Meat Boy has a storied history, starting as an Adobe Flash game in 2008, before Nintendo and Xbox approached developer Team Meat to make a game for their consoles. That game was indie smash hit Super Meat Boy, which launched first on Xbox Live in 2010. The developmental struggles of creators Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes are chronicled beautifully in Indie Game: The Movie, which I highly recommend.
Meat Boy has been beaten up and his girlfriend, Bandage Girl, has been abducted by Dr. Fetus; a fetus in a jar somehow wearing a suit and top hat. If it sounds ridiculous, it is. The premise is the work of absurdist comedic minds, and I really appreciate it for the silly thing it is. Now let’s move on to what you’re really here for…
Super Meat Boy is a classically-styled platformer, offering players simple controls, and demanding exacting precision in return. This would be a problem for most platformers, but Super Meat Boy has some of the tightest controls I have ever seen, so once players are used to the controls and the way Meat Boy responds to them, landing crazy jumps and complicated maneuvers becomes second nature.
Like many early platformers, the game is easy enough to learn but difficult to truly master. Finishing each level isn’t exceptionally hard, but players wanting to find every portal and bandage, and obtain every A+ ranking will have to really work to get them.
The game slowly introduces new hazards world after world, ramping up the difficulty at what was, for me, an incredibly satisfying pace. Players begin the game only worrying about stationary buzz-saws, but by the end, Meat Boy is dodging lasers, homing missiles, making obscene jumps across pits of lava; the list goes on and on.
Race Mode is a new addition for the Switch version, allowing players to race each other through sequential or randomized levels, which is a fantastic way to introduce players to the game who have never played it before.
Unfortunately, there are a few issues that hold this game back from perfection. While the game performance is silky smooth in handheld mode, I found that the right analog stick got in my way while trying to jump from time to time.
In platformers, I hold the run button (Y) with the tip of my thumb and rock the back of my thumb down to hit the jump button (B) whenever I need to. I developed this style playing SNES games as a kid, and it has served me well to this day, but the tight layout of the Switch Joy-Con controller doesn’t accommodate it very well.
GRAPHICS & SOUND
“Well Brian,” I hear you say, “Why don’t you play the game in docked mode and use that beautiful Pro controller you love so much?” Playing while the Switch is docked does alleviate the issue with the right analog stick, but revealed some minor frame issues. I began to notice the game would stutter slightly during the second boss encounter, and although I encountered the issue momentarily in a few other levels, it did not significantly impact my ability to play the game.
As these issues only occurred in docked mode, (and I wanted to keep watching Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee) I ended up playing the rest of the game in handheld mode, admiring the big, beautiful screen which makes playing in handheld mode a delight for most any Switch game.
The soundtrack is fun and peppy, and although I know many mourn the loss of the original Danny Baranowsky soundtrack (myself included), the Switch soundtrack is great in its own right, and serves the game well.
Super Meat Boy is fantastic, as it always has been. A few issues keep the Switch version from perfection, but it is still an essential game. If you haven’t played Super Meat Boy, you enjoy demanding platformers, or you want to play the game again on the go, you really owe it to yourself to pick it up.
Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Publisher – BlitWorks
Developer – Team Meat
Price – $14.99
Genre – Platformer, Action, Adventure
Size – 203MB
Brian Barnett has loved video games ever since his uncle Jimmy introduced him to them at the ripe old age of five. His wife, Audrey, was also introduced to video games by her uncle, lending credence to Brian’s theory that behind every gamer, there is a cool uncle.
Since playing Super Mario Bros. on the NES, Brian has had a passion for Nintendo games. The first thing he did when he started earning money was save up and buy himself a Game Boy, and they quickly became inseparable. Through the years, this led to his special love of portable game consoles, so the release of the Switch is the perfect storm of Nintendo action he has been waiting for.
In addition to his gaming obsession, Brian enjoys playing drums, writing and listening to music, and hosting a weekly video game and nerd culture podcast.
He is an extrovert, and loves talking about and playing games with others, so let him know if you want to team up and play together!
Plays: Switch, New 3DS, SNES, NES, GBA, PC, Xbox One, PS4, Vita