Pain Indie Ass - Super Meat Boy
-POST 666 MOTHERFUCKERS!-
-FIRST EcchiDreams REVIEW-
So far I have manged to finish (though not yet complete) only the Forest Chapter, which is only the first of seven, so this is by no means a complete review. For the most part, I will be looking at the gameplay, art, level design, replayability, and anything else that may come to mind as I'm writing this review.
Super Meat Boy is an infuriatingly difficult/die-a-lot indie platformer developed by Team Meat. This game is definitely a challenge, though a great time waster. At least, it challenged me. I've seen someone speed run the entire main game in under two hours (for those interested, I may link the aforementioned speed run). I've been playing it for five times that and am not even close to finishing. In fact, some perspective. In two hours, I had only managed to beat nineteen out of twenty levels in the first chapter, though ten of those were A+, and I unlocked two of the extra characters.
I've had this game since Christmas Day 2014, when I got it on Winter Sale for a mere fifty-four pence. Well, when I say I got it, I mean it was bought for me by a sibling, but nevertheless I have owned it since then. In my ten hours of gameplay, it has inspired more than a few rage quits, but mostly it's just made me want to try harder, over and over. In my view, it definitely suffers from Minecrafts "one more block" addiction, despite the rage it often induces.
Where to begin? SMB has quite basic graphics, in an almost minimalist style. It reminds me a little of screen printing, perhaps a slightly pop art vibe, where everything is rendered in as few colours as possible while still maintaining detail. It takes only a glance to say "that is a tree", "that is a rock", "that is a rabbit". Due to a lesser focus on "make the game look as realistic as possible", a nice balance was struck between pretty graphics and not distracting from the game play, where sometimes in a game like Skyrim or Fallout you may get sidetracked by sightseeing.
Levels vary in size, as with most games. Some fit on a single screen while others are either taller, wider, or both. The advantage to smaller levels is a clear objective, as well as less in the way to kill you. Usually. Even in some of the small levels I died. A lot.
Nevertheless, the level design is fairly linear A-B, or A-B(for key/button)-C. Some do involve backtracking, though, in an A-B-A, or even more than that sometimes. The only time you really have to go out of your way is to get bandages (used to unlock characters) and portals(often the same), but even then sometimes you can get bandages in a straight run.
There are few enemies, as such, with most hazards being environmental or objects, but there are some that follow your character, and pretty much everything can kill you.
I had found a bug, though I do not know if it is still present, in which you can sometimes clip through certain walls if you're running. I don't know if this is level design, a bug elsewhere, or even something deliberately put in to fuck with players. From how difficult the game is in general, I wouldn't put that one past the devs.
I'll get this out of the way: You can play with a keyboard or a gamepad, at least last time I played it. I got used to playing it with the keyboard, which is usually my preference anyway, though I did try it with the gamepad a few times. Whatever you use is up to you.
Gameplay is fairly basic, in a fun-but-infuriating kind of way. Run, jump, and (try not to) die your way to Bandage Girl, the damsel-in-distress du jour. There are plenty of things trying to stop you, just for the fun of it. You have to compete with circular saws, crumbling blocks, projectile saw blades, salt, the edges of the screen, and the list goes on.
If you're lucky enough to finish the level with an A+ grade (by beating the level in under a certain time), you unlock the Dark World counterpart to that level. While I won't go into it too much, these are basically more difficult versions of the original level, in one way or another.
I don't know that I'd really say this game is replayable. Certainly it encourages you to A+ the levels and collect the bandages (at least if you're a completionist), which may require more than one playthrough of the levels. Some of them, for example, you cannot A+ and collect the bandage in the same run. Others, it's just hard to A+ on your first try.
You'll get plenty of gameplay out of it, but more than replay it's a game that may make you rage but still somehow draw you back. I would probably play it more than once, and anyone looking at speed running it would have to to get used to the game, work out optimal routes, and so on.
You May Like This Game If:
You enjoy platformers.
You enjoy difficult games.
You like watching player characters die excessively.
You want to watch someone else suffer, for personal amusement.
I like everything about this game. It's infuriating and makes me hate it, but the same infuriation is what drags you back and drives you to work harder. I would definitely recommend this game. To pretty much anyone. Especially for "Why would you recommend this game to me you asshole?" comments. As for a score, which is pretty customary on these things, out of five, I would give Super Meat Boy four and a half.
Give or take.
Hey, it's the highest score I've given a game so far. xD