Super Meat Boy Review

Super Meat Boy

Anger, joy, sadness…. One is flooded with all kinds of emotions while playing Super Meat Boy. This is due to its distinction as a painfully difficult game that will truly push you to your limits as a gamer. But the most prevalent thing that the game makes the player feel is a sense of accomplishment. Spot-on controls and ingenious level design limit the frustration factor, making Super Meat Boy one of the standout games of the year.

The game lays out its simple premise at the very beginning. You are Meat Boy and your girlfriend is Bandage Girl. She loves Meat Boy, but unfortunately no one loves Dr. Fetus (just wait until you see him). So Dr. Fetus beats up Meat Boy and captures Bandage Girl, so it’s up to you to conquer the devilish obstacles standing in your way and save her. This opening and cutscenes at the end of each world are the only examples of storytelling throughout the game. Though dialogue-free, they are often quite hilarious, and this humor is refreshing considering the amount of time you may spend cursing at your TV screen.

Super Meat Boy‘s most notable characteristic is sure to be its difficulty. The actual mechanics are straightforward enough for a 2D platformer: you run and jump (especially wall jump) to reach Bandage Girl at the end of each level. Despite that fact, this game is hard — die-hundreds-of-times-before-completing-a-level hard — but it’s also incredibly rewarding. Completing each and every level is an achievement because of the challenges you must overcome. You’ll have to avoid buzzsaws, lava pits, and heat-seeking missiles, among other obstacles, and coming out alive provides an exhilarating feeling. Your reward is getting to see a replay of all the times you died. Watching hundreds of Meat Boys on the screen dwindle down to one lone survivor is quite amusing, and you can even save those recaps to view at any time.

Super Meat Boy

Frustration will inevitably set in, but the smooth learning curve and precise controls limit that significantly. Early levels in each world can be challenging, but they start off slow, steadily introducing new mechanics as you complete them. The game never feels too daunting and that helps motivate you to keep pushing on. The level of control you have with Meat Boy also helps a lot. He can run at blazing speeds and jump long distances but it’s relatively easy to change direction or adjust mid-air at any time. Jumps that would seem impossible in any other game are plausible given the controls and it helps separate the game from similar 2D platformers.

Throughout the game you will encounter bandages and hidden warp zones. You have to go out of your way to collect bandages, but they unlock new characters. The developers used their indie cred in this regard as you’ll be able to play as characters such as Tim from Braid or Commander Video from Bit.Trip. Each has their own unique play style and ability, and some allow you to reach bandages that would otherwise be unattainable. Warp zones, on the other hand, take you to entirely new levels. Some of these will also result in earning new characters, but for the most part they are throwbacks to the classic 8- and 16-bit eras.

Super Meat Boy

Considering Super Meat Boy is a downloadable game you’d probably think it’s relatively short, but that’s not the case. First off, when you factor in the many deaths you’ll face, the time starts to fly by and those hours rack up. But aside from that, the game is loaded with content. When you get an A+ ranking on “light world” levels, an even harder version opens up in the “dark world.” These aren’t necessary to complete the game but they offer an even greater challenge for the more adventurous gamers out there. All in all the game contains 300+ levels.

Super Meat Boy may not be the most technically impressive game out there, but there is an artistic flare to it. Each of the worlds contain a vibrant and unique look, and when the game pays homage to the 8- and 16-bit era it works wonderfully. This is especially true of the small cutscenes that accompany each new world. They recreate scenes from all sorts of old classics such as Mega Man II and Castlevania. Even better is the soundtrack. Again, if you grew up on systems like the NES or SNES then you will absolutely love it. Even a newer videogame audience would be able to appreciate the music, as each tune sounds fantastic in its own right.

It may be too early to tell whether or not Super Meat Boy will be regarded as a 2D platforming classic, but it has all the makings of one. The game perfectly blends extreme difficulty with an immense feeling of reward and accomplishment. From a pure gameplay standpoint it controls wonderfully and each and every level has something new in store. Super Meat Boy may be a downloadable title but overall it’s one of the best games of the year.


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Author: Anthony LaBella View all posts by
My first experience playing a video game blew me away. The fact that Super Metroid was that game certainly helped. So I like to think Samus put me on the path to video games. Well, I guess my parents buying the SNES had a little something to do with it. Ever since then my passion for video games has grown. When I found that I could put words together into a coherent sentence, videogame journalism was a natural interest. Now I spend a large majority of my time either playing video games or writing about them, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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