It’s pretty rare that a game comes along that is so fast-paced and difficult it leaves your brow speckled with a clammy sweat, and your heart racing in your chest. Most people can expect to be so tense while they’re playing Super Meat Boy that not even the faintest wisp of gas will be able to escape the clenched cheeks of their hindquarters. What’s even rarer is that a game with these qualities will leave you hungry for more of the brand of brutal punishment it dishes out. Super Meat Boy is just such a game.
Born from an incredibly popular Newsgrounds Flash game, Super Meat Boy is a platformer like none other from the diabolical minds of Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes that hit Xbox Live Arcade on the 20th of this month (it’s due out on WiiWare, Windows, and Mac OS X in November). It features Meat Boy who must save his girlfriend Bandage Girl from the evil clutches of Dr. Fetus. Besides the fact that the characters are meat, bandages, and a fetus in a jar respectively, this game is pretty unique for a platformer. There are no lives, life meters, checkpoints, continues, or game over screens. If you fail to reach Bandage Girl, you simply start over again. This would be very frustrating in a standard platformer, but most levels in Super Meat Boy are small enough that the entire thing is visible on the screen at one time. The time between Meat Boy’s death and reincarnation is so short — barely more than a blink of the eyes — that you are ready to go again before you have time to scream obscenities, punch yourself in the neck, and bash your controller into a million pieces.
The overall design of Super Meat Boy is very cool. A wake of blood rises from the surfaces Meat Boy is walking or jumping on, and this blood stays behind even when Meat Boy is defeated. It’s this kind of attention to detail that makes an indie platformer stand out amongst the high budget titles from major development studios. The environments are detailed in a way that nods to gaming generations gone by, and the couple of cutscenes in the first 20 levels had a nice and cartoony look to them. The sound is great too; everything from the splats to the over-the-top MIDI-esque 80s metal music in the first boss stage. All of these pieces come together to form what has been a completely enjoyable gaming experience up to this point. There are sure to be more thrills, spills, and ground meat in this game. Keep your eyes peeled for a detailed review of Super Meat Boy coming to RoboAwesome next week! To curb the intense anticipation you are bound to feel while waiting for the review, make sure to check out the interview I did with Edmund and Tommy a few months ago.
Gameplay is from the Wii version, but does not differ.