You know, I never thought I would hate a game like this so much. I have come to the conclusion that this games developer must have been a sadist. And not just any sadist, he would have been the sadist other sadists looked at and said “Wow, you are such a sadist.”. The master of all sadists, the evil supreme overlord of sadists. This is a game that HATES you, and makes it well-known. You can die anywhere from 0-1,000,000 times trying in vain to get past the brick walls made of hate and spite this game calls levels. This is the kind of game where every bird, bee, rock, and blade of grass is calling for your death. And believe me, does this game relish in the thought of your death. So much so that at the end of every level, it shows you all your playthroughs of that one level at once, as you watch as all your failures coalesce in to one big plateau , for the game to stand upon and dance the can-can on your grave. And then the game offers the ability to save that little clip to your library, which I felt was like letting the game add another sparkling trophy to its collection, made from your blood.
And you know, I never thought I would love a game like this so much. Although I would play one from time to time, I’ve never been all that big a fan of platformers. I usually can’t get past how easy it is to die when you misjudge a jump by 0.3 centimeters and have to restart the level again. I think this notion was first cemented in my brain when I used to play those floating platform sections in Super Mario Sunshine. But after hours and hours of trying and trying to win, through either my own skill with memorization, the hand of God, or the game starting to feel sorry for me, I would eventually complete the level. And oh, how much sweeter victory tasted after trying for literally days and days to get through a particularly hard section, like that freaking boat in Corona Mountain, which is now burning in my personal Hell. But while you do tend to die a lot in this game, you always know why, and it’s never the games fault. It’s always something you did wrong, something you messed up, and something you have to learn from. And then you learn from that, and try to improve on the next run. Not to mention that fact that there are no loading times upon dying, so once (not if) you do die, you can get right back into the action not a second later.
What game have I been talking about? Well it is non other than Super Meat Boy, a game set in 8 different worlds consisting of over 300 of the toughest, most challengingly fun levels you will ever play in a platformer. Developed by Team Meat, Super Meat Boy is the sequel to Meat Boy, I can’t really say too much about the original, other than it was basically a flash version of Super Meat Boy with worse control’s and graphics.
The story is one of the most complex, and engaging pieces of art you have seen, since that of the original Deus Ex. You are a man who’s made of meat, whose girlfriend made of bandages got kidnapped by a fetus in a jar wearing a tuxedo, and must give chase and stop this evil mastermind once and for all. Even the great William Shakespeare must be envious of this genius. Now since this is a PC review I suppose I should start off by talking about how good the port itself is. In the Options menu, you get the choice of Music Volume, Special Effects Volume, Resolution, and Full-screen. Now there are enough resolutions to play on most screens, and I’m thankful for the full-screen option at least, but for a PC port this is fairly lacking. And I’m not looking for a labyrinthine options menu for a 2D platformer, but at the very LEAST include the option to rebind keys. Now, as a left-handed person, not having WASD control makes this game impossible to play. Look at this, I use my left hand to steer, and the game wants me to use Space to jump, and shift to run. be if Right shift worked. The game uses left shift to run so it makes this game unplayable for me.
Now I feel that something needs to be done about this travesty. As a middle class, white, American male, I have been oppressed to long! I have been given the middle finger by publishers for FAR to long. And not just any finger, the RIGHT HANDED middle finger. But I say NAY! Today, WE RISE UP, and get stomped into the ground because 90% of the world are right-handed. BUT WE GET STOMPED INTO THE GROUND WITH HONOR! LEFT HANDED SALUTE! HA!
O.K. in all seriousness, there is a way to change this if your good at file digging. For those who aren’t here’s a quick tutorial.
<Tutorial In Video>
So after you get the controls to behave themselves, keep in mind that Super Meat Boy is a platformer, and the most important thing about a platformer is the movement. If the movement is stiff and unnatural (There’s an innuendo in there somewhere.) then there will be a lot of cheap deaths because of the game. Luckily, Super Meat Boy has some of the best movement I’ve ever seen in a game. You can run extremely fast, jump, reverse direction in mid-air, skid down a wall, jump off that, and stop on a dime. The are 5 main worlds, that contain 18 levels each, that’s 17 normal platforming levels, and 1 boss fight which can be unlocked after completing any 15 of the 17 levels. There are collectibles that unlock new characters and each different character has a unique ability. And every level has a much harder dark side that can be unlocked after doing well enough on the light side, but once you finish all that there is very little replay value. And I appreciate that sounds like if I said “If I go to Riverwood and Whiterun in Skyrim, there is absolutely nothing else in the game.”, but remember that this game is a platformer, which in the grand scheme of things is only a step or two above puzzles. Once you know how to beat a level in Super Meat Boy, you know how to beat it, and a new character, or ability isn’t going to make me want to redo levels, but again that’s just me. And, even thought once I finish the main story-line I’ll most likely never touch it again, I want to reiterate that Super Meat Boy is still an incredible value for it’s price, considering I’ve already clocked over 12 hours in it.
Also, it should be noted that this game has one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever heard, and has the rather dubious honor of being the first game soundtrack I’ve bought. I would usually go in-depth about why this soundtrack is amazing, but I don’t need to. Just listen to this song, and all will be revealed to you.
But what do I think about the game overall? Well as someone who is indifferent to platformers in general, I really like this game. But as someone who considers his time valuable, I can’t realistically see myself playing this game a second time. Now I’ve just about completed the main story line which is most likely as far as I’ll go, and I’ve played for 12 hours. That’s incredible value, not only for the amount of fun I’ve had, but also for the measly price of $15 on Steam. In terms of system requirements, you can probably run this game on a microwave, but for a 2D game it has a very nice art style and still looks very impressive. For me, it’s the kind of game I keep on my hard drive until I finish the main stuff, uninstall it, and never play it again. But regardless of that, I still highly recommend it.