Epic Meal Time has just turned their debaucherous online cooking show into an Android game, and as a meat-lover, I couldn't be happier. It's a simple game that involves guiding steaks, slices of pizza, and bacon strips into the host's face, while flinging away broccoli, turnips, and other greens. Energy drinks, booze, chocolate syrup, and whole pigs keeps things interesting while players earn Internet Money to finance new swag and a wider variety of food.
For those of you unfamiliar, Epic Meal Time has been on YouTube for a little over two years, showcasing extravagant abominations that can barely be considered food by traditional standards. Rarely does a weekly episode go by that doesn't involve Jack Daniels, Four Loko, or bacon of some kind. Lately they've been branching out into desserts with obscene calorie counts, but at its core EMT is all about making carnivore dreams come true. Vegetarians (or anyone with a sense of modesty) may want to skip this video, one of their earlier breakout episodes.
Gameplay and controls
The premise of Epic Meal Time gameplay is simple: food flies from every angle at EMT's Harley and you have to swipe away anything green, while making sure he eats as much meat as possible. The Sauce Boss can only stomach three vegetables before calling it quits. The physics of the flying foodstuffs are greatly exaggerated to give players enough time to recognize them and drag them into the Harley's gob as quickly as possible.
Every round players are rewarded Internet Money for how many grams of fat and calories have been consumed, as well as completing specific challenges. You also earn points every round, but I'm not sure to what end - why not just score solely with Internet Money earned? The currency can also be bought through in-app purchases if you want to skip right to the good stuff of enjoying particular unlocks.
Despite the simple, reflex-based gameplay, there's a lot of complexity to take into account. Rare power-ups like Five Loko and Jack Daniels can slow down time or provide protection against vegetables respectively. What those power-ups do isn't entirely clear without a tutorial, help, or detailed item section of the game, but players figure it out pretty quickly on their own. Catching the TurBaconEpic Pig launches into a fun mini-game furious-tapping, and it's easy to imagine down the line that new kinds of food could open up different kinds of mechanics. You earn points multipliers for feeding Harley multiple foods in quick succession, which is the key to really racking in the bucks.
Every food item has a different fat and calorie count; being familiar with those scores can help players triage what needs more attention. New food is unlocked with Internet Money, and beyond vanity items like backgrounds and hats, those foods are the main progression indicator. Extra lives every match are also on sale; they cost a fortune, but can make it so Harley can begrudgingly swallow five veggies instead of three.
Graphics and audio
Epic Meal Time does a great job of integrating all of the small touches that make the YouTube show so popular: the crow sound effect used to bleep out swearing, the stark black and white intro, the "next time we eat a ____" outro, and the familiar show font. The only time the branding really gets in the way is the "F--k Salad" menu, which doesn't actually have any more gross vegetables to unlock, but rather miscellaneous unlockables that don't really belong anywhere else. Of course the main menu also prominently links to their YouTube channel and merch store, but that's to be expected and doesn't feel pushy. .
The game pulls out a ton of audio bytes, soundtracks, and sound effects from Epic Meal Time's archive. All of the items being flung at Harley are 3D models with smooth animations and crisp, cartoony textures. The power-up drinks provide an especially cool glow effect. Some user interface elements are a little too big as you can only really see one unlock at a time when playing on a smartphone, but on the whole the stark color scheme, slick transition animations and sharp corners fit the obnoxiously manly attitude of the show.
- Faithful to the show's spirit
- Surprisingly deep gameplay
- Bacon strips
- Bacon strips
- Bacon strips
- Pricetag a little high when combined with IAPs
- Some features yet to be implemented
$1.99 is a little steep for a game that pushes in-app purchases, but Epic Meal Time's brand value is through the roof - long-time fans won't bat an eyelash at dropping two bucks on the game, and are likely to spend even more on IAPs once new team members like Muscles Glasses are made available. That said, folks who can't get into the juvenile mindset inherent to EMT's schtick (a.k.a. "haters") may not be as willing to dish out cash and deal with in-app purchases at the same time.
The game shows a lot of promise, and teases stuff like leaderboards and unlockable team members. There's potential extensibility through new unlockables and maybe some more creative stuff, like letting players take pictures of their own faces to be used in gameplay.
At the end of the day, Epic Meal Time on Android is all of the fun of eating a ridiculous amount of food without the pesky side-effect of getting fat.
Download: Epic Meal Time ($1.99 w/IAPs)
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