Super Meat Boy Review
Excellent level design and music allow Super Meat Boy to be an incredibly enjoyable platformer, despite its borderline masochistic difficulty
The marketing for Super Meat Boy suggests that it is “hard as nails” but that seems like something of an understatement given the vague connotation of the phrase. No other platformer in recent, or even distant, memory will test your twitch skills like Super Meat boy. Does this extreme difficulty make the game frustrating? Yes, it certainly does, but when you finally manage to complete a particularly troublesome level after many, many deaths the feeling of triumph is oh so sweet. Not many games will have you screaming "YES! FINALLY" at 2 in the morning on a Tuesday; Super Meat Boy, however, is one of them. This game walks a fine line between being so difficult that you can’t derive any enjoyment out of it, and being just easy enough that you can finish most levels if you are tenacious. Once you get past the initially unwieldy controls, you might just fall in love with the little cube of meat and his escapades.
You will literally go through hell to rescue your love, Bandaid girl
The premise of Super Meat boy is classic platformer stuff; the main character, meat boy (a cube of meat) loves bandaid girl, and the fiendish Dr. Fetus is intent on kidnapping bandaid girl and keeping her away from meat boy, presumably because he is lonely and jealous. Each level will have you traversing a series of obstacles in order to rescue bandaid girl. Each time you complete a level the villain, Dr. Fetus, will snatch her away and you are forced to continue your journey. There are five worlds, each of which contain twenty levels, a boss, and a dark-world equivalent. In order to unlock a dark world level, you must complete the light-world level at or faster than a certain ‘par’ time. If you are the competitive type, your time for each level will be posted on a leader board, and you can compete to try and get the best time for each level.
Collectible Bandaids are hidden in the most cruel of places
While this structure is nothing new or exciting, it’s in the execution of these ideas that allows Super Meat Boy to flourish and stand out from the crowd. The level design is super tight, and new elements, obstacles and challenges are constantly being introduced. The controls might seem a bit unwieldy at first with only four buttons, two for moving left and right, one for jumping and one for dashing/sprinting. The first few levels are relatively simple and are designed to help you get used to the controls. As you progress, wall jumping, mid-air turns, and precise direction swaps all must be completed at lightning fast times; you don’t have time to think when controlling meat boy; you only have time to act. It is also worth noting that the character you play as for much of the game, meat boy, will slide when he hits a surface with any speed. This means that momentum must be taken into account when landing and jumping. When there are saw blades whirring around and lava pits looming, even the slightest misstep or judgment error will cause meat boy to die.
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