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1. Posted: Fri 15th Oct 2010 08:26 BST
Review by: Corbie Dillard
A game with a lot of Meat on its bone!
For anyone that's followed the independent gaming scene over the years, you know all too well how much talent and creativity many of these games feature. And now with digital download services like Nintendo's WiiWare and Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade, many of these indie developers are finally getting the chance to shine and offer up their wares to console owners around the world. One such developer, Team Meat, have taken the basic idea behind their insanely popular flash game Meat Boy and created a completely new and absolutely diabolical platforming experience for the Xbox Live Arcade service.
Super Meat Boy subscribes to the old-school principle that platforming should be quick, intense, and brutally challenging and that's exactly what you'll get during each and every level of the game. The evil Dr. Fetus has kidnapped your lady love Bandgage Girl and it's up to you to rescue her. In each level you'll have to platform your way to the location where Dr. Fetus is holding your sweetheart and it's not going to be easy. Along the way you'll have to run, duck, and jump over everything from fiery pits to spinning saw blades and everything in between. Of course there are a host of other challenges too like homing missiles, flowing channels of salt, and enough moving platforms to challenge even the most ardent of platformer fans.
There are basically five worlds in the game, each with 20 Light World levels and 20 Dark World levels. As you can probably guess, the Light World is the regular and more tame levels and the Dark World is where you'll find the expert levels. You'll have to score an A+ ranking by finishing the Light World level under the specified par time in order to unlock its Dark World counterpart and this is generally easier said than done. Of course merely completing the levels is only the tip of the iceberg as there are a host of other activities to keep you coming back for more.
To make things more interesting, certain levels will have a bandage craftily placed that you must pick up and finish the level with. Collecting these will allow you to unlock a host of hidden indie game characters that can then be used to play the regular levels in the game. Each of these characters offer their own set of pros and cons, so some are obviously more useful than others. There are also a host of warp zones hidden in various locations that will take you to groups of classically-themed levels ranging from 8 and 16-bit worlds to even monochromatic Game Boy-style areas. Not only are these levels visually and musically authentic to the era of game system they represent, they also tend to resemble levels from games of those eras as well, which even further propagates the sense of nostalgia.
There's no denying that Super Meat Boy contains some of the most challenging platforming ever seen in a video game and you're going to spend a lot of your time getting chopped up and blown to bits throughout the game's many levels. And given the game's absolutely spot-on play controls, you'll always be comforted to know that each time you die it's from your own doing. Given the staggering number of regular and hidden levels, not to mention warp zones and boss fights, you'll never be at a loss for things to do throughout your adventure and you'll likely find yourself coming back to the game time and time again, if only to see if you can outdo your best finishing times and move up on the game's online leader boards.
Let's face it, when it comes to platformers, play controls are where the game generally makes or breaks it and Super Meat Boy comes through with flying colors. Not only are the controls perfectly smooth and responsive, they offer enough freedom of movement and maneuverability to offer up an almost limitless array of gameplay mechanics. And you're going to need each and every one of them if you're going to get through these insane levels. Of course, even with the game's fairly brutal level of difficulty in many places, there are still quite a few areas that should prove to be manageable enough for gamers of even average skill sets. Just keep in mind that if you have any hopes of actually beating this insane adventure, you're gonna have to bring your "A" game.
While Super Meat Boy might look a bit flat in screenshots, it's really the type of game you have to see in motion to fully appreciate. Sure the game uses a lot of rather basic artwork designs, but once you see it all put together and with the many special effects the game makes use of, only then will you begin to fully marvel at what the developers were able to accomplish. Each area has its own unique look and feel, and there's always a nice level of detail to be found, both in the foreground and backgrounds of the many levels you'll visit. And if you thought the levels themselves were nice to look at, wait until you get a load of some of the mammoth bosses you'll be tackling at the end of each area. Not only are they extremely well constructed, the also move around rather fluidly, especially given their sheer size. It's clear the developers put a lot of time and care into the visual package of the game and it pays off big in the finished product.
As great as every facet of Super Meat Boy ultimately is, the one thing you'll likely come away from the game with more than anything else will be the seemingly endless musical tracks that will be permanently embedded into your brain. Not only is there a huge array of variety between the various styles and tempos of music you'll be listening to, the compositions themselves are insanely catchy as well. You can pretty much guarantee that you'll catch yourself humming these tunes long after you've put the controller down and gone on to something else. Of course since this is a Meat Boy game, you're going to get a hefty dose of splatting meat and buzz saw sound effects to go along with your soundtrack, not to mention a superb voice announcer that will loudly announce to the world each time you hit a warp zone.
It goes without saying that Super Meat Boy has to be one of the most brutally challenging platformers ever created by human hands. There are very few levels that won't leave you shouting profanity at your television or tossing your controller down in frustration. But as difficult as the game is, it's got the spot on play controls to carry the experience and enough content to keep you coming back long after the credits have rolled. Video games come and go, but every so often one comes along that reminds us why we love to play video games in the first place and there's no better example of this than Super Meat Boy. It's safe to say that Microsoft can officially close down the Xbox Live Arcade because nothing is likely to outdo this absolute gem of a platformer.
Edited on Fri 15th October, 2010 @ 09:19 by Corbs
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2. Posted: Fri 15th Oct 2010 08:39 BST
Holy Crap, I can't believe that you got to play and review Super Meat Boy already! I'm sooo jealous! Awesome review man! I was considering passing on this game due to the price but your review has convinced me to give it a shot. It sound fantastic! It comes out this Wednesday, right Corbie?
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3. Posted: Fri 15th Oct 2010 08:52 BST
Right, October 20th. This is probably the greatest video game I've ever played, and I thoroughly mean that. It was absolutely amazing and it's one of the most content-rich games I think I've ever seen. Great bang for the buck. If you're even remotely a platformer fan, GET IT!
4. Posted: Fri 15th Oct 2010 09:14 BST
Nice review Corbie. Really looking forward to this game coming out. Playing as Commander Video would be cool too.
Is it coming out on the PSN as well?
5. Posted: Fri 15th Oct 2010 09:18 BST
No, the game will not be coming to PSN. Just XBLA, WiiWare, and PC/Mac via Steam.
6. Posted: Fri 15th Oct 2010 09:26 BST
Nice controller btw Corbs.
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7. Posted: Fri 15th Oct 2010 09:28 BST
I remember reading that Team Meat will also be releasing free DLC for this game as well. I think it is supposed to be new levels or something of that nature. Have you heard anything about that Corb?
8. Posted: Fri 15th Oct 2010 09:38 BST
gah, fetus isn't a word D: it's foetus
Anyway, this game looks EPIC.
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9. Posted: Fri 15th Oct 2010 10:48 BST
Yes that is called Teh Internetz and there will be additional levels released down the line for free. The gift that keeps on giving!
10. Posted: Fri 15th Oct 2010 11:21 BST
I'm still gonna play the demo first. The original Meat Boy had terrible controls, and other than that it was a pretty average, albeit disgusting indie platformer. Not that I think this'll be the same game, but my history with the first requires that I be cautious with any game that dares to make a boy out of meat.
Edited on Fri 15th October, 2010 @ 11:22 by CanisWolfred
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11. Posted: Fri 15th Oct 2010 11:46 BST
GAH why must it come on XBLA first?! D: Wait, I knew it looked really good, but.... THE GREATEST GAME YOU'VE EVER PLAVED!?!??!?!?!? Holy crap, I seriously want this.
Do you know if the WW version has online leaderboards too? Also, aside from graphics (and possiblly online leaderboards) is there anything that will set the WW version back from the XBLA version? Not that I have the option, but I'm just curious.
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12. Posted: Fri 15th Oct 2010 12:03 BST
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13. Posted: Fri 15th Oct 2010 13:04 BST
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14. Posted: Fri 15th Oct 2010 13:31 BST
Guess I'll just have to wait for the WW version. Boo.
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15. Posted: Fri 15th Oct 2010 13:51 BST
Zach Kaplan wrote:
Bobpie wrote:gah, fetus isn't a word D: it's foetusAmerican spelling.
i'm pretty sure he was just bellyaching for the fun of it. :3
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16. Posted: Fri 15th Oct 2010 14:30 BST
I bet Corbie's gonna copy and paste this into his Wiiware review
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17. Posted: Fri 15th Oct 2010 15:42 BST
@Corbie.... great review, very unexpected find for today. Looks like WiiWare will finally get another purchase from myself
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18. Posted: Fri 15th Oct 2010 15:46 BST
I've been keeping an eye on this one for some time. Corbie's review just jumped this to a day one XBLA purchase for me!
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19. Posted: Fri 15th Oct 2010 19:01 BST
Perhaps it wasn't the controls Mickeymac.
20. Posted: Fri 15th Oct 2010 19:41 BST
Sounds great! Maybe I'll get it on Steam.