Super Meat Boy is like Guitar Hero on expert, it looks insane, fun, and difficult, but it is not for everyone. Easily one of the hardest arcade games I have played and the most frustrating of them all. The hardcore classic arcade game fans will love the challenge, but people who have been fans of Mario since Nintendo came out will feel like amateurs stepping into Super Meat Boy’s world.
UPDATE: To celebrate the release of the game they will be selling the title for 800 points rather than the original 1200 as an early Christmas gift. Good call on their part and will surely lead to more sales.
The gameplay is as simple as any. The A button will make you jump, you move with the left thumbstick, and left trigger or the X button does a sprint ability (depending on the character you select).
You will use these simple controls to guide through levels that are built to challenge players and hurt your right thumb from the constant jumping (I am not kidding my thumb is actually tender and hurts). With each level increasing in difficulty you can collect bandages and find hidden vortex’s that help you unlock new characters that you can switch to at will in hopes that their special ability will give you an advantage on certain levels.
These vortex levels tend to be a parody of old games. One of the first ones being of Mario itself, especially with the games initials being SMB (Super Mario Brothers) it was only right. They even make it where you are forced to beat the level with three lives or its game over. Then when you complete it you are greeted with the message “Thank you for your help, but the princess is in another castle!”
Although I thought those were pretty cool for the most part I just felt so frustrated and angry at the game at points that I almost broke my controller. It wasn’t because of the difficulty of the levels it was more about the actual gameplay of your character. For example you can make Meat Boy slide up walls and jump from wall to wall but sometimes you can not predict exactly how you will fly off the wall leading you to jump into spikes or screw up your progress on levels. It might just be me but I don’t like losing missions because of something I can’t control hence why it made me more frustrated.
Also worth noting is that the way you hit the A button to jump will affect distance and such so short tap will be a hop and a hard press will be a long jump. At times though it felt like there was middle area that if you hit it too light or not hard enough you got this weird half jump that left me dying often.
I am on the last section of the first half of the game which is titled “Hell” as the area of the story I am in and I have died over 1000 times (check my stats!) I wouldn’t have stopped playing but I value the life of my Xbox and I wanted to smash my head into the wall.
The menu is very basic to the point where it is too basic. If you look in the help and options section you have the controller layout and tells you the three buttons but after that you have to play the first few missions to get an idea of what to do but they do not use any words. It is a thought bubble that appears and has it animating pushing the thumbstick in directions and buttons being pressed.
I hate tutorials but a game like this felt like it needed some additional instructions or at least some text.
The graphics are a little less than average but people shouldn’t be looking for Unreal Engine graphics from a side scrolling arcade game. I do enjoy the explosive meat effects when I would get hit by sawblades or when I chose the Commander character I would explode in a corny old school rainbow pixel animation.
The audio was easily the strongest part of the game. Whoever was responsible for it did a great job, you could tell they were going for the classic arcade feel. It reminded me of a more intense version of the Pokemon music which owned my childhood.
The most impressive part though was that it wasn’t just a generic song for each level, you could actually hear a huge difference in the mood of the music at parts.
I do not see a lot of replay value in this game except for people who get stuck and give up and then hop onto to try again at a later time. Other than that only the best players of this game will try and get faster times and go for the extremely hard achievements.
This game is 1200 Microsoft Points which is $15, I do not see that much gameplay value for that amount of money. Especially when a game like Comic Jumper is out for the same price and it has a much more in-depth experience that usually comes with a $15 price tag.
A copy of Super Meat Boy for the Xbox 360 was provided to us for this review from Team Meat.