The Digest: Simply put, Super Meat Boy is a masterpiece. Whether it’s the addictive, fast paced gameplay, the incredible soundtrack, the awesome replay system, or just that it’s funny as hell, you’ll be talking about this game for a long time.
THE FACT SHEET
RELEASE DATE: October 20, 2010
PUBLISHER: Xbox LIVE Arcade
DEVELOPER: Team Meat
ESRB RATING: “E” for Everyone
PRODUCT OVERVIEW: Dr. Fetus has kidnapped the love of your life, Bandage Girl! What’s a kid made out of meat to do? Save her, of course! Featuring classic platforming action reminiscent of early 90’s games, Super Meat Boy will keep you hooked for hours on end, and still have you keep on coming back for more.
- Over 300 Levels
- Classing Platforming Action
- Unlockable Characters from other games and platforms
- Future downloadable levels though “Teh Internets”
Some of the best games are great due to their sheer simplicity. Take Geometry Wars for example: It’s a simple top-down shooter, and your only goal is to survive as long as possible against increasingly difficult enemies. Super Meat Boy takes the idea of simplistic, addictive gameplay and rolls with it until the very end, and what eventually unfolds in the end is one of the best Xbox Live Arcade titles you can possibly own. It’s something that you can either pick up at anytime, make some progress on, then move on the next game, or go though a huge chunk of the game non-stop, and still enjoy every single moment.
If you’re wondering at all why the game has “Super” in the title, it’s because Super Meat Boy was originally a flash game, which was called simply Meat Boy. It has all the basic gameplay features as Super Meat Boy, so, if you’re interested, you can check out the roots of the game first before going to the Trial game.
The storyline is as barebones as you can get, but it fits extremely well. You’re Meatboy. You love Bandage Girl, and Bandage Girl loves you. No one loves Dr. Fetus (who is literally a fetus in a person-shaped cryotube) , this makes him mad, especially at Meatboy, therefore he kidnaps Bandage Girl and runs away. You’ve gotta save her. Simple enough, right? Wrong.
Your only goal is to get from point A to Point B, where Bandage Girl is located, as quickly as possible. So quickly, in fact, that each level can last around fifteen seconds. Although this is an incredibly short amount of time, unless you’re absolutely perfect with you’ll be spending a LOT more than fifteen seconds trying to complete the majority of the levels. The difficulty increases, and more obstacles become in your pathway. Things like circular saws, lasers, salt, and molten magma balls are just the tip of the iceberg.
The controls in Super Meat Boy are, well… absolutely perfect. You only have to use the right stick to move, and use the A and X buttons to jump and sprint, respectively. I usually have the Sprint button held down at all times, even if it throws me off once in a while. The addition to jump at different heights by holding down the jump button becomes essential later on, as you’ll be both sprinting and jumping though multiple obstacles at once. You’ll be able to master these techniques after just a few minutes, and you’ll have absolutely no issues with them.
At all. Seriously. You’ll never find a point in the game where you blame the controls for an error.
The same goes for the level designs in the game. Sure, some may seem absolutely ridiculous and insane later on, but you’ll never blame your faults for the level being “cheap” or too “unfair.” They’re all doable, and once you’ve got the right path figured out after dying dozens of times, you’ll feel like a complete badass.
By now, you’ve noticed the old-school art style, reminiscent of systems released in the early 90’s, something that Team Meat used to it’s advantage in a recently released trailer for the game. The platforming gameplay, the music, the artstyle, even the cutscenes and the yelling of the game’s title on the main menu, all scream old-school. If you consider simple addictive platforming action to be the epitome of gaming, you’ll be right at home with Super Meat Boy. The game even parodies cutscenes from games such as Street Fighter 2.
Speaking of music, did I mention it’s awesome? This is the type of soundtrack that gets stuck in your head for weeks, months, or even years after you play the game. It’s a fantastic combination of classic 8 bit music and electronic music of today. Remember that one song from your favorite game that came out a decade ago? You’ll be doing the same thing for years to come with Super Meat Boy’s soundtrack. (Awesome job, dB Soundworks!)
If you’ve gotten yourself stuck on a level, you thankfully don’t need to complete every single one to move on to the boss. The guys at Team Meat have been kind enough to allow you to complete only seventeen of the twenty levels to qualify for the boss level, relieving any possibly frustration to be had when you can’t access a boss due to the fact that you are unable to complete the twentieth level. Some breathing room is welcome, but it’s just enough so that it’s not too lenient.
Or maybe you need some extra abilities to get past certain levels? Later into the game, or if you collect enough bandages, you’ll unlock access to some new characters from not just Super Meat Boy, but other Xbox LIVE Arcade and Indie games as well. Almost all these characters have their own unique abilities, as well. Take, for example, the main character from Braid (Yes, BRAID!), Tim. he can do everything Super Meat Boy can do, but he can also move back time by three seconds. Having these abilities is extremely helpful in the later levels, but you can complete them all with just Meat Boy. You just won’t be able to access certain bandages on the map without specific characters. (You want that 100% completion, right?!) Characters come from games such as Castle Crashers, Alien Hominid, N+, and I Wanna Be The Guy.
Each level has a par time, which, if you can achieve the time, allows you play a “Dark” version of the level, located in, coincidentally, the “Dark World.” (The regular maps take place in the “Light World.) These versions of the levels take the original, which you love dearly, and completely up the difficulty. Even the first level of the game, which is a simple one that’s meant to teach you how to jump, and throws circular saws in about every single corner and flat path you can think of.
With the inclusion of these “Dark World” levels, it essentially doubles the amount of levels in the game, which, even if you’re thinking of content for the price, rather than the actual game, is a fantastic deal.
After you complete each level, you’ll get a replay of what you’ve just accomplished. This isn’t as boring as it may sound, though. Unlike your normal replay, Super Meat Boy kindly places each individual life you used in one 12 second replay, meaning you’ll see upwards of a hundred or more Meat Boys getting horribly killed in an extremely short time, with only one making it to the end.
One of the game’s best moments, powered by your failures and multiple retries. Beautiful.
Sadly, you can’t share any of these replays, but it’s always fun to reminisce about the time you spent hours on end beating one level, with the replay containing a thousand Meat Boy deaths within seconds.
If you’re the type of person that likes to complete every level with par times, get every collectable, and generally “own” the game, you’ll definitely have extra work to do on a regular basis. Team Meat has managed to find a loophole within the usual Marketplace system, which would normally require weeks of going though an approval process to give players additional content. What does this mean to you?
Potentially unlimited supplies of FREE DLC.
With this system implemented in Super Meat Boy, which is cleverly named “Teh Internets,” you’ll be able to download full chapters, containing twenty levels each, at a time, for absolutely free, whenever Team Meat feels like it. In a gaming world where it costs ten bucks to unlock content you’ve already had on your disc the entire time (I’m lookin’ at you, Bioshock 2!), “Teh Internets” is one of the best things to come out of any game in recent memory, and maybe this entire generation.
After you’ve completed all the levels available at the time, you’ve collected everything, beaten the Dark World levels and completed all the available levels on Teh Internets, you’ll be sad. Not sad about the game being bad, not sad that it took way more time than you thought it would to complete certain levels. No, you’ll be sad that… you’ve seen it all… so far. Thankfully, Team Meat is dedicated enough to keep this game lasting as long as possible. With at least five (completely free!) new chapters on the way, including two scheduled for Quarter 1 2011, your sadness won’t last be lasting for very long. Soon you’ll be able to complete new chapters in Super Meat Boy, and you’ll once again be happy that there’s new content. New experiences.
The epitome of addictive gaming in a simple 100MB download.
|- Simple, addictive platforming action.
-Replay feature works flawlessly.
-Unlockable characters from various other indie, Xbox LIVE and Newgrounds games.
|- It ended.
- No sharable replays.
Special thanks to Team Meat for providing us with a copy of the game for review.