There were only a handful of WiiWare titles on display at Nintendo's Media Summit last week, but Stephen and I agreed on the first one I should play: "Major League Eating."
Mastiff hasn't been much of a known force in games, but they're on the ground floor of Nintendo's surprisingly indie-focused downloadable games service for Wii.
Anyone who's met me could immediately conclude that I'm not a heavy eater. The last kind of competition I'd ever enter would be one centered on my stomach. Yet, somehow, I was paired up to battle 1UP's Anthony Gallegos, a guy who claims he could eat three super burritos from my favorite Mexican restaurant, Cancun Tacqueira.
That didn't stop me from virtually out-eating him, though!
"Major League Eating" opens with each side picking their character. Individual characters have specific attributes -- better at avoiding vomiting, preference for sushi, etc. -- but because I wasn't aware of this until after choosing someone, it never came into play. Gallegos and I both wanted to be the bear character at the end of the selection screen, but, unfortunately, he's being kept a "secret" for now.
The bear could probably just eat the other player, anyway.
If you're having trouble imagining traditional gameplay mechanics in a title about eating, you're not alone. There are actually multiple things to keep track of in "Major League Eating." Flick the Wiimote to toss food in your mouth -- but not too much, or you'll start choking -- and chew with the A button, as a floating icon moves above your mouth. Chew incorrectly and your teeth suffer; chew to build combos and eat faster.
While eating, players earn power-ups, such as burping and farting, that momentarily distract their opponent. There are also more randomized mini-games involving a burping contest (shake the Wiimote to increase your burp's power) or a quick match of hot potato. Neither Gallegos or I could really decipher why he won the burping contest, though.
It was ultimately for naught, however, as I destroyed Gallegos in our virtual eating contest. We were the first players to finish a round to completion, actually.
At most, "Major League Eating" will provide a mild distraction at WiiWare's launch in May, but unless it's released at a severely budget price, it will be hard sell against much more compelling competition like Frontier's "Lost Winds." There's not much depth to the mechanics, the art style isn't much to look at and the controls never felt precise. If it's cheap enough, some curious Wii owners might take a chance.
P.S.: Please do not attempt to eat three super burritos at Cancun to prove me wrong.