riotbananas's Super Meat Boy (Xbox 360 Games Store) review

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Meet Meat Boy

Super Meat Boy hates you. It literally hates you. The game punishes you for purchasing it and that's actually a good thing. Super Meat Boy is a game that pushes you to the very edge of your sanity but you'll enjoy the torture. The game is being called "Masocore" by it's fans and developers.

Super Meat Boy is a run and jump game following the likes of N+ and I Wanna Be The Guy. You play as Meat Boy for the main part, with the emphasis of the 200 something levels being on saving the love interest Bandage Girl. Bandage Girl has been kidnapped by Dr. Fetus. If you're still with me, Dr. Fetus is essentially the Bowser to Meat Boy's Mario.

You'll spend most of your time running back and forth, wall jumping where necessary to reach Bandage Girl and you'll need to run, at one point I believed I wouldn't make it past the first level let alone the first world. This game is undeniably punishing and that's part of its charm.

Expect to see many homages to old games from the 16-bit era with special bonus levels called "Warp Zones". Many of these Warp Zones will introduce an extra character to use within the main levels. Such characters include Commander Video from Bit. Trip and The Kid from I Wanna Be The Guy. Each bonus character handles differently to Meat Boy, for example Commander Video can glide whilst Alien Hominid can shoot at the ground to slow his falls.

Super Meat Boy forces addiction from you, I often found myself saying "One more try" when stuck on particularly hard levels. When you do die though, it's never the game's fault. Meat Boy controls so tightly with a perfect balance of momentum and weightlessness in his jumps. The game is all about trial and error. You'll make plenty of errors and with no checkpoints of any sort, you may feel exhausted after 80+ deaths but you'll want to carry on.

I'll go as far to say that you'll never 100% Super Meat Boy, with over 100 levels and then a "Dark" version of each level, which you unlock for beating the par time for the normal level. The Dark levels are where you'll fail most, these levels are worse than anything else in the game for difficulty. They require precision movement, great timing and a lot of patience. Bandages are Super Meat Boy's collectible of choice, grab enough and you'll unlock more special characters. Be warned though, you'll usually sacrifice your record time to grab the bandage.

This game was developed by two people that knew exactly what they wanted and they made it happen. Super Meat Boy is truly a showcase for what an Xbox Live Arcade game can be and you should buy it right now. The game is on sale at 800MS points currently so what are you waiting for? Jump in and feel the pain. 

I originally wrote this on my blog.

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