Super Meat Boy Forever
It's been seven years since the initial launch of Super Meat Boy, and while we've been treated to multiple releases of that critically acclaimed game across myriad platforms, the evil geniuses at Team Meat have finally resurfaced the true sequel to its 2010 smash hit. Super Meat Boy Forever has reappeared thanks to Nintendo's Indie Showcase, and I had a chance to play the sequel to one of last generation's fantastic indie surprises.
Rather than just giving fans more of Super Meat Boy, Team Meat has reworked much of how the game works. The auto-running Super Meat Boy Forever strips the titular character and Bandage Girl of their ability to retain control after they leave the ground, but the developers make up for it by granting them some offensive moves and new traversal maneuvers. Now, Meat Boy can punch, slide, and even dive-kick through these worlds, giving him new ways to tackle the challenges before him (as well as giving Team Meat new ways to design levels). Stringing these moves together feels smooth once you get the hang of it, and I loved punching through an enemy in mid-air before diving diagonally between saws for a flashy escape from danger.
In addition, the stages in Super Meat Boy Forever are procedurally generated. While that might give players a negative reaction at first, each segment is hand-crafted by the team. Instead of just throwing saws, platforms, and baddies together to create a stage completely randomly, Super Meat Boy Forever pieces together parts that are designed to flow together to create a new stage of a set of segments each time you play it. Also, after you beat a stage, the next time you play it, that stage will throw a harder version your way. However, if you like one particular configuration of a stage, you can save that seed to not only replay yourself, but challenge your friends to beat your time on that stage.
The studio tells me that each Super Meat Boy Forever is as long as multiple levels from Super Meat Boy. Because of this, many of the stages feature single-use checkpoints. This means that if you die after reaching a checkpoint, you will return to that marker on the stage, but if you die again, it's back to the beginning. "Each little [randomly placed] chunk is about the same size as, like, the forest level in the first game," Team Meat's Tommy Refenes says. "To throw a whole bunch at you at once, we need to not totally kill you."
And you'll need those checkpoints. The trademark difficulty remains in this new title. The number of close-calls and brutal deaths my poor Meat Boy suffered during my time with the game was amazing. Thankfully, Super Meat Boy Forever gives you a quick restart much like its predecessor, leaving the player vulnerable to "one more try" syndrome. Even as my time ran short on my demo, I tried to squeeze in extra attempts to finally conquer the stage I had been slowly making progress on.
While I was initially concerned by all of the changes Team Meat is making for the sequel, after going hands-on with Super Meat Boy Forever, it's clear that this is a true sequel. The precision, frantically paced platforming of the first game is intact, but it's presented in a different manner. It's clear that Team Meat understands what made the first game so special, as that secret sauce is still present in the sequel, even with all of its changes.
Super Meat Boy Forever launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, iOS, and Android in 2018.