Super Meat Boy Boy Review: Grade A Masochism

Let me ask you a simple question, can you somehow derive some sort of sick pleasure from dying over and over again, constantly throwing your adorable little Meat Boy into a grinder cursing your television, the developers Team Meat and their mothers for making such a difficult game just for the glimmer of hope that you might make it to the end by some dumb luck? If no, then run don’t walk away from Super Meat Boy this is not the kind of game for the faint of heart, you will get pissed off, you will probably throw your controller and you will hate the game because (honestly) you suck. However if you are someone like me who can not only tolerate but thrive on the difficulty, someone who will get pissed at the game but become even more pissed at yourself for not being good enough, then let me tell you that Super Meat Boy will do far more than scratch your ever present itch fellow masochore gamer. You may think that ‘Splosion Man, Trials HD, and N+ were hard but they pale in comparison to the late game levels, boss fights and downloadable content that Super Meat Boy offers.

Watch your own murder dozens of times, all at once.

By no means is Super Meat Boy difficult because it is unfair, the levels are all designed to push you to the brink of your platforming ability and I rarely felt it was the fault of the game instead of myself when I died. Most of the challenge comes from the enviroments themselves obstacles such a fans and gravity projectors require a certain finesse to get you exactly where you need to be. The platforming itself doesn’t really do anything that unique other than the extreme responsiveness and trail of blood stains left by Meat Boy indicating what surfaces you have been on in a level. It’s a nifty feature that can help a bit with attempting to find the right path to get to a level and the addition of the replay mode showing every run you’ve made on a stage simaltaneously is definitely something worth seeing. Also worth checking out are not only the great cutscenes that clearly have that Newgrounds feel but also the often controller snappingly difficult boss fights that follow them. They range from being chased down by a giant chainsaw, racing a Meat Boy shaped turd, and one of the toughest pattern recognition fights I’ve faced in a very long time.

Do not adjust your set, you've gone back to the Game Boy era.

Unlike something like Scott Pilgrim which I believe constantly references video games just so that it can reference them, Team Meat has found a way to do it well without becoming annoying. From the Street Fighter 2 inspired opening of the first world to the excellent handheld style levels you find in the warp zones the game oozes retro charm without being overly in your face about it, and manages to make it entertaining. Now normally I don’t care for chiptunes and the like but having the music constantly playing instead of resetting when you die really helped it grow on me. I actually wouldn’t mind having some of the soundtrack on my mp3 player and from me that’s saying something, a big shout out to you World 4! The music also gets downgraded according to whatever the era is in each warp zone, the Game Gear era one really struck a chord with me bringing me back to my days of playing Sonic 2 on that battery sucking behemoth.

Tim as imagined by Team Meat

I can't wait to throw Tim into the firey pits of Hell over and over again.

As a value proposition you really can’t do much better on any downloadable service than Super Meat Boy, not only do you get the 150 levels of the main campaign but after you beat the par time on each one you unlock the special Dark world versions. Each has been diabolically remixed often adding various mechanisms of death where there was once valuable space to rest often making me wonder how much further they can push the difficulty until the game is unplayable. Also by collecting the various bandages that are hidden throughout various Light & Dark levels and beating certain warp stages you unlock characters from a plethora of indie games such as N from N+, Commander Video from the Bit.Trip series, Tim of Braid and of course the Alien Hominid. Each character has a unique ability that can help you out on a particularly tricky part of a level and you can easily switch in game. Meat Boy slipping down walls to fast for you to figure out a jump? Just switch to Gish from the pause menu and stick to the wall for however long you need. Finally through the aforementioned magic of live updates (much like Monday Night Combat) Team Meat is able to bypass Microsoft’s slow certification process and content pricing rules and provide free levels through an unlockable world appropriately titled “Teh Internet”.

In conclusion I highly recommend that you buy this game if you think this caliber of difficulty is something that you can handle, otherwise you will end up giving up on it before you’ll be able to see much of what makes it so great. I honestly didn’t think it was possible but Super Meat Boy has taken the crown from Trials HD for my favorite masochore game.

I played the XBLA version of Super Meat Boy which is available for $10 until Nov. 21. Wii and PC versions will arrive in several months with unique content for each platform.

About Dalton Prather

Dalton Prather is the Reviews Editor and PR Manager for R&R. His love for nonsense, especially SWERY and Deadly Premonition knows no bounds.