Super Meat Boy Is a Magical Gaming Adventure of Joy
The moment I read about Super Meat Boy, I was immediately interested in the game. The day it came out on Xbox Live Arcade (coming in November to PC and Wii) I bought it in a heartbeat. Here’s why I did, and you should too.
It’s a 2D platformer. Emphasis on the 2D. Recently a dying genre, the age of digital distribution and indie games has revitalized the scene. I do love a good 2D platformer; I was raised on the stuff. Super Meat Boy’s greatness comes from the astoundingly precise controls and level-design that requires use of this precision. The game’s controls are left, right, jump, and run. Your goal is to get from point A to point B and dodge the death-inducing objects along the way. You need nothing more. The levels (of which there are over 300) are amazing fun, and can reach mind-numbing difficulties. Our titular character, Meat Boy, is running and jumping (and wall jumping) around the level while dodging saw blades, piles of salt, needles, and more. It’s so much fun to blaze around a level skimming just pixels away from the hazards.
Ah, the hazards… Let me say this: You will die a lot. Super Meat Boy starts off as a challenging platformer, and the difficulty goes up from there (much like the plot of a parabola). However, unlike other games, no matter how many times I die, I have yet to rage-quit the game. I don’t care if I die; I’m having so much fun. I believe this stems from a few factors: First of all it’s so damn fun. Second, it doesn’t feel unfair.
You don’t die because of all-powerful AI. You die because you screwed up and missed your target. Lastly (and most influential I think), it’s because the levels are short. It’s not as if you were playing through a 30-minute level and then died at the end. These are under thirty-second runs, so you just get right back up and try again. Super Meat Boy’s difficulty is quite “hardcore” as the kids say. In the end, however, you will feel a pronounced sense of accomplishment when you finally beat that level that was eroding your soul.
The story is simple, and made me laugh out loud quite a few times. The concept is this (from supermeatboy.com): ”Super Meat Boy is a game where you play as a boy without skin whose girlfriend who is made of bandages gets kidnapped by a fetus in a tuxedo wearing a top hat and a monocle.” Do you really need to know more? Aesthetically, the game is quite the pleaser. The artwork is top-notch, everything is crisp and fluid (Looking disapprovingly at Sonic Team’s craptacular job on Sonic 4 Ep1 as I write this). The characters have a certain charm to them. The sound effects are funny and spot-on (I love hearing the meaty pitter-patter of Meat Boy’s feet as he runs.) The music is very well done and catchy; I found myself tapping my feet along with the beat on more than one occasion.
The game feels like the developers put a lot of soul into it, and it shows. It’s pure video game fun: simple and polished joy. This two-man team really created an instant classic with Super Meat Boy, and you need to buy it. Now.
Pro Tip: The game is on sale for $10 until November, after which it will go up to its regular price of $15.