills sections of your moth which appears as a HUD with a constantly sliding cursor. You have to time your B button trigger presses with the cursor as it passes food-filled sections of your mouth. Chomp at the wrong time and you bite your tongue, causing a momentarily disrupting pause of agony.
As if that isn’t enough to keep you busy, you also have to monitor your stomach’s acid level. Let it get too high and you’ll spew forth all of your efforts, immediately disqualifying you from the competition. To settle your stomach, you press the A button and shake the WiiMote, which also shakes your avatar.
You also pick up (and consume) various powerups that can be used to either distract your opponent with toxic gas from either end – which can also help your acidity level – are help you consume a bit better.
There are also mid-game minigames including a Belch Off and Hot Potato, where the loser is hit with a momentary pause caused by an explosive belch attack or an explosive potato.
it can be played as a single-player game or as an offline or online two-player game
Mii and My Stomach
Watching three displays – mouth, stomach and powerups – and performing multiple WiiMote motions at a time is a lot to manage. Even so, it’s still surprisingly fun.
Learning to properly pace yourself for grabbing and inserting food while also timing your chomps takes a fair amount of practice and, once learned, is quite rewarding.
Each type of food – meatballs, peppers, pizza, burritos, etc. – has its own pace for proper placement, as does each available avatar. Eating ribs, for example, requires that you turn the WiiMote sideways and move it side to side while smaller foods like peppers and meatballs can be quickly tossed. This creative food-to-motion pairing is a great touch that really does make this a decent Wii-only experience.
My main complaint is that the minigames are not well executed or well placed. They are kinda funny but really break the pace of the main action and don’t offer much of a reward for the winner. It’s really just an excuse to get you to make your wrist a little more sore and include an extra homage to food games. They are also the least graphically attractive portion of the game.
There seems to be some occasional timing issues with the WiiMote where you are clearly moving it toward your face and the on-screen avatar, with food in hand, isn’t moving. Maybe that’s one of the issue that Nintendo is hoping to correct with the Wii Motion Plus attachment.
There are a few small technical issues that did interfere with the game. Every once in a while, launching the game freezes the Wii, something that I’ve not previously experienced with my system. It’s meant that I have to actually unplug the system instead of hitting th Reset button, which is also pretty worrisome.
One thing I’d like to see added to the game that is part of the real competitions is the ability to drink a bit of water to help the food slip down. I can understand that it might not have been included since it would be one more thing to manage but it would add a little more realism for fans of the supposed sport. They already went as far as using real-world competitive eaters as characters in the game, so might as well go the extra step and give them something to drink.
Pushups Not Required
If you can overlook the somewhat crude humor, MLE offers a surprising amount of complexity for a seemingly small downloadable game. The online matches also worked very well and this proved to be a pretty fun two-player game as well as a challenging and addictive single-player game. It’s at least worth the price of a a sac full of sliders, especially if you plan to play with a room full of fast-eating friends.
If this is an indication of what future WiiWare games will be like, there is a lot to look forward to.