Game Review: Super Meat Boy (XBOX ONE)

Classic platform game …. hero gets beat up by bad guy….bad guy kidnaps the girlfriend… hero goes on endless quest to save her. But what if that hero was a hunk of meat???

Super Meat Boy is an intense platform game designed by independent developer Team Meat. The main objective of the game is to control a dark red, small cubed shaped heroic character named Meat Boy, who is on a quest to save his cubed shaped girlfriend Bandage Girl from the evil robotic scientist Dr. Fetus (who apparently hates everyone according to the opening credits). This game has a similar story to that of the Super Mario series, except played at a much more intense speed.

The game starts with an explosive cinematic video introducing the player to the main characters and the story of the game, leading to an explosive splash start screen of flashing lights and powerful music similar to that of a classic arcade game machine.

The game is broken down into chapters, which together contain over 300 levels. Like most games, each chapter has a short cinematic video hyping the player up for the journey ahead. In each level, the objective is to guide the slippery, fast moving Meat Boy through the level to reach Bandage Girl, who stands at the end of the level crying for help, while avoiding crumbling blocks, saw blades, salt and many other fatal obstacles that are in the way. Players have to use combinations of running, jumping, platforms, and even sliding up or down walls in order to navigate the level. Wherever Meat Boy touches, the surface will be coated with red meat juice, just to indicate where he was….cause that makes sense about a piece of meat sliding all over something right?

Because Meat Boy slides and essentially runs at a quick speed naturally, the game-play requires split second timing and quick strategical thinking.

Each time a level is played, a timer ticks away quickly in order to gauge how long it takes the player to finish the game. If a level is completed within a certain time frame, an A+ score is obtained (essentially acing the level).

A player has an unlimited amount of attempts to complete the level, as every time Meat Boy hits a hazard or dies, he simply just restarts the level. The only effect dying has on the game is that the timer for level completion keeps ticking away. The longer it takes to complete a level, the worse a score received.

The player only needs to complete a level once, and regardless of the score on the level, it will unlock the next in the chapter. A player has to play through a specific number of levels per chapter in order to unlock the Boss Level at the end of chapter. The Boss Level contains a single level with the task of defeating the boss character while avoiding hazards. Some of the tasks include; a race to a finish line or luring the Boss into a hazard. Unlike other levels, if Meat Boy dies, the level completely restarts (which can be annoying if the Boss was almost defeated). Once defeated, another cinematic clip plays and the next chapter is unlocked.

To add even more difficulty to the game, in specific levels there will sometimes be hidden portals that if you pass by will suck you into a Warp Zone hidden stage to play, or even randomly placed bandages which can be collected to unlock other characters to play with. The warp zone stages are designed to mimic the game style of old school games such as Castle Crashers or Bit Trip. The unlockable characters are ones integrated from other independent video games, such as Commander Video or Flywrench. Once unlocked, this character can be used instead of Meat Boy to play any of the levels. This can become very helpful, as each character has its own unique attributes to help pass the level, such as how Commander Video can float in midair for short bursts.

These portals and bandages are usually placed in a difficult place to access without quick thinking and fast button mashing. And if all of this wasn’t enough, only certain characters can complete certain portals…..geez!

In each chapter, for ever level there is a Light World and a Dark World version. The Light World is the common difficulty, while the Dark World is the same level but with 10x the speed and danger. Dark World levels are completely optional and do not affect story completion, but do add some more challenge and depth to the overall game. To unlock the Dark World, a player must score an A+ on the Light World version of the level. Any Achievement Obsessive gamers will definitely want to make sure to they unlock all of these levels *hint*.

Though this game originally came out late in 2010 on the XBOX360, it has since been re-formatted onto various other platform types and recently remastered to be played as a downloadable game on the XBOX ONE through Free Games with Gold using the backwards compatibility mode. It also includes the unlockable  Teh Internets, which is new official curated levels in the game.

This game perked my interest years ago  on the XBOX 360, but it wasn’t until I played it on the latest console with remastered graphics and sound that I became hooked. The game is fully designed to keep you energized and focused. The soundtrack alone, which sounds like Double Dragon meets heavy metal on fast forward, keeps your senses popping. The sound effects are loud and practically in your face. The graphical features of trails of blood following behind a wad of meat running through a hazard filled platform level, or even dripping salt piles threatening to touch Meat Boy keeps the game appealing to the eye. Also, the shear fact that you can’t just casually play the level, it literally requires your full attention as Meat Boy travels at a fast pace and so unless you want to be running into a lot of hazards, your button mashing skills need to be sharp. Though I can admit that on some of the more difficult levels, I got frustrated and took Meat Boy on an endless death run, constantly running him on purpose into the saw blades splat after splat.

I highly recommend downloading this game on whatever platform you have, because even though you may have heard this story before, you have never experienced anything like Super Meat Boy.

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