|Super Meat Boy|
|Platforms||Windows, OSX, Linux, XBLA|
|Buy from Steam|
I started playing Super Meat Boy for our new Indie Impression feature, planning on maybe putting in a half hour with the meat and then heading off to write down my thoughts. Two weeks later and 10 hours of gaming in the can, I beat all of Super Meat Boy’s light world levels, rescued Bandage Girl over a hundred times, and died 2,345 times (to be exact). And even though poor Meat Boy splattered every 15 seconds, I still had an awesome time.
It’s a testament to developer Team Meat’s ability that they can make a platformer not only crazy hard, but also very fun. Almost nothing is harder in game development than properly ramping the challenge up for every kind of gamer, but they pull it off with Super Meat Boy.
Released on Windows, Linux, OSX, and Xbox Live Arcade (a WiiWare release was planned and then scrapped when the game exceeded the platform’s size limits) in 2010, it has since sold over one million copies, not bad for an indie release. Here’s my review.
I just built a near top of the line PC: Intel i7 processor, AMD Radeon 6950, and 16GB of RAM. The first game I played on it was a 2D platformer modeled after titles of the 16-bit console gaming era. It did run like a dream, but I’d contribute most of that success to Team Meat’s skill at developing a game that never cheats you: every death is your own fault.
Super Meat Boy’s platforming is both a dream and a nightmare at the same time. The game plays so exact, Meat Boy runs very fast and can jump very far, and wall jumps are the only move at your disposal, but it’s all you need to conquer dozens of stages, well, a lot of skill is needed too.
But the nightmare is that Super Meat Boy likes to punish you for being too in the zone. Where some platformers might perfectly lay out a series of jumps that require zero thought, Team Meat tosses in jumps that force you to come up short, saw blades that spank you for leaping too high, and lava that springs out of nowhere to trigger a string of curses from your already soaped out mouth.
It’s all really glorious fun though, I played most of the game with my three year old on my lap and he loved seeing Meat Boy splatter against a wall of spikes, but loved it even more when we finally conquered a stage and a hundred Meat Boys leapt out of the instant replay to show me every single attempt at once. The game is addicting and enthralling, a modern day instant classic.
Super Meat Boy is much more than tight controls and blister inducing wall jumps, but the level design is genius too. It’s amazing that the game features hundreds of original stages and stays fresh the entire time; and this is without Meat Boy learning new moves. I originally saw Meat Boy’s unchanging move set as a detriment, but the game forces you to grow as a gamer and thinker to defeat its own changing rules.
Wrapping the splendid gameplay of Super Meat Boy is a save-the-princess story (where the princess is Bandage Girl and the bad guy is... a fetus) and graphics that go from Happy Tree Friends gory to just plain dark and depressed gory. There are also a TON of things to unlock, including lots of other indie game playable characters, an entire dark world of levels to beat, bandages to collect, and A+ times to achieve. Plus all your friends’ times are easily accessible for you to try and defeat. The whole package is here. Oh yeah, great soundtrack too.
I wish I could point out some major faults in the game (not that I don’t want excellent games to exist, but I like ripping into games as much as pouring on the adoration), but they’re seriously few and far between. Umm... I guess it didn’t map my plugged in PS2 controller as well as I would have liked? I managed.
Super Meat Boys is the pinnacle of modern platform gaming. There you go.