The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
I probably died more times playing Super Meat Boy
than the combined deaths of every other video game I've played in my life. With
the exception of a few introductory areas, Super Meat Boy's 300-plus levels
refuse to handle the player with kid gloves. By the time you reach the final
world, you will die countless deaths if your aim isn't pixel perfect, or if
your timing is off by a millisecond. With most games this would be a recipe for
disaster, but SMB's flawless controls and lighthearted demeanor make this a
title tailor-made for gamers hungry for a challenge.
Super Meat Boy is a downloadable title that breathes
new life into a well-worn genre. The
gameplay will be instantly recognizable to platforming fans, and the bonus Warp
levels do such a good job of emulating NES and Gameboy visuals that they could
fool veteran gamers into thinking they're playing a decades-old title. Once you
scratch through the surface, you will find a number of innovations that make
Super Meat Boy wholly unique.
The controls offer an unexpected level of depth,
allowing you to propel yourself through the game's byzantine levels with a
stunning proficiency that would be impossible for Nintendo's Italian plumber.
Even if you master Meat Boy's moves, the game's collectibles unlock a large
supporting cast of playable characters (taken from other indie titles, such as
Tim from Braid and Commander Video from the Bit.Trip series), each with their
own mechanics and a special ability to perfect.
Even with this robust cast at your disposal, make no
mistake: Unless you are some kind of gaming savant, Super Meat Boy will become
too difficult for you at some point. Whether it's some of the devilishly placed
collectibles, the exponentially harder Dark World levels, or the punishing
bonus world, Team Meat has designed SMB to break all but the most devoted
players. Thankfully, SMB minimizes frustration; each level is forgivingly short
(rarely does a level take longer than 30 seconds to complete), respawning after
death is instantaneous (you restart a level so fast that the exploding carcass
from your last attempt will still be on the screen), and you have an infinite
number of lives on the main levels (some Warp levels have a limit, and are much
The game also sports a novel replay feature, which
displays not only your successful playthrough of a level, but also every
attempt and subsequent death simultaneously. This also makes dying a billion
times on a level easier to swallow, as watching the ensuing Meat Boy slaughter
is always entertaining.
I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a few meltdowns
while playing Super Meat Boy, but the entertaining storyline, detailing Meat
Boy's continual attempts to save Bandage Girl from the evil Dr. Fetus, cut my
frustration short with plenty of left-field chuckles. With a healthy dose of
patience, most gamers will be able to see the game through to its charming and
Even after you've hit your difficulty threshold,
the system for adding free new level packs based on the PC version's level
editor should offer plenty of extra entertainment. With Super Meat Boy's
cornucopia of offerings and irresistible charm, you'd be hard-pressed not to
get your money's worth out of this title.
Email the author Jeff Marchiafava, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.