Super Meat Boy – Different Day, Same Fantastic Game

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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.

STORY

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…

I hope you like buzz-saws, because this game has them by the truckload.

GAMEPLAY

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.

Watching every attempt you made during the replay is incredibly satisfying.

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.

Race Mode is a great time, and a clever way to introduce friends to the glory of Super Meat Boy.

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.

Like much of the internet, this level is full of salt! Don’t touch the sides!

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.

Fans are a ton of fun. Get ready for high-flying adventure, you meaty boy you!

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.

CONCLUSION

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

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