Review by Seagaia
"Hardcore platforming at its best, with the capacity to appeal to most audiences"
Super Meat Boy started out as a flash game a few years back called (surprise) Meat Boy. It was notoriously difficult flash platformer where you control the character Meat Boy to rescue Band-aid Girl from Dr. Fetus, and didn't garner high ratings due the audience generally being easily-frustrated gamers, plus a few small issues with controls. In any case it was a quality platformer for the given platform, reminiscent of Matt Thorson's Jumper series (but not a rip-off!).
What Super Meat Boy does is reinvent everything about the flash game. Team Meat, the designers of the game, had a new programmer for Super Meat Boy, and as a result the controls are noticeably tighter and precise, allowing you to easily jump about the levels at will.
Of course, this doesn't mean the game is easy by any means, but this is the main draw.
The game has over 300 levels. Gameplay consists of a world map with 20 levels, 17 of which must be completed to open the boss, the boss level usually being a large level with one very large gimmick to it (for example, the first is the classic "wall-of-death" stage, but the wall of death is the boss.) Now, if you beat a level under a par time, you unlock the dark world version, an expert version of the level which considerably more difficult. This adds an optional element of difficulty for those hardcore platform gurus out there.
Each world has 20 band-aids scattered throughout its levels. Band-aids are a game design incentive provided for unlocking new characters, placed in hard-to reach areas of a level. Band-aids must be obtained and the level completed for the collection to count.
Each world also has warp zones, the entrances placed in some stages and are open for a window of time. These consist of retro zones and unlock zones. Retro zones have changed music and graphical palettes, but retain the same controls. Each has three stages, and you get three tries for each stage. To complete the zone you need to finish all three in one sitting, the same goes for keeping any band-aids. They are a very welcome and artistic twist to the main game. Unlock zones let you play as a character from other indie games, each with a pro and con. If you can finish the three themed stages with the character, you keep the character and can play him/her in most stages. They are another nice touch to the game, and consist of characters that have increased wall traction, an air-brake, among other abilities. Collecting band-aids can also unlock characters.
There is also an unlockable, free DLC world (360-exclusive) where the designers upload map packs that are freely downloadable. This is to display creativity of players with the level editor, which will be released only on PC, and allow the developers to release new maps that let you specifically play as only one character, to test your skills. In this sense, the replay value of this game could be almost infinite, with the new maps, and time records for almost every stage.
The graphics have a new-age retro feel to them, everything is bright and stand-outish (just look at a few pictures for examples). In any case they're very nice to look at as you jump into the next chain saw.
Which transitions nicely to dying, which you will do a lot of, but thanks to the instant-respawn element, this is hardly frustrating, and also is an expected element of the game in the first place. Also, completing a stage shows a replay video of every attempt to beat the stage super imposed, a nice little treat (or insult) for the gamer.
The music is extremely fitting tunes for the stages, with dark/light themes, and could be described as almost chiptune. The composer may release a soundtrack of the game soon.
If you have any interest in platforming games, and at least a bit of patience, you WILL love this game. It is difficult, but extremely fair, and everything about it is polished by the three-man Team Meat.
And the best part? It's only ten bucks. Ten bucks for what will be one of the best games created in this year, or perhaps history. (And there's a demo and plenty of gameplay footage if you're still not convinced!)
So, go out, be humbled, be entertained, by the majesty that is Super Meat Boy.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 10/20/10
Game Release: Super Meat Boy (US, 10/20/10)
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