Developed and Published by Team Meat
Played on: PS Vita/PSTV
Also Available on: PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, Wii U, Android, MAC OS, Linux, and Microsoft Windows
Meat Boy and the love of his life Bandage Girl are taking a leisurely stroll through the woods when the evil Dr. Fetus arrives. He abducts Bandage Girl, and leaves behind a series of traps for Meat Boy to traverse before he can get to her. Each time Meat Boy overcomes one of the many challenges, Dr. Fetus will take his love even further away. But no matter how many saws and dirty piles of needles are put in his way, Meat Boy will go through any length to rescue Bandage girl.
Super Meat Boy is a tough as nails platformer in which the goal is to complete each level as fast as possible. The game has seven chapters, each containing 20 levels that must be completed to unlock a boss battle. After beating all seven chapters, the player will unlock an eighth one in which they take control of Bandage Girl and must rescue Meat Boy.
The game’s platforming is solid, with the player having to perform precise jumps and slides to get past the various dangers separating Meat Boy from his love. These include saws, dangerous piles of used syringes, fireballs, and many other dangers both real and fantastical. The controls are responsive and accurate, allowing the player to swiftly glide through the levels many hazards. That’s not to say that these levels aren’t challenging though. The game is brutal with it’s difficulty. When I played, there were levels that took me dozens of tries before i could beat them. And even though I would die over and over to the various sharp and overly hot objects, I rarely felt that the game was being cheap or relying on bullshit mechanics.
Throughout the various chapters, Meat Boy will have to slide through diverse areas, from a tranquil forest to the burning abyss of Hell. Each set of levels within these chapters takes advantage of the setting. For example, in the fifth chapter, Hell, there are fireballs, demonic portals, and lava that must either be dealt with or avoided. It really adds to the personality of the game, and makes all the random traps fit in with the rest of the level.
Each level has an A+ time rating. This means that the player has to finish the level in a certain amount of time for it be considered a perfect run. (Note: the player can die as many times as needed as long as they complete the level within the time limit.) If this rank is obtained, the player will be able to play the dark world version of that level. What this basically does is take the current level, and change something very minor. This can sometimes mean that the level is flipped around. Or maybe there are some more obstacles that must be bypassed. I personally felt that while these were a nice addition, they didn’t really add much. All they really do is make the level slightly more difficult and sometimes a different color, providing no real reason to go back and get an A+ ranking on each level, other than the PSN trophy.
Later in the game, the difficulty really ramps up, especially in chapters six and seven. And while the levels still feel hard but fair, they can start to feel boring. Many stages would demand me to run through a tight corridor where I would have to jump over saws and other hazards with only a little bit of overhead room. And after dying multiple times and learning from my mistakes, I would start to notice that my failures came from me not clicking the jump button at the exact location the game wanted me to. So I would redo the level over and over again, failing the same jump over and over again. And after dying ten times in a row to the same saw, it would start to feel way too linear because the game was relying on luck more than anything else since Meat Boy can barely fit through the gap. And while this sin isn’t committed that many times, it can sour the experience as a whole.
Like I said above, a boss battle is unlocked at the end of each chapter. The bosses are pretty ingenious, relying on the game’s pre-established platforming mechanisms rather than trying to introduce combat. I found the bosses to be really engaging, using many mechanics introduced during the preceding levels. My only issue with the boss battles is how some of them are the same to the game’s standard levels. The boss for the third chapter was just running through a factory while trying to outrun a massive wave of salt like previous levels, only difference being that you were running along side another meat boy. Just a bit more variety would have been nice.
The game’s soundtrack is great, matching both the speed and masochistic difficulty of the levels. It tends to follow a hard rock/metal beat with rhythms that seamlessly mix with the game. And the game looks stunning on the Vita’s OLED screen, with all the dark colors and fire/lighting effects simply popping on the Vita. It actually was better to play Super Meat Boy on the Vita than it was with the PSTV. Not only do the graphics look even better than they already do on my HD television, the game runs at a solid 60 FPS on Vita, and makes an enjoyable experience for on the go play.
In conclusion, Super Meat Boy is a tough but fun platformer classic. The game has both style and great technical execution in addition to the solid platforming. And while the game does have some issues, such as some boss battles being like the rest of the standard levels and levels that rely on the player clicking the jump button at the exact microsecond to jump over the tiny space provided above a saw, the game was good for the most part. And I really do think that the Vita is the best device to play this game on, with the game being great for both short and long play sessions.
I am giving Super Meat Boy an eight out of ten
Some boss battles are generic
A few levels rely on cheap shots to be difficult
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