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Meat Boy is nothing more than blood and guts, and he’s certainly not shy about showing it. On his quest to rescue Bandage Girl from the evil Dr. Fetus, he’ll be sawed apart, crushed, blown up with missiles, eaten, burnt to a crisp, melted, and impaled.
Fortunately for him, it’s apparently pretty easy to put yourself back together when you don’t have any skin. Every time he dies in the hyper-difficult 2D platformer--originally released on Xbox Live Arcade in 2010--he’s reconstituted at the beginning of the level without delay, ready for another attempt.
Meet C.H.A.D., one of the game’s bosses. Nice smile, C.H.A.D.
That immediate recovery from death is really the core of the Super Meat Boy experience. You will be killed while trying to make it to your goal—a lot. On some of the harder levels, it’s not rare for the death count to reach the triple digits and beyond. Any graze with an object that could potentially be seen as dangerous generally means a death sentence for Meat Boy.
Any game can be difficult, but what’s remarkable about Super Meat Boy is that it never feels like it’s cheating you. Each time you fail to complete a level, you’ll know exactly why. The platforming controls are without peer in their precision, and the level design is pitch perfect in its ability to walk the line between being gamepad-chucking frustrating and immensely rewarding upon success. And with the instant respawn time, the desire to try that level just one more time never quits nagging.
Dozens of spinning blades to navigate around? No problem!
When pulled off perfectly, most of the levels in Super Meat Boy can be completed in 30 seconds or less. But even if you’re the greatest platformer player of all time, the sheer number of stages will keep you going for a very, very long time. With over 150 levels--plus tougher Dark World variants that are unlocked when levels are completed under a goal time--the main game has more than enough content to keep you playing for ages. But add in the free user-generated levels and collections that are constantly being uploaded, and there’s an absolutely ridiculous amount of death defying to do.
The bottom line. It may not look like much with its simple, retro-style graphics, but Super Meat Boy is one of the finest 2D platformers of all time.
Super Meat Boy
Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM, ATI Radeon 2600 or better
ESRB Rating: Teen
Super precise controls. Fantastic level design. Hundreds of built-in levels, plus thousands of user-generated ones.
May be too difficult for casual players. Less enjoyable sans gamepad.