Nothing comes between a man and his meat sauce... especially this man, the legend; Soul Train Jones a/k/a Virgil! I'll refer to him as "Jones" here since that's how he's billed in this - his debut starring role in a video game. I'd say starring in his own video game is an honor that's way past due for this Olive Garden aficionado. This meat sauce maestro. This connoisseur of fine, Italian cuisine... you get my point. Soul Train Jones is a social media superstar with thousands and thousands of followers so, it only makes sense to try to "expand his brand" by starring in a video game. We're here today to check it out and see if it's worth your time and money.
Meatsauce Madness was developed by Alley Cat Studios and released by Magen Group to mobile devices on July 4, 2021. As you find out right away - this is not a traditional wrestling game by any means but since it features a wrestling legend; the prince of parmesan, the alfredo assassin, Soul Train Jones, it warrants us taking a look at it here. Especially since it claims to be the greatest game since Leisure Suit Larry? For someone like me who happens to own the entire, classic Leisure Suit Larry series on my laptop; I'm sure this game in no way compares to those (it's like the proverbial apples to oranges comparison), the folks at Alley Cat Games still have me intrigued with their reference here.
Once we fire this potential masterpiece of a mobile game up, I gotta say, I'm really digging the title music. In fact, all the music throughout the game is really good. It's all upbeat and catchy and really puts you in the mood for the action you're about to experience and I can assure you; there's plenty of fast-paced action to be found here. We start on the overworld where you can see the different areas you must complete which include (among other locations) a wrestling convention, an Italian restaurant, and the Main Event, which is your final destination. Throughout the different levels and locations; you have to defeat enemies and guzzle down as much meat sauce and garlic bread as possible while collecting money, meatball coins, and various food and guitars which help to keep your health high enough to complete the stages.
Here's the way the gameplay breaks down - this game is basically an "endless runner" where Jones constantly runs to the right, in order to get to the end of the stage. Your job is to guide him and jump over various obstacles and collect food and power-ups to aid him in his everlasting quest to guzzle enough meat sauce to go into a food coma. You can run into weaker enemies to defeat them or do a rotating clothesline maneuver to stronger enemies (just like Haggar in Final Fight) to dispatch those foes. If you run into obstacles or strong enemies without doing your "cyclone clothesline" then you lose health. You regain health by collecting food or guitar power-ups and can also gain speed by doing so. This helps out a lot because all of the levels are also timed. If you run out of health or run over the time limit; it's back to square one as far as completing your current level goes.
All of the levels seem to be randomly generated as well. Each time you play through a stage; the enemy, obstacle, and power-up placement change along with the pits and wall jump areas. This really helps with replay value which is a good thing because you're going to be playing through these levels a lot! Either because of failure or the fact that you're trying to get enough cash in your pocket to unlock the next stage; you're going to be playing through all of these stages multiple times.
Throughout each stage, you collect cash and meatball coins. As I previously mentioned; the cash is used to unlock new levels. The meatball coins are used to either buy power-ups from the store or to "gamble" on the three minigames in order to try to win cash. The minigames include a slot machine, "find the meatball" under one of three red cups that were mixed around and, a "truck beat up" minigame which is reminiscent of the "car beat up" minigame from Street Fighter 2.
My final verdict for Meatsauce Madness - it's worth picking up for sure! The graphics remind me of the 16-bit era and there is plenty of humor and inside references to videogames to be found. The game's not too difficult with some practice but far from easy and with the randomized level design; you can play the same level multiple times without it actually being the exact same level with each playthrough. Even the enemies in the game are funny and creative including the boss of the first world - the Meat-copter that alternately fires either meatballs or some sort of molten metal at you. I would suggest everyone pick this up in order to aid Soul Train Jones in his quest to stuff himself with garlic bread and guzzle massive amounts of meat sauce!
Until next time... keep mashing those buttons!