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Super Meat Boy Review


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On 11/23/2010 at 02:20 PM by Nick DiMola

One of the most finely crafted games of this generation.
RECOMMENDATION:

For Everyone.

Since the birth of the downloadable platform this generation, we have seen many great games; however, very few have managed to surpass being a cheap, quick thrill and achieve true greatness. A couple of years back I had the opportunity to review World of Goo, and I walked away utterly stunned by the experience. Today, I'm here to say that such an experience is once again available to the gaming world in Super Meat Boy. The simple platformer is so amazing in its execution, that it's absolutely irresistible.

I had a hard time knowing just how to approach this review. A game that I feel so strongly about requires exact words, precise thoughts, and planned execution. This is much like Super Meat Boy itself. The game, while simple in concept, is complex and deep in its design. Levels are expertly crafted, requiring players to always think one step ahead and to execute moves with precision to the greatest degree.

As a precision platformer, Super Meat Boy requires players to navigate levels full of death traps, both stationary and moving, through the use of jumping and wall-jumping only. In order to complete any given level in the game, players will need to have a strong grasp on how Meat Boy controls and the game's gravity, as well as a vision of how to reach the level's exit point, which is marked by the location of Bandage Girl, who Meat Boy is continuously trying to save.

While some levels can be quite easy, most levels in the game are unbelievably challenging. The funny thing? No matter how challenging they are, they always feel as if they can be completed. It's an amazing accomplishment, but it's clear that much thought was put into making the game this approachable.

For starters, Meat Boy controls like a dream. His movements are smooth and consistent, and players can easily get a feel for his abilities. Even at first, though players have a grip on controlling him, as they progress into the game, they will learn to push his abilities that much further. Seamlessly, players are transitioned into having a greater amount of control over Meat Boy, just by continuously playing through challenging levels that require pinpoint accuracy. As the levels become littered with more and more hazards, the game will have players timing moves, landing perfect jumps, and wall jumping in the exact necessary locations.

The game facilitates this with the ability to quickly and easily restart any level. If you die on one of the many hazards in a level, you are instantly respawned at the starting line. This makes it easy to stay in the experience and focus on perfecting the movements of Meat Boy in order to reach the end of the level.

While completing levels is a satisfying feat in-and-of-itself, where Super Meat Boy really shines is in the variety of other tasks available in each given level. Completion of a level in a quick time frame will result in a grade of A+, unlocking its Dark, and far more challenging counterpart. The Dark level conforms to the same structure as its Light counterpart, but a variety of other hazards are added in order to bump up the difficulty. Completionists can also earn an A+ grade here, but it won't unlock any additional content.

Bandages are scattered strategically throughout many of the levels within a world. There are ten of them to collect in the overall world and the vast majority of them are extremely challenging to reach while surviving to reach the exit. Collecting them will unlock different characters to control in place of Meat Boy. Gish, a character from a title of the same name from Edmund McMillen is one such character that is unlocked, and he players significantly different from Meat Boy. Primarily, he can stick to surfaces, as he could in his own game.

Players will also find Warp Zones hidden within particular levels that will transport them to an alternate universe for a three level offering. These Warp Zones are all full of character, featuring throwbacks to the NES and original Gameboy, as well as alternate titles like Bit.Trip Runner. That particular warp zone unlocks Commander Video, who as with Gish, plays much different than Meat Boy, with an ability to briefly float through the air.

Each world ends in an environmental boss fight that puts all of Meat Boy's abilities to use. Without the ability to attack, Team Meat has concocted a different kind of fight that involves evading the boss and reaching strategic points in order for the boss to destroy itself. Each and every boss fight is entirely unique, and they truly do a fantastic job of wrapping up a given world.

To complement the amazing gameplay is an equally fantastic soundtrack, art style, and character presentation. The soundtrack does a great job of matching the world Meat Boy is traversing, and the art that represents that world is inviting and descriptive. In between each world are short cutscenes involving all of the game's main characters. Though without words, these cutscenes do a great job of bringing out each character's personality and remaining funny throughout. Again, these act as a testament to the quality of the rest of the game.

Super Meat Boy, from what I can tell, is basically without flaw. Sure, the game is brutally hard, but it always feels as if you can succeed. Regardless of how good or bad you may be at the game, when you feel like success is only a few tries away, it's easy to push onward and stretch your abilities in order to complete a challenging level. Those super players out there have the alternate objectives to spice things up, and regardless of how great you are at games, you are going to get dominated by something in Super Meat Boy.

What truly rounds out the package are the game's little touches. For instance, after completing a level, the game will show you a replay of all your deaths and success simultaneously, with as many Meat Boys as it took to complete the level. In addition, Team Meat is still adding full (free) worlds to the game via their special The Internets section, which provides for some unbelievable value.

There's no question that Super Meat Boy is one of the best downloadable titles to ever be released and possibly one of the best games to be seen this generation. I wholeheartedly recommend the title to anyone who has access to a current generation gaming system. While it might not be available on your preferred platform right now, it will be soon, and it's well worth the wait.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

Comments

Kathrine Theidy Staff Alumnus

11/23/2010 at 10:11 PM

If this game comes to the Wii in retail form, I might have to get past the awful title and buy it.

Kathrine Theidy Staff Alumnus

11/23/2010 at 10:11 PM

If this game comes to the Wii in retail form, I might have to get past the awful title and buy it.

Jason Ross Senior Editor

11/23/2010 at 10:41 PM

I third Kathrine's motion.

Chris Mabrey Staff Alumnus

11/24/2010 at 12:55 PM

I fourth Kathrine's motion.

Chris Mabrey Staff Alumnus

11/24/2010 at 12:55 PM

I fourth Kathrine's motion.

Nate Hascup Staff Alumnus

11/26/2010 at 06:31 PM

I...sixth it?

Anonymous

11/29/2010 at 03:01 AM

The title is awesome. It's meant to be nonsensical.

Jason Ross Senior Editor

11/29/2010 at 03:14 AM

Anonymous does not agree with all seven of us. Too bad.

Kyle Charizanis Staff Alumnus

11/18/2011 at 11:53 AM

The title gives it the acronym of "SMB"...sound familiar?

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