(WiiWare)

Game Review

Major League Eating: The Game Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Alex Knox

What goes down must come back up in this gut-wrenching ‘sport’.

People have been competitively stuffing their gullets with exorbitant amounts of various foods for over a hundred years, but not until the release of Major League Eating: The Game on WiiWare has this activity been immortalised in a videogame. Now, before you ask yourself whether or not you’d want to try a game about something as repulsive as filling your stomach to the point of near-violent regurgitation; consider that there are few sports with a greater need for a virtual replication than competitive eating. Since there is an absolute limit to the amount of food a body can ingest in any given time, potential competitors need alternatives to prevent the probable physical and financial cost of over-training (or training at all, for that matter). In this sense, Mastiff has attempted to do a service for aspiring gurgitators everywhere by releasing MLE on WiiWare.

MLE is as much of a fighting game as it is about competitive eating. Much like Street Fighter, it is all about picking a fighter/gurgitator and going head to head in battle. However in this case the goal is to stomach more food than your opponent or force them to regurgitate theirs within the two-minute bouts. There are a total of ten characters from the real life Major League Eating franchise to choose from; each has varying skills, strengths, and food of choice. The various skills improve your characters' ability to cram food faster, keep food down longer, chew quicker, or settle the contents of their stomach easier. This lends a fair bit of strategy to the choice you make as it pays to choose a character well suited to a particular task. Once you’ve selected a character you’ll put their digestive system to the test in a series of competitions against the CPU or a friend. You can even take your battles online with the Wi-Fi connection mode against friends or strangers.

There are twelve specific kinds of food that are divided into one of three categories based on the motion required to put it in your mouth. Hot dogs, hamburgers, and burritos require a simple gesture upwards with the Wiimote as if you were stuffing your face with imaginary food. Smaller foods, such as peppers and meatballs are tossed into your mouth with a flick of the wrist, the larger the flicking motion the higher the toss will be. Finally, foods like corn on the cob and spare ribs require a “typewriter” motion where you move the Wiimote back and forth (presumably in front of your face) for the desired effect. Each type of food requires a slightly different: for example, spicy foods cause havoc with your stomach if ingested too fast. The challenge is how you get all this food into your stomach, and manage to keep it there.

Once you’ve moved the food from your plate to your mouth, it’s time to chew each piece twice before swallowing. Your mouth is represented in the upper corner of the screen and divided into seven sections. Accordingly, each piece of food is represented in your mouth by a rectangular shaped morsel. As you fill up your mouth, a cursor goes back and forth across the food. Pressing the B button will cause you to chew the piece of food highlighted by the cursor. If you accidentally try to chew an area of your mouth without food, you’ll bite your tongue and stun your character for a second or two. After a piece is chewed twice you’ll automatically swallow it and your stomach, which is represented by a gauge towards the bottom of the screen, will begin to fill up.

If your stomach becomes too full, your character will return his or her meal to the chef and you’ll lose the match. To prevent this unsavory turn of events you must hold down the A button and wiggle the Wiimote to jiggle your character’s body, which allows the contents of their stomach to settle and make room for yet more food. Cramming your mouth full while chewing and jiggling is a hectic balancing act. This activity is more akin to a rhythm-action mini-game than anything else and it all works surprisingly well as a virtual interpretation of competitive eating. However, for better or worse there is significantly more depth to the concept than merely out-eating your opponent.

In practice, MLE is littered with power-ups to help sway a contest. As you grab food off the table occasionally a power-up will appear at the top of the pile triggering a race to grab it first. Once a player puts that item into his or her mouth the power-up will appear in their inventory and can be activated by pressing either the left or right on the D-pad. Effects range from toxic flatulence and nuclear burps to antacids and counter-attacks. Some of these power-ups are well thought-out and effective while others are just plain annoying (food that tastes like poo) or even nearly game-breaking (ie, "ketch up", which automatically gives you the same score are your opponent). Generally, these power-ups do add a sense of strategy to MLE; however, there is an unfortunate reliance on stockpiling and using them in succession to push your opponent over the brink.

Likewise, against the more difficult opponents speed eating almost goes out the window entirely, as using these power-ups is seemingly the only way to beat them. When they work in your favour of course it’s not so bad, but when you are throttling someone and they luck out with a nice string of power-ups, leaving you no recourse but to succumb to their effects, it’s simply too random to do anything but annoy and confuse. And, unfortunately, this isn’t the worst of it. Some power-ups even transport you to a separate mini-game- - either a burping contest or the old favourite, hot potato. Whilst these mini-games add variety to the mix, they are mostly just awkward and unnecessary and distract from the core gameplay.

Multiplayer, on the other hand, is certainly MLE’s strong suit provided you can find some worthwhile competition. Both local and online multiplayer are exactly as you’d expect with the one worthwhile tweak being that you get to use a power-up when you pick it up rather than when you put it in your mouth. It all works without a hitch and provided you can find some people online, it’s a blast to play when competing against someone of a similar skill level. The online mode offers leaderboards, random matchmaking and the ability to play your friends, though only if you both exchange those pesky friend codes!

Conclusion

Many people will no doubt get a kick out of MLE's light-hearted and largely adolescent approach to competitive gameplay. It offers a unique blend of concepts wrapped around a somewhat distasteful premise and vulgar humour. Challenging your friends to virtual eating contests is undeniably fun although the power-ups do often spoil the otherwise surprisingly solid mechanics: the fact that you can’t turn them off for a standard eating contest serves to undermine the integrity of the whole premise. As it stands, the developers decided it was best to leave everything on the plate and invite gamers to accept a meal with perhaps one too many flavours. Due to the repetitive nature of the gameplay the long-term value of this game is questionable, but make no mistake -- this game is certainly better than you might have assumed at first glance.

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User Comments (41)

Terra

#1

Terra said:

I had a feeling it would be better than everyone thought. Still, i'm not buying it when Europe gets it, that's for sure and still, it's only a 6

Tides_of_Chaos

#3

Tides_of_Chaos said:

By how you talked about the game, I could have sworn it would be a 7 but I suppose 6 does make as much sense.

Omega

#5

Omega said:

There are certainly games that are less interesting. It is somehow funny and crazy and the fans from MLE will like it. If it is not so repulsive, I would probably like it too.

AlexSays

#6

AlexSays said:

It's definitely better than everyone thought it would be..
But I still won't be purchasing it.

Rizzo

#7

Rizzo said:

You don't really say anything bad about it other than the power-up stockpiling. Did you have other complaints? I too thought for sure based on the tone of the review it would have been a 7 or 8 before I scrolled down . At any rate, it looks fun and I think I'll download it anyway.

WarioFan63

#8

WarioFan63 said:

Yeah its great to hear that its better then what everyone was saying. Hopefully the more major publications will feel the similar way and at least give this game a bit of success.

TKS144

#10

TKS144 said:

I'm still as anti this game as I was before. It's embarrassing to see the concept even priced on Wii.

CanisWolfred

#11

CanisWolfred said:

Well, I got to say, it's actually worse than I thought it would be. I never assumed it would be a bad game, I just took it as rude, disgusting and offensive. I'm glad the developers actually put some thought into this game, but sadly they didn't think hard enough, as it seems to have too many game mechanics that, while it may have looked good on paper, wind up leaving the game too random and, in my book, broken for a competitive eating game. Still, I suppose someone had to try, and when they fail, we'll never have to look at another competitive eating game again.

Ricardo91

#12

Ricardo91 said:

Oh yeah! I was right! I did get a 6! booyah!
Sorry about that.

Still not interested...
I'd probably get nauseous while playing it. :P

Draygone

#13

Draygone said:

Well, I'm a tad disappointed. I was more expecting a 7/10. But hearing about the issues with the power-ups, I can see why it got lower.

CorbsAdmin

#14

Corbs said:

I guessed it would be a 6. Good but needs a lot of work and could have used some game play tweaks here and there. It wasn't as bad as I feared it might be. :)

Chipmunk777

#19

Chipmunk777 said:

Twenty bucks this is top-5 in America next week.

1000 points, 257 blocks, and a horribly moronic premise? There is no way in hell I will ever touch this game.

Roboto

#20

Roboto said:

@battledevil789

this game haves grate battles and the online its my fav
its hard yea but its a lot of fun and uses the wiimote as many different ways no like many others wiiwares that use the control like a NES

Peznaze

#21

Peznaze said:

Hmm.. I was sure it'd get a 7/10, too. But it really is just a mini-game collection with too few modes, so I can see the repetitive complaint.

I'm not shocked that here in the US where burping, slurping, and generally anything at all to do with digestion is considered taboo there'd be lots of closed-minded people who wouldn't even consider it worth mentioning... I wonder if Wario Ware gets that kind of treatment? :P

CanisWolfred

#22

CanisWolfred said:

I wouldn't say "taboo", really it's more considered "childish". I'm sure this game would be great for kids, or people who can look past it's aesthetic and appreciate the game deep down underneath, but I'd say most of the people on this site are generally over 12 years of age, and don't fall into the games demographic.

ChocoDK

#23

ChocoDK said:

I was expecting maybe a 7/10 and I originally was interested in the game. But thanks to your review and the price point I will opt out of getting this game.

wiikid

#24

wiikid said:

Thought the review wasn't bad. Considering online play it should have been in 7-8 range. Also read somewhere, there's a bear in the game!

Terra

#25

Terra said:

I Expect it will get a sales boost from those who participate in Major League Eating

i8cookie

#26

i8cookie said:

i think they could have made this game much better. probably the people working on it thought it would suck so they didn't put in that much effort. but i think with better character design, removing the stupid belching thing, and putting in some super happy crazy Japanese style presentation, it could have been something really small and cool that everybody would want to have a go.... do you remember micro machines v3? the characters remind me of that, strange and ugly, not relateable at all...

ACK

#27

ACK said:

I want to make clear that a score of 6 on our rating scale is above average. Which this game certainly is--though, at times it does prove to quite a bit of fun. And I would've given it a 7 in a second if at least the game included a mode or option to turn off the diseased mini-games as well as certain power-ups to solidify the concept and lend some merit to the whole competitive eating premise.

Ultimately, these ridiculous design choices muck up the core mechanics to the point of occasionally making the entire game a chore. And mostly thanks to these decisions, MLE stumbles along the fine line of doing the 'sport' a service and turning it into an even greater joke.

Objection

#28

Objection said:

Everyone wanted a 7, but everyone would complain that there are too many 7s. Nobody can win!!

pdrydia

#29

pdrydia said:

Wow, really nice review. Your introduction is short and flows smoothly into the information on the game. The information itself is ordered really well. I feel like I've got a very good idea of what this game is like.

I've got a question about power-ups. Do they have to be used? Say I'm playing with a friend, and we agree that power-ups are lame and we're not going to use them--will that work, or does the game force you to use them within a certain time limit?

ACK

#30

ACK said:

Good to hear you liked the review. We try. ;-)

Most power-ups can be ignored by simply not using them. However, several are activated automatically (such as poo food, ketchup, and the mini-games). And unfortunately these tend to be some of the worst offenders...

StarDust4Ever

#31

StarDust4Ever said:

Meh. They could give this a rating of 11 and I still wouldn't buy it. I'd rather play SPOGS than this anyday, and downloading SPOGS was a mistake I don't plan on making again anytime soon :(

Roboto

#32

Roboto said:

yea i download SPOGS too and i have only played once... since the debut

HoyeBoye

#33

HoyeBoye said:

I went ahead and bought the game before I saw any reviews and I do NOT regret my decision. I agree with the review to a point; I actually enjoy the mini-games as a nice break from the action and a chance to get ahead. As for the power-up stockpiling, it sucks when it happens to you, but there are some opponents that I would be hard pressed to beat without it.

pdrydia

#34

pdrydia said:

Thanks for the info, ACK! I think I might pick this one up. Not before I get the likes of Toki Tori & Lost Winds, though.

CyclopsScott

#35

CyclopsScott said:

I actually downloaded this and found it surprisingly good. The minigames aren't all that bad, though yeah they are distracting, but what frustrates me is if you want to pick up and play, its always starting from scratch it seems. I'd like to be able to attempt specific foods instead of the fighter style format, but I get that that is the idea but still... :)

One major thing is it isn't gross... yeah there's farts and burps but its way way way cartoony and really, if that still grosses you out, well, not much I can say to defend it at that point. :)

CanisWolfred

#36

CanisWolfred said:

Well, it's nice to see someone's enjoying this game. I for one am easily disgusted, so I have difficulty contemplating the idea of this game being "Fun".

Matt_Walker

#37

Matt_Walker said:

I wasn't too sure when I saw this game available on the the Wii Shop channel, and I was considering buying it. You know, just to see how it was. Now, however, I am having second thoughts.

Tabbyluigi

#40

Tabbyluigi said:

Why does everyone want to hate this game, i will actually buy it and it seems like a good game, so tell me why you all call it a bad game or shovelware, shovelware is My Pokemon Ranch. Goes and buys the game, but remembers he is broke of wii points.....

Tate24

#41

Tate24 said:

i think this looks quite good, you know what we need for wiiware now proper fighting game that be cool!

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