They completely overhauled the original
To preface this review, I should say that I have not completed the game. I played a little less than 20 minutes and then refunded it. Here's why:
I had played hundreds of hours of the original Super Meat Boy on the Xbox 360 and Steam versions. The game was a revolution at the time and made its name on its extremely responsive controls, precise platforming extraordinarily quick loop on deaths and retries and epic musical score. So when I saw that there was a sequel out on the Epic Store, I bought it without hesitation.
The game opens with a video of Super Meat Boy, Bandage Girl and their baby enjoying life before Dr. Fetus (who **SPOILERS** was stomped to death in the original) absconds with meat baby and the two heroes following quickly after. After the short video plays you select a save file and the game makes you select some sort of either procedurally generated level seed or perhaps one of a list of premade levels that is randomly chosen. You then are off to the level select screen and can choose to start the game with either Meat Boy or Bandage Girl.
The first thing you'll notice starting the gameplay is the music. Gone are the heavy driving metal tones of the original. It's replaced by inoffensive hokey background music that's fine but feels out of place in Super Meat Boy.
The second thing you'll notice is that you have no control of meat boy. You'll wiggle the stick expecting to move him but he'll just run forward. When you press the A button, he'll jump. Press it again and he'll do a dashing punch. You cannot control the speed or direction which meatboy runs. This game is an auto-runner in the style of the Bit Trip Runner series. Press down and he'll flatten himself to the ground attacking forward. If you jump off of a wall he'll reverse his direction at the same speed. If you run to the left edge of the screen meat boy just dies. Now, my first reaction to this was immense disappointment as this completely tosses out the entire gameplay concept of the original (which I love), however, I did also like Bit-Trip runner and was willing to give this game a shot, after all different does not necessarily mean bad.
The game continues on and checkpoints fairly frequently and automatically. If you want to start over there is no quick way to do so. You can hold down RT to die, but that will just take you to the last checkpoint. THERE IS NO VISIBLE RESTART BUTTON. If you want to restart you'll have to quit out to the level select menu and go back in. A strange decision but fine.
The next thing you might notice is that the frame rate just starts chugging or stuttering for no reason. I'm running an RTX 2080 Super but figured, maybe I'd drop the resolution from 2160p to 1440p. The chugging was less frequent (but still there). After 2 levels I was thoroughly disgusted, quit the game and requested a refund.
Ultimately the overwhelming feeling I got was a complete loss of the nuanced control of the original. The runner game they have seems fine, and maybe if you never played the original you might like it. If you have played the original prepare to be severely disappointed. Now I have also only heard the first song but the musical standard of the first game is completely missed. But most of all, for a game that's a twitch platformer any stuttering or loss of framerate is entirely, completely 100% unacceptable and game breaking. This game shouldn't be chugging on a 2080 super and if it is a hardware issue then this game is historically unoptimized.
From a gameplay perspective they have tossed out everything that made Super Meat Boy Super Meat Boy and completely redesigned the game... and that's fine. Just don't call it Super Meat Boy. And don't release a twich platformer with frame rate issues.