Super Meat Boy Forever
One of the nice things about being entirely independent is you can work on whatever you want whenever you want and Team Meat, comprised of Tommy Refenes and Edmund McMillen, are taking full advantage of that status to finish up the mobile version of Super Meat Boy. Team Meat’s other ongoing project, Mew-Genics, has been placed on hold while the duo works on Super Meat Boy Forever – a version of Super Meat Boy built from the ground up for release on mobile and tablet devices.
You don’t control the direction of Meat Boy in Forever – he moves on his own. The right side of the screen is the jump action, while the left side the screen is a fast fall button or duck/slide action. You may lose the ability to control Meat Boy’s left an right movement, but the new fast fall option gives you the ability to aim for tiny platforms and dodge the ever-present saw blades positioned throughout the levels.
The stages are different than traditional Super Meat Boy levels. Instead of being straightforward with a beginning middle end, each level is a collection of sections that are randomly generated on each playthrough. At first, I did not like the randomized levels. I missed the rhythms and familiarity of mastering a level, memorizing each area and jump. I warmed up to the new mechanic though, as I played through a level and began to recognize the repeating sections. I didn’t necessarily memorize the level, but I did learn to recognize which sections required which jumping tactics. Refenes said he and McMillen did this because they wanted to do something different for the new platform. To do otherwise would just be a repeat of Super Meat Boy.
I eventually made my way through level 1-1 after many deaths, which was no small feat Refenes assured me. They made the PAX build intentionally difficult in order to prevent people from lingering on the demo stations for too long. By making the game exceptionally hard, people would give up faster affording more people in line the opportunity to play.
One thing missing from the PAX demo is the showcase of death that appeared at the end of each level in Super Meat Boy – a memorable and integral reward from completing each level. Though the PAX build of Forever did not have anything like that in place, Refenes says there will be something. “It will be the worst, best thing ever” Refenes hinted, following up saying, “It’s a competitive thing,” but he wouldn’t offer any more than that.
With Mew-Genics on hold, Rediculon, the group making that game’s music, have shifted their focus to create a soundtrack for Super Meat Boy Forever. With Rediculon’s involvement with the music, that means that Danny Baranowsky – who created the soundtrack for Super Meat Boy and many other games – won’t be reprising his role. As a result, the music is different and less electronic. I was only able to hear a little bit of the music and it was diminished by the excessive noise of the PAX show floor, but I heard real guitar and real drums as opposed to the totally electronic soundtrack of the original game. While it may have sounded different, it definitely retained the speed and intensity necessary for Super Meat Boy. I also heard one track that sounded like a subtle remix of a familiar Super Meat Boy track.
Refenes says the game will be done when it’s done unable to offer even a window for release. He did say, however, it will release before Mew-Genics. This is the project Team Meat is focused on right now, and it won’t be returning to Mew-Genics until it’s done. Refenes also says when the game does release it will release on all planned platforms – iOS and Android devices and Steam – simultaneously. Refenes doesn’t like the early access trend saying he doesn’t want feedback on an incomplete game and he likes releasing a game when it is complete.
Super Meat Boy Forever distinguishes itself from its predecessor in many ways. Randomized levels, a new soundtrack, and whatever best/worst thing ever is planned for completing each level certainly make it different, but it feels like a Super Meat Boy game, and playing it with a touchscreen in no way hindered the experience. It’s an impressive feat to bring a difficult, accuracy-required platformer to a touch-screen platform, and my time with the game makes me optimistic it will live up to the high standards established by Super Meat Boy.