Super Meat Boy (2010), video game review.
Donkey Kong, Mario, Sonic, these are all classic figures in the video gaming world. Donkey Kong was the first of its kind, a platformer. Later the protagonist from the original Donkey Kong was given a new name, Mario, and began a long war with its most prominent rival, Sonic. In their time they were the kings of the industry, but recently some of them have fallen out of grace, and are only now returning to the rightful place on the throne.
Platformers may not be as popular as back in Sonic‘s day but they still hold a place in many gamers hearts and libraries. Mario is still undoubtedly the king, but is there a place for a prince? Or even maybe a new king? Could Super Meat Boy be Mario‘s newest contender? Read on to find out.
The Good and The Bad.
Super Meat Boy is not for the faint of heart, and those that aren’t willing to sacrifice many hours honing their platforming skills should stay away. It is without a doubt, one of the hardest games I’ve played. With that said I’d also like to say that it is also one of the funnest games I’ve played; perfectly timing a sequence of jumping, running, and slingshoting, so that you zoom through the level is a joy, at times an art.
The controls never once give me any problems. Every one of my many deaths–and that is over three thousand–was due to either not timing a jump right, or my own recklessness. The controls are the “easy to learn, hard(ish) to master” type. Your given a level or two of tutorials and then it’s up to you to experiment, and playing with the controls. Some things at first my seem weird (for instance it is easier to play by pressing both X and A at the same time), but once you learn how the work and how to do them well the begin to feel like second nature.
All of the approximately three hundred levels (not including the handful of bosses) take little more the thirty seconds (at the most). It may take you many times that to final beat a level (it took me four hours to beat one), but once you do it will have only taken you thirty or so seconds to run through said level. But thankfully after you do beat it you are rewarded with a clip of your last thirty or so runs all going at once, and then the load time for the next level is minimal.
Many platformers feature some types of powerups scattered throughout the level. Super Meat Boy does not, what it does have are alternate characters to choose from. These aren’t just reskins of Meat Boy either, the are totally different characters, many of whom have the own special ability to master. Most of these are also cameos from other indie platform games such as Tim from Braid, or Alien Hominid from Alien Hominid. But you don’t just get all the alternates from the beginning, no, you have to work for them. Scattered throughout some of the levels are band-aids that you can collect, and once you get to certain thresholds (usually multiples of ten), you’ll unlock one of the characters.
Despite being extremely hard the game does give you one break. In each world (except for the last) you only need to complete seventeen out of twenty levels to continue.
If you manage to beat a level in under a certain time you will have “Aced” it. Once you have “Aced” a level you unlock it dark world counterpart. The dark world levels are the same level but they’ve been modified a little to make them harder. These are a fun challenge to tackle if you up to it, but you are by no means required to play them.
Super Meat Boy has a gritty pixelized art style. Many of the environments gray and dirty, but this by no means says that they are ugly. In fact it is quite the opposite. The game is beautiful. If you were to look at a screenshot of the game you may not agree, but some of the beauty is in the little details like the sun coming in through a crack in the ceiling to play with the objects in a room. Or the drips of oil the fall from an old pipe in a salt factory. And I don’t mean to say that the at a glance graphics aren’t great, but not everyone might realize just how good they are just at a glance.
Not to be out done by the graphics, the music in Super Meat Boy is fantastic. At this very moment one of the games songs is still stuck in my head. And the music is all just loud rock as one might expect from a hardcore game, and while there is some rock type music in the game there also many softer, slower, and gentler songs to be heard.
If you care at all about platformers this is a game that you must check out. But on the other hand if you don’t enjoy a challenge you might want to try it out before you buy Super Meat Boy.
Visual: Amazing pixelated graphics. Lots, and lots of blood, everywhere, on the walls, on the ceiling, and most of all, on the giant spinning blades.
Sound: Great score. If you’re looking for something to listen to that doesn’t have words I’d suggest the Super Meat Boy soundtrack (which may or may not be in CD form).
Gameplay: Platforming at its best. It is truly rewarding to “Ace” a challenging level.
Worth Your Money: Over three hundred offline levels, a handful of online levels, and 10+ characters, there is plenty to love in Super Meat Boy.
Console: Xbox Live Arcade, Mac, and PC.
Developer: Team Meat.
Parental Rating: T/13+
Overall Score: 9.5/10
Posted on June 6, 2011, in 2010, Mac, PC, Review, Video Game, Xbox 360, Xbox Live Arcade and tagged Donkey Kong, Mac, Mario, PC, Platformers, Sonic, Super Meat Boy, Xbox Live Arcade. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.