In what was supposed to be the last entry in the Game Feast promotion that Microsoft has running for XBLA games, Super Meatboy hits the marketplace this week. Wait, isn’t this the flash game/Wiiware game that people have played? Pretty much – but here you’ll get over 300 levels of meat grinding goodness – all for the price of 1200 MSFT points.
This is more than just a hardcore, perfection required platform title – there’s a story to be had. Meat Boy’s girlfriend, Bandage Girl is kidnapped by Dr. Fetus (a fetus in a suit, complete with monocle) and Meat Boy wants nothing more than to get her back. So off he goes through levels filled with things that can kill a hunk of meat; saws, fire, infinite drops, piles of medical waste and meats biggest enemy – salt.
The game is simple in concept – Meat Boy can stick to and slide down walls and is able to make impossibly long jumps at will. Get from point A to point B in each level, and you unlock the next leading up to a boss battle. Each level clocks in at well under 20 seconds long – but once you take into account the sheer number of times you’ll die on any given level you’ll be playing this for a while. Perfection and repetition are essential to race through each level and earn the requisite A+ rating which gives you access to the Dark World variation. While dying repeatedly in most games usually leads to load times and frustration, death here quickly places Meat Boy back at the beginning of the level with almost zero lag time – and the coolest part is once you beat said level, each instance of Meat Boy who met an untimely end on that level is replayed at once which literally makes the blood fly.
One great feature in the game is finding warp zones scattered throughout the levels. Entering these doesn’t warp you to later levels as you might think, rather they take you to alternate games and eras of gaming. One I entered look like classic Yellow/Black monochrome Game Boy with accompanying graphic styles. Others will take you to Turbo Graphix 16 era games, and some will even feature Meat Boy styled characters from other independent video games, all which are unlockable and usable in the game. Each of these characters bring in some traits of their own, and surprisingly fit into the Meat Boy world – providing you can collect enough loose bandages that populate the levels to unlock the characters.
With it’s simplistic graphical style, high energy music and simplistic yet effective storytelling cutscenes Super Meat Boy is a title that will infuriate you, yet in the same instant make you fall in love with its frustrating and satisfying gameplay. Make sure to check the demo out, and you too might be persuaded to throw down the magical spacebucks to play the game, I know my preconceived opinions were shattered once playing it.
Platform reviewed: Xbox 360
— Jeff Paramchuk