Super Meat Boy is a the creme de la creme of 2D challenging platformers. It stands out head and shoulders above the rest. It has a beautiful art style, cut scenes parodying old Nintendo games and a simple plot. A villain has taken Bandage Girl and you as Super Meat Boy must reach her at the end of every single level. When you get to her she gets whisked away time and time again. The 7 ‘chapters’ each have around 20 levels that can get completed in 30 seconds or less. The real challenge here is that most everything causes instant death. Spikes, grinders, guns and pits. With each death, you respawn at the start with no load time. This keeps you in the game. Every chapter has its own theme including a forest, a hospital, a salt factory and even Hell itself. At the end of every level is a new and unique boss fight that usually consists of a race.
Even if people have branded it a difficult game, you will eventually get through the game with enough practice. Since there are no lives and you just respawn, there is no consequence. While completing a level just leads to the next level, there is an easy to use map so you can go back and replay areas. On top of that, for every ‘grade A’ (under par time) that you get for a level, you can play its dark world counterpart making levels tougher. In all around 300 levels.
Each level has their own gimmicks. Platform riding, touch bricks that dissolve, raising lava, shooting saw blades, conveyer belts and so on. Some levels even have keys that when touched they remove lock blocks automatically. There is a lot of variety here. The game ratchets up up the creativity with portals. Since Meat Boy is one block tall, he can fit most anywhere. Some levels have winding paths through factories. Others are broad jumps between conveyer belts that launch him into the area. There are warp zones to find in levels that will send you to far more difficult levels. All with simple controls.
As a square of meat, the controls are simple, left, right, jump and run. You can even jump off walls and slide down them. Sometimes your wall jump will slide you up from momentum. Other than that the game isn’t slippery like other 2D platformers. Meat Boy can stop on a dime. Holding run and jump can fly you across the screen to where you need to be. The Steam version has plenty of unlockable characters from collecting band-aids in certain levels. You’ll also get to play as other characters that have different abilities. At the end of each level you’re treated to seeing all your failed attempts playing all at once.
There’s not much to say about the game. Its charm, art and music make it more desirable to play than the average 2D challenging platformer. Super Meat Boy has a lot of content for your money, complete with a level designer to unlock. So many people like something that makes them throw their controllers.