The Meat That Can't Be Beat...
Super Meat Boy (SMB) can come off as if it is nothing more than a simple platformer falling back on its retro roots. Everything from the visuals, the music, and its humor can lead you into its spider web of frustration, but if you have the patience and skill you can come out on top and truly feel as if you accomplished something great.
Visually the game looks both retro and modern as the games fidelity clearly outshines the retro aesthetic. The frame rate holds steady, but can sometimes slow down when in the “replay mode” that overlaps every attempt made before completing the game. On the last level of the game I had over two hours worth of Meat Boys dying, but I can’t attest as to whether the game caps the number shown at one time. The game definitely has charm in both the presentation of the game and the humorous cut scenes.
Game play is fairly simple in concept: you run, you jump, you avoid obstacles, you get to bandage girl (SMB’s version of the classic damsel in distress), and you do so without getting maimed. The complexity and sheer insanity of some of the levels can make it seem impossible at times but it requires nothing more than patience and application. Nothing in the game feels wrong and when you miss a jump or careen face first into a saw blade you immediately know what you did wrong.
The amount of content in the game is fairly vast. There are near 350 levels contained in the “light world (main levels), dark world (“night time” versions of the same levels with increased difficulty), hidden warp zone levels, and levels that unlock secret characters. Also, sometime after the New Year they will be releasing user created levels from the PC version of SMB. As I mentioned above, the game contains secret characters all of which come from indie games such as Braid, Bit.Trip, Spelunky, Alen Hominid, and others. These characters not only have custom sprites but also control vastly different from Meat Boy. However some levels do not allow the ability to choose a character other than Meat Boy.
The entire package, in my opinion ,not only offers the quantity but also the quality of a top notch title worthy of any platform loving gamer. While the difficulty can shy away many gamers, I think it is rewarding in a way many games no longer can achieve.
Note: I have completed the entire light world, about ¼ of the dark world levels, and unlocked 3 secret characters by the time of this review. Also, this was played on an Xbox 360.