It's a fist full of flavor and fun to your senses! Get your meat on!
Super Meat Boy is a speedy 2D platformer developed by Team Meat, initially for the website, Newgrounds which see's the player take on the role of Meat Boy; a small cube of meat who must save his beloved Bandage Girl, from the evil clutches of Dr. Fetus, a Foetus in a tux. The game takes place in various worlds, some representing the inside of the body and others the depths of hell. It is in no way your typical platformer, but easily contends with the likes of Sonic and Mario classics.
The controls are simple. You literally run, jump and stick to walls to make your way to the end of each level. You must avoid such obstacles as saws and syringes. If you fail to do so you'll become a squishy red mess, and have to start again from the beginning of the level. At the end of the level you can view and save a replay compiled of all your deaths and the one success from that play. It's great fun to watch and really makes all the frustration worth it!
The game is easy to get the hang of as the controls are clear and tight. However the maps can be very complex later in the game and require precise movement of the analogue stick and buttons.
In each level Meat Boy must reach Bandage Girl at the top of the map after conquering a series of jumps. Once he reaches the top, Dr. Fetus appears and snatches her away to the next level. This may sound repetitive, and it sort of is, but all 300+ levels vary, and require a different execution. Within each level you have an unlimited amount of lives and time.
The levels are split into 5 worlds of 20, each with a boss battle at the end, and finally the confrontation with Dr. Fetus. Boss battles find Meat Boy being chased until the finds a way to kill himself. Each world introduces new challenges and a much higher difficulty as you progress. The game also includes secret levels, accessed via warp zones (hidden portals) and via entering the dark world; a hellish, more challenging imitation of a level. After every level you are graded with a letter which is down to the time you completed it against the par time. You can also collect bandages scattered throughout the game. Once a number of bandages has been collected a new character to play with will be unlocked. Each character has his or her own special move, for example turning back time (Tim from Braid) or floating for a few seconds.
The story itself is told through a number of quirky cut-scenes, that don't include dialogue, but do however convey the message and will make you chuckle!
It's impossible to fault Super Meat Boys gameplay mechanic. You have complete control over Meat Boy, and whether he reaches the finish or dies, it's always down to the player controlling him. With the simple, effective controls you can change his direction and decide how far he moves or doesn't move. It can get very frustrating, but it's never the games fault if you die. You just have to learn from each mistake, and avoid any nasty looking saws! It's not necessarily a game everyone will be able to pick up and be great at, it requires extreme patience, reactions and hand eye coordination. It's never a surprise to die hundreds of times in a single session of Super Meat Boy. But it really is worth it as Team Meat have managed to create the perfect balance of challenge and reward. And I promise you after spending 20 minutes or even an hour on one level and finally finishing it, you will scream and shout with joy and really feel like you have achieved something!
As far as live features go, every level has a leaderboard for the fastest times. There is also a hidden chapter to unlock 'Teh Internets' which allows the developers to give the community new custom maps and features free of charge.
The games visual style is simple yet effective, it's bold and resemblant of cartoons and older platformers, with contrasting colours, crisp details, and great blood and guts! As far a sound goes, the eerie music fits perfectly into the simplistic, horrifying world, and comes with a hell of a lot of nostalgia for fans of the classic platformer.
Super Meat Boy possess a design that can challenge players, test players and reward players. The controls are perfect and the gameplay is vicious. With it's 'never say die' attitude and addictive nature there is so much to enjoy for a healthy time. 1200 Microsoft points is a small price to pay for a game that takes all the brilliant aspects of classic platformers, and builds on them with a unique, humorous twist. It may not be for everyone, especially those with little patience, but it would be a momentous mistake to not at least try the demo available on Xbox Live now.
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Review: Super Meat Boy
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