Super Meat Boy Review
Super Meat Boy is a platform game. However, it's not one of those platform games designed for kids of all ages that feature cute characters and easy gameplay. Far from it. Super Meat Boy is designed for hardcore gamers who like to be challenged, and if you're in that demographic it's going to have a strong appeal to you - doubly so if you cut your gaming teeth on NES platformers. For most other gamers, though, it will be little more than an exercise in frustration and repetition.
You play the game as the titular Super Meat Boy as he faces the same sort of crisis that's plagued videogame heroes from beginning of time – his girlfriend has been kidnapped by a dastardly villain, with Bandage Girl and Dr. Fetus filling these roles, respectively. The story has all of the depth of that of an 8-bit game and that's fine, because that and everything else about the game is an intentional homage to classic NES-era gaming. Blocky characters, simple color palettes, and beep-bop music are all here, although everything has a decidedly 21st Century bent to it. After all, the hero resembles a Wendy's burger before it hits the grill and the many traps that lie between him and his beloved are designed to slice, chop, or grind our hero into a bloody pulp.
Each level in the game is like a puzzle designed to be beat in less than 30 seconds. Well, in less than thirty second s if you manage to do everything right. Your actual time with each level will be far greater as it will take you some trial and error before you figure out the safe path through a level, and once you do you'll probably spend plenty of time trying to get the timing right because one mistake will send you back to the beginning to start all over again. The game doesn't give you any margin for error, and the difference in timing between a jump at the perfect arc that will take you safely through the narrow gap between spinning saw blades and one that turns you into chopped meat is measured in fractions of a second. This is all by design, a clever, well-executed, and sadistic design, and one backed by controls that are very tight and responsive. Your deaths are invariably your own fault, but that doesn't mean that many gamers still won't find the game to be quite frustrating and it's probably pretty easy at this point for you to tell if that makes Super Meat Boy your kind of game or not.
If this does sound like your kind of game, you'll find plenty to love here as the game serves up over 300 brutally challenging levels ... and even finding all of the levels will be a challenge. The levels that are a part of the main progression through the game are dubbed the "light world" levels. Beat a light world level within the target time and you'll unlock the corresponding "dark world" level. These levels are not only darker in appearance; they make the light world levels look easy by comparison. There are also secret warp levels to discover, as well as a set of levels inhabiting the "glitch world". Add hidden collectibles and unlockable characters with new abilities to the mix, and you have a game that will keep you occupied for a long time even if it was relatively easy to beat. Which, as you surely know by now, it's not.
Final Rating: 85%. The hardcore gamers of the NES generation will love Super Meat Boy, but most others should probably go vegetarian.