Super Meat Boy is frustrating, meticulous and painfully unforgiving but at the same time one of the best platform games in recent memory. Boasting ingenious level design and a unique sense of humour attached to the story, its hard not to love this indie arcade platformer. The premise is simple – navigate from the start of the level to the end whilst avoiding the obstacles along the way. Whilst it seems simple in theory, paying homage to the era of Marios and Sonic’s with the same concept, the execution is anything but with a game that’s as brutally hard as it is rewarding.
The levels start simple enough…
The story weaving the levels together follows a simple premise. The evil Dr. Fetus kidnaps Super Meat Boy’s girlfriend Bandage Girl and its up to Meat Boy to get her back by traversing through numerous perilous levels. The design of these levels is incredibly well crafted. There’s a steep learning curve here, with the game starting simple enough before slowly becoming more and more challenging. The levels require meticulous precision and one slight slip or mistyped jump can and probably will result in an instant death and a spatter of blood for good measure. Super Meat Boy certainly won’t be for everyone but for those who grew up in the 90s during the golden age of platform game, this game will feel right at home with this Indie that pays homage to some of the best platformers of that era.
…Before quickly increasing in difficulty
It’s hard to find faults with Super Meat Boy. With over 200 levels and a unique cartoon art style, the levels are a joy to traverse through. The inclusion of chase levels – be that vertical or horizontal – help to break up the tedium too and with so many levels, its surprising to find such a varied amount of levels included. Super Meat Boy constantly re-invents itself with its ingenious level design and some of the later levels are eye wateringly tough. To help celebrate your victory once each of these tough levels have been completed, the inclusion of an instant replay shows every attempt to beat the level at once and ends in your completed attempt at the end remaining triumphant. It really is a nice touch and helps emphasise the good work done to complete that level, making it all the more satisfying.
With such a difficult game, the gameplay needed to be on point and thankfully the tightly refined control scheme is. The responsive actions of Meat Boy never lag and any mistakes rests solely on the user not on the game itself. Even during some of the more demanding levels that include plenty of moving areas, lasers and all manner of nastiness, the frame rate never dips. It’s a great touch too and one that really helps make Super Meat Boy such a pleasure to play through.
The chase levels help break up the familiarity inherent in the levels
With so many levels and an emphasis on making the levels as tough as possible whilst still physically possible to complete, Super Meat Boy manages to walk that tightrope between frustration and fun perfectly without falling too much into tedium along the way. The instant replays and bright, cartoony art style help sell the concept and with a light story to stitch it all together, Super Meat Boy is a brilliant platform game. It won’t be for everyone, with an unforgiving learning curve and a wicked sense of humour, this is a game made with passion and a perfect homage to the bygone era of platform games in the 90s.