Major League Eating: The Game is a lot like a Farelly Brothers movie (e.g. “Something About Mary,” “Me, Myself and Irene,” etc.). It’s funny for about fifteen minutes, but then the bodily function jokes start reaching a sort of critical mass and the humor begins to elicit disgust and boredom. MLE:TG takes the beloved, all-American sport of competitive face-stuffing and throws in some weaksauce motion controls and horrifying character models. I would far rather eat a plateful of ribs than pretend to eat ribs in this game.
Things begin badly when an Al Pacino sound-alike shouts “HOOO-AHHHH!” upon booting the game up. You then select your gameplay mode—solo, multiplayer, or online multiplayer - all of which are exactly the same. Instructions on how to virtually consume unhealthy amounts of food are then shown; you use a particular motion to shovel food into your mouth, press B to chew, and hold A while shaking the Wii Remote to “calm your stomach.” The starting gun fires, and it’s off to the emergency room!
Scooping food into your gut typically requires a motion akin to pointing at the imaginary food with your Wii Remote, and then pointing it at your face. This doesn’t always work, and you will spend most of your time screaming at your onscreen avatar for moving his arm down when you moved the Wii Remote up. The vast majority of foodstuffs require this sort of pantomime, although more interesting (and frustrating) motions involve holding the Wii Remote like a cob of corn in front of your mouth.
The goal is to stuff your chipmunk cheeks full of more food than your opponent. While food is gathered from a common plate you share with competitor, power-up icons occasionally pop up, requiring you to quickly clear space on your own plate to make room for the power-up before your enemy does. Power-ups include such classy moves as the green gaseous fart and green gaseous burp (be sure to turn the sound of the Wii Remote way up so that you can hear the full cacophony of these intestinal releases). Virtually every power-up is a variation on this theme; while eating burritos, for example, the burp is replaced by a tamale (fire breath). A star power-up initiates a horrifying, wrist-cramping burp-off, during which you must madly shake the Wii Remote up and down for what seems like an eternity to force your burp cloud into your opponent’s face. Awesome.
As you chow down, your stomach and eventually throat begin to fill with green liquid. If it reaches your mouth, your character will throw up and forfeit the match. If you hold the A button and shake the Wii Remote, your character will use an invisible hula-hoop to settle his stomach. If you settle your stomach all the way, you get a free burp attack.
Ironically, the eating in Major League Eating: The Game is the most frustrating aspect. A little sectioned diagram of your mouth (where food is stored) is displayed above your character. Pressing B at the right time chews the food. It takes two chews to clear a single section in the diagram. However, chewing with an open mouth will result in your character biting his or her tongue, which is an automatic stun. Sometimes the timing of the B button is more forgiving than others; this is irritating because you never really fall into a groove. More often than not, several successful chews are followed by a stun for no good reason.
Playing through the game - which involves a gauntlet of one-on-one eat-offs - all at once with a single character unlocks a new character. There are lots of unlockable characters, but there’s a gigantic caveat here: if you get sick of playing the game (and you will) and decide to quit, your game will be saved but you’ll have to restart from the beginning upon booting the game up again. This is extremely frustrating. As some consolation, dragging each character through the game unlocks Alaska’s own Kodiak brown bear, one of the largest terrestrial carnivores on the planet.
However, given how bad the other character models look, I’m not sure if I’d want to see my beloved grizzly bear lambasted in Major League Eating: The Game. Many of the characters are merely separate skins over the same models, with nary a difference in animation to give the character a separate personality. One character in particular looks like he could be a demon with his all-black eyes, save for the whites of his pupils. It’s either borderline creepy, or simply poor design. The background music is minimalist, and the sound effects range from farts to burps. Like I said earlier, they’re kind of funny for about five minutes but lose their appeal very quickly.
Multiplayer and online multiplayer differ in no significant way from the solo game. Since there is no character customization, I wouldn’t be able to tell if I was battling one of my fellow staffers or the computer. And frankly, I wouldn’t care. With gameplay as shoddy and boring as this, we’d likely quit before the round ended. Bypass Major League Eating: The Game, and save your money for a better meal.