Publisher: Team Meat
Developer: Team Meat
by: Tally "xelissa" Callahan
Super Meat Boy has a familiar story: Meat Boy’s girlfriend, Bandage Girl, has been kidnapped by the nefarious Dr. Fetus. In order to rescue her he must navigate countless levels fraught with fatal traps. Super Meat Boy is a glorified classic platformer with a nice dose of humor mixed in. And let’s not forget the gross factor - our hero leaves behind trails of blood as he squishes and slips through the levels.
The basic levels are divided into chapters for the single-player story. You can skip around within the chapters (very useful if you just get too frustrated with a certain level), but a certain amount of levels must be completed to unlock the boss level. After completing the boss level the next chapter is unlocked. In addition to the normal story levels, you can also unlock warp zones. Warp zones are found within the normal levels; upon running over the warp gate, you enter a retro universe with a different set of rules from normal Meat Boy gameplay (for example, I played one warp zone that granted Meat Boy Kirby-like abilities which he had to use to navigate hallways of spikes).
As far as specific gameplay goes, Meat Boy can wall-jump (from wall-to-wall, or up the same wall), sprint, and even change direction mid-air (not completely, but you can, and often must, guide his path while in the air). Some levels also contain collectible bandages which go towards unlocking alternate characters - but be warned, you must collect the bandage AND complete the level on the same life for the bandage to stick (get it, “stick?!”), so no suicide runs for the bandage with the intention of completing the level on the next try. Upon level completion, you are awarded a grade and you can watch the replay mode which displays your past attempts of the level simultaneously. Always good for a laugh as you watch the demise of Meat Boys of the past.
Super Meat Boy is a very challenging game, and with difficulty always comes the possibility of frustration; however, it also has that dangerous addictive pull to it as well (“just one more level...”) which often pushes you past that frustration. It comes packed with an impressive amount of gameplay (over 300 levels), as well as potential replay value (you can go back to collect bandages, unlock warp zones, or get A-grades), which in my opinion makes it well-worth the price tag. I would call it a must-have for any platformer fan, especially one who has fond nostalgia for the classics.