Categories: Xbox 360 Reviews, Xbox Live Arcade
Written By: Thomas Mullin
Trying to avoid the obvious meat related puns would be an entirely futile approach to reviewing the wonderfully delicious casserole that is Super Meat Boy. Instead we will embrace the meat and not beat it; we will savour each meaty morsel and regurgitate it for you to sample; believe us now though, it’s tasty.
Super Meat Boy is the tale of a block of meat, bandage girl and a foetus in a jar wearing a tuxedo; no you’re not reading it wrong. It’s a platform game in the classic style of 8-bit gaming with a little bit more thrown in for sweet seasoning. The premise is simple; Meat Boy must rescue Bandage Girl from the clutches of Dr Fetus. You may as well get the laughter out of your system now, because it may sound simple but the game is about as bonkers as a bag of monkeys playing with a bag of spanners.
By bouncing Meat Boy’s soggy carcass from platform to platform and off walls, he will be able to navigate the various platforms in each level, leaving a red trail everywhere he goes. Easy as pie? Not really, with each level there are more and more complex platform puzzles to perform and eventually, you will be bouncing to avoid buzz saws, mutated meat ‘boys’ and even trying to outrun a very brown and sticky poo. All of this is performed with two buttons and your choice of controls; analogue stick or D-pad.
Everything about Super Meat Boy pays homage to classic 8-bit games such as Mario and Zelda, with a handful of pop-culture references thrown in for good measure. Try to spot, or hear, the influence of The Terminator if you will. The wonderful chip set tunes are a fantastic background to this zany extravaganza, while the warp worlds are as close to 8-bit emulation you’ll ever see on an Xbox 360.
The way in which the worlds, in a very literal sense they are worlds with faces, are navigated is reminiscent of Super Mario Bros. 3, though each level can be tackled in any order. A bold move, but one that allows players to cool off from the frustration of being stuck on one level, bearing in mind this will happen, quite frequently. Once the levels are complete, get ready for a Boss Battle. We’ll say very little so as not to spoil the surprise, but each is a little puzzle in their own right. Enjoy!
As well as the ever present blood trail, every death, failure and mistake is documented. Every attempt played back simultaneously in the replay at the end of each level. The ability to save these replays is a nice touch, so you can show off your unmatched skills or the level of persistence that you hold on to with bruised and beaten thumbs.
As with so many classic platform games, timing is the key to everything, that and an abundance of patience. Bearing with the steep difficulty curves of Super Meat Boy is its own reward, as clearing that level that you thought had bested you is the greatest accomplishment in any game, more so in this case.
With a lovely retro feel, so many collectibles and a horde of bonus features, not to mention some extremely rock solid platforming, Super Meat Boy is a classic in its own right and already bears all the hallmarks of a cult classic. Buy this, or miss out on a true arcade gem, and if you ever see a member of the development team out and about, offer to buy them a pint; it’s that good.