First Impressions: Super Meat Boy

We take Team Meat's upcoming platformer for a spin.

The guys over at Team Meat were kind enough to send over a preview build of their upcoming PC/WiiWare title Super Meat Boy yesterday and we've spent the past few hours putting it through its paces and snapping a few screenshots in the process.

The guys at Team Meat did want us to make sure and remind readers that this is a beta version of the game and some things might change between now and the actual release of the game, so keep that in mind when you read through our impressions of the game. So without further ado, let's get to it.

After a very short introduction to the world of Meat Boy, you'll be taken to the main map. For this particular beta, only the first world, The Forest, is unlocked. Upon choosing this world you're then taken to the level map where you can see which levels are locked and which ones have already been unlocked. Once you've unlocked a specific level, you can always return to it at any time from this map screen. This is useful for going back and trying to locate hidden warps or achieve better finish times on any particular levels.

Anyone that's played the original Meat Boy flash game will know what to expect from the game as it plays very similarly, although the controls are a bit smoother and you have access to a run button this time around. Your goal in each level is to reach Bandage Girl, who's located somewhere around each level. Of course to do that you're going to have to navigate the many platforms in each level, avoiding dangers such as fiery pits and buzz saws along the way.

You'll also want to try to finish the level as quickly as possible in order to achieve a par time. Getting a par time in a level will unlock a corresponding hidden level in the Dark World, so it's good incentive to keep going back to get a better time. You'll also have to keep your eyes peeled for warps hidden around various levels. These will take you to a set of special 8-bit inspirited levels for you to take on. These levels have a very retro look and feel to them and are a great diversion from the regular Super Meat Boy levels. But you'll have to hurry, as these warps only stay active for the first 13 seconds of the level they're featured in and then they disappear.

You'll even occasionally locate a special warp that will unlock a hidden character from time to time, like Commander Video in this first world. You'll then get to play a set of Bit.Trip-themed levels using Commander Video himself. It's a really nice touch to the game and adds yet another layer of variety to the experience. And with the promise of many more unlockable indie characters hidden throughout the game, there should be plenty of incentive to stick with the levels in order to locate these special warps.

The visual style of the game is really unique and unlike anything you've likely seen on the WiiWare service before. The backdrops are almost abstract in their construction and give a nice new look to the game. Even the characters themselves have a really imaginative feel to them with their 3D designs and unique facial and body expressions.

Of course a great set of visuals needs a rocking Meat Boy soundtrack to go along with it and Super Meat Boy does not disappoint in that department. Many of the classic tunes have been reworked for this release and they sound as phenomenal as ever. You'll even get to hear some really cool 8-bit versions of the same tunes when you go into the retro warp levels. It's little touches like this that give the game so much charm and personality.

If you're a Meat Boy fan and were even the slightest bit worried about this new PC/WiiWare release, you can put your worries to rest now. Team Meat have somehow captured all of the addictive charm of the original flash release and added absolutely tons of new features and gameplay ideas to the mix. Couple that with a much more fluid and responsive set of play controls and you have a game no Meat Boy fan should miss. Heck no platformer fan in general should miss this unique title when it hits the Steam and WiiWare services next year. There's no doubt this game has the potential to be a huge hit for the service when it makes its debut and we'll be anxiously awaiting our next dose of Super Meat Boy goodness.

We would like to take a moment to thank Tommy and Edmund over at Team Meat for always keeping us up-to-date on any new Super Meat Boy news and for allowing us the opportunity to take this beta version of Super Meat Boy for a spin. They've promised us more beta goodness in the coming months, so we'll likely have more impressions to go along with them.