Super Meat Boy – the quadrilateral of meaty goodness has finally arrived to Xbox LIVE Arcade and I’ve managed to resist spamming my ‘A’ button for a while, take stock and de-liver you a beefy review.
I shall get straight to the point, Super Meat Boy is one of the most frustrating and potentially control pad smashing games you could ever play, yet on the flip-side its utterly addictive gameplay makes you hungry for more.
The aim of the game is quite simple. You take control of Meat Boy who must rescue his girlfriend, Bandage Girl from the clutches of Dr. Fetus, all the while trying to avoid turning yourself into mince along the way. Set in the traditional 2D platform style, each level is a basic ‘get from point A to point B’ without coming to a violent and bloody death. Armed only with the ability to cling to walls and jump, Meat Boy must find the quickest and safest route in each level in order to rescue his girlfriend.
The challenges you face throughout the hundreds of levels can often be frustratingly difficult, yet that is what makes it so damn addictive. Yes, you will die countless times. Yes, you will shout and curse at your TV screen – but once you complete a stage you undoubtedly gain an overwhelming sense of satisfaction. Each stage has 18 levels, with each one becoming ever increasingly difficult. One thing that should be highlighted is that Super Meat Boy does have a good learning curve – which, after overcoming the initial frustration of numerous deaths, comes into play as you begin to control your jumping, clinging and speed jumps with grace.
Not only is your ability to successfully control Meat Boy rewarded with level progression, but your speed is too. If you complete a level within a set time, you will unlock an alternative “dark world” for you to negotiate which is an even harder version of the treacherous landscape you’ve just navigated your meaty friend through. Each world also contains a number of “warp zones” which transports you to a bonus level world that is reminiscent of the good old days of 8-bit NES graphics. This quirky change in gameplay adds a bit of bright, colourful fun to what is on the whole, a game filled with rather dark comedy elements.
Along the way through your journey, you will be able to collect bandages, seemingly left by your love interest, Bandage Girl. These will open up “warp zones” and unlock different characters for you to play with – each with their own ability to aid the quest. Some of these characters will be instantly recognisable from other popular XBLA titles such as Tim (Braid), Pink Knight (Castle Crashers) and Alien Hominid.
The only game that I can (loosely) compare Super Meat Boy to is last year’s hugely successful Trials HD. The basis for both games is the idea to have the mentality of try and try again…and again. If you find yourself easily annoyed at games with high frustration levels, then perhaps this game isn’t for you and you should stick to your gaming comfort zone of sniping from behind a rock or admiring amazing landscapes. However, if you’re a fan of tricky and puzzling platform games with an added retro feel, plus a helping of dark gory comedy, then this is definitely the game for you.
Super Meat Boy – It’s all gravy!
Super frustrating, yet super addictive gameplay
Hundreds of levels to pit your wits against
Well delivered dark gruesome comedy
Level design could become slightly repetitive
Could be too hard and frustrating for some