Super Meat Boy Review: Best Served Raw

Super Meat Boy Logo

Everyone who grew up playing games during the 8-bit era can remember when video games provided increased difficulty without the use of smarter AI.  Games like Mega Man or Ghosts n’ Goblins provided areas where perfectly timed jumps and attacks were the challenge.  Super Meat Boy brings all those feelings of frustration and blistered fingers back in a delightful yet obscenity-inducing way.

The story starts off with Meat Boy’s love, Bandage Girl, kidnapped by the evil Dr. Fetus.  You are tasked with having to rescue her over and over again only to have Dr. Fetus whisk her away each time.  Gameplay is all about timing and platforming, where most levels take up just one screen.  But don’t be fooled, because as simple as it may sound you will find yourself attempting the same level 20-30 times before getting your timing down perfectly.  Only two buttons are utilized, ‘A’ to jump and ‘X’ to either run (Meat Boy) or use a special move (Extra Characters).  Each level is littered with spinning blades, lasers, rockets, walls of spikes or other deadly things that mean instant death if you touch them.  Once you die, you are quickly revived at the start of the stage (à la “rinse and repeat”).

Super Meat Boy salt

The difficulty starts out easy but soon into the 2nd or 3rd world you will find it takes perfection to get through each level.  Normally this level of difficulty makes me want to shut my console off out of rage, but because there is literally zero load time from death to respawn, the game makes you want to make just one more attempt.  It’s all due to the fact that this game requires skill that only practice will make you better.  Comparisons can be made to games like N+ that are also skill and timing based.  With each run you find faster ways to complete a level, shaving milliseconds off your time.

Super Meat Boy Level Select

A look at the colorful artwork at the chapter select screen

As you run through each level you may come across collectible bandages that will unlock secret playable characters the more of them you collect.  These characters will be recognizable to some gamers that are familiar with other popular Indie titles.  The list includes, Commander Video from the Bit.trip series, Alien Hominid, Gish, and even Tim from Braid.  Each character uses a unique special move.  Rather then running like Meat Boy, Commander Video will float briefly through the air or Gish will stick to the wall.  These moves can sometimes make a level easier but can also create new challenges of their own.

Super Meat Boy hell

Besides the inclusion of many fellow “Indie” characters, Super meat Boy is chock full of video game and movie references.  From cut-scenes mimicking Ninja Gaiden and Mega Man to in-game levels (Warp Zones) reminiscent of GameBoy graphics and even an Atari 2600.  And the fun doesn’t end after the main levels because each level has an alternate “Dark World” stage that is an even more challenging version of the same stage.  In total there are over 300 levels.  I managed to complete the game and some “Dark World” stages for a total of 164 as of this writing.  At the end of each level you get to watch all your glory in a replay that simultaneously plays every attempt, producing a screen filled with Meat Boys if you died a lot (I did!).

Excellent controls and smart level design make this a perfect game in it’s genre.  If you’re a gamer that likes a challenge or yearns for the games from your childhood then this game is a must-buy.  I would even go out on a limb and say this game is a must-buy for everyone simply for the amount of content and replay value it has to offer.

I give this game a 4.5 out of 5

Super Meat Boy was developed by Team Meat and will be available on Xbox Live Arcade on Oct. 20th for 1200 Microsoft Points.

Written by Bryan

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Super Meat Boy Review: Best Served Raw, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

2 Comments

  1. Kristy says:

    Hi Brian,

    I was wondering what enemy in the game you found the most challenging. I’ve had a difficult time with the salt levels, myself. Thanks for the great review. I hope you’ll do a lot more reviews in the future. They’re my favorite part of the site.

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    • Bryan says:

      I gotta say the hardest thing in that game, let alone in my entire lifespan of gaming, was trying to get “The Kid” from the warp zone. But if you were to check my gamertag you’d see by my little Meat Boy pet that I did it! God I had a love hate relationship with this game.

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