If I could just dip into my commercial voice for a moment: sometimes, it's the little things that make you smile. Things like a tiny, dopey-eyed wiener dog who just so happens to be able to stretch his little round body like Mr. Fantastic. This elastic pup is the star of Silly Sausage in Meat Land, an adorably cute and straightforwardly fun mobile game that chronicles one dachshund's quest for gems in a realm comprised of gigantic meat products and the occasional sharp object. By this point, you should know whether or not Silly Sausage has the capacity to capture your heart.
This bite-sized adventure comes from the prolific folks at Nitrome, a studio known for cranking out dozens of lovable games featuring arcade-style gameplay loops and exquisitely chunky pixel art. If you grew up on NES or SNES games, Nitrome's library is your safe haven for nostalgic enjoyment in the free-to-play mobile market, offering Game & Watch-like experiences amidst a sea of Clash of Clans clones. Silly Sausage is one of Nitrome's few games to have a definitive length of 50 short levels, rather than an endless sequence of challenges, making it the perfect game to occupy a lazy afternoon or stops on your commute.
Though Silly Sausage finds himself surrounded by the delicious treats of Meat Land, he only seems interested in collecting shiny emeralds strewn across a gigantic, brightly colored corridor with little dog houses denoting checkpoints. Playing is easy as meat pie: simply swipe in a direction, and Silly Sausage will streeeeeetch out until he makes contact with something. If it's a platform, he'll grab on and contract his body to stick to the new spot; if it's an obstacle like spikes or sawblades, you should flick the screen in the opposite direction (and enjoy the satisfaction of watching your dog literally recoil). You simply make your way from one dog house to the next, collecting gems, puzzling out the best way to progress, and appreciating the absurdity of it all.
What really makes Silly Sausage resonate with me, besides the A+ name, is the way it reminds me of some of my all-time favorite games from yesteryear. The meaty environment - with backdrop items such as smiling sausage links, giant cubes of grinning spam, and happy little tubes of pate - recalls the iconic Level Ate from Earthworm Jim 2, or Psychonauts' Meat Circus (minus any frustrating platforming). But the keystone that earned Silly Sausage a place in my heart is its similarities to Wario Land 4, my most cherished Game Boy Advance game. Silly Sausage's cheery color palette, relaxed music, and bizarre, imaginative concept all hit the same delightful notes as Wario's journey into the Golden Pyramid, particularly the toy-themed Topaz Passage. If the catchy theme from Toy Block Tower somehow morphed into a mobile game, I think it'd be Silly Sausage in Meat Land.
At the low, low price of free, nothing's stopping you from elongating this wiener dog. As far as how the game pays for itself, you'll occasionally have to watch an ad between deaths (which is mercifully skippable after five seconds), or just spend a mere $2 and bypass ads altogether. Silly Sausage in Meat Land earned my money almost instantly, and if you give this rubbery dog a pull, I'm positive you'll be just as charmed.
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