is a flesh- er, flash
game created by Team Meat (which includes Edmund McMillen
and Tommy Refenes) and released on Newgrounds on October 10, 2008.Meat Boy is a game about pain
. It is a game about understanding pain in its purest, most unadulterated form, forcing you to go into a fit of madness.
It's also an affectionate callback to all of the controller destroyingly difficult
games of the late eighties and early nineties, and all of the clichés that go along with them, but at least here the levels are (usually) short and the lives (usually) infinite.
You play as Meat Boy, a skinless boy
, trying to save his girlfriend made of gauze, Bandage Girl, from the clutches of Dr. Fetus
, a nefarious fetus being in a jar that just so happens to have a PhD
. It's not exactly the most original plot ever conceived
, but the game's still very imaginative. And painful, as Meat Boy must traverse though worlds filled with buzzsaws, syringes, lava
, salt, homing missiles
, and buzzsaws
. Did we mention buzzsaws? Cause, yeah, there's a lot of them.
We mentioned pain too, right?
A map pack
was later released on December 8, 2008. A sequel, Super Meat Boy.
, was released on Xbox Live Arcade
in Fall and Winter of 2010. A WiiWare
port was planned as well, but it was later cancelled as Nintendo's 40 MB limit for WiiWare
games was much too small for the developers to work with. A third game for mobile devices, Super Meat Boy Forever
, is in development.
Meat Boy also appears in the BIT.TRIP
series as a member of Commander Video's Five-Man Band
. In return, Commander Video appears in Super Meat Boy
as an unlockable character. Meat Boy is also featured in The Binding of Isaac
as an unlockable upgrade power.
Compare I Wanna Be the Guy
, Syobon Action
, and Kaizo Mario World
, which are difficult through sheer unfairness
, rather than Meat Boy's brutal, but fair design. Also compare 1001 Spikes
Both games contain examples of:
- Auto-Scrolling Level: The original has some of them. Super Meat Boy tends to substitute various forms of Advancing Wall of Doom.
- Awesome, but Impractical:
- The Kid. All he can do is double jump, something that Ogmo, a character that is easier to unlock, can already do. What The Kid is important for is bragging rights; if you manage to unlock him, you're essentially better than 98% of all Super Meat Boy players. However, the Kid is faster and a bit lighter than Ogmo, which lets him do tricks that Ogmo otherwise can't do.
- Also, Ogmo's double jump is more horizontal than vertical while The Kid's double jump has pretty good height.
- Badass: Meat Boy, and he has to be to get through the stages in this game.
- Big Bad: Dr. Fetus.
- Bottomless Pit: There are several per chapter, but the three other boundaries will also do.
- Brainy Baby: Dr. Fetus.
- Butt Monkey: Both Meat Boy and Bandage Girl get abused quite badly.
- Dr. Fetus gets this too, especially given the intro. "Nobody likes Dr. Fetus, and that's why Dr. Fetus hates you!"
- Effectively, every single character that appears in a cutscene is one of these. Especially the tragic squirrel, who is the lone survivor of the forest fire, is attacked by a rogue flying buzzsaw, is vaporized by a nuclear explosion, and STILL manages to come back at the ending cutscene, totally beaten up. Most bosses are also killed off in a rather dark-humored way. They all have a happy ending in the final cutscene though.
- Cast of Snowflakes: All the bonus characters are taken from Indie Games, usually using the original art style, making each one look completely unique and out of place. For example, all versions of Super Meat Boy have a boy in a cape, a girl in gimp gear, a color-changing stick, an 8-bit rainbow trailing guy, and a thing that looks suspiciously like Meat Boy, along with many exclusives to different versions of the game.
- Cephalothorax: Meat Boy and Bandage Girl.
- Cerebus Syndrome: As the levels get harder:
- Chapter 1: The Forest
- Chapter 2: The Hospital
- Chapter 3: The Salt Factory (note: salt kills Meat Boy)
- Chapter 4: Hell
- Chapter 5: The Rapture
- Chapter 6: The End
- Chapter 7: The Cotton Alley, which has a pink and white theme
- And the bonus Dark Worlds for all of the above.
- Character Select Forcing: Some bandages can only be obtained with certain characters.
- Collision Damage: Although justified in some of the cases.
- Convection Schmonvection
- Creator Thumbprint: It's not Edmund's first or last game which features a character in a developmental stage of a life cycle.
- Death by Irony: Both games end with Bandage Girl, who had been kidnapped and punched repeatedly by Dr. Fetus throughout the game, stomping Dr. Fetus to death.
- Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Usually. Unless counting some of the Warp Zones in Super Meat Boy.
- Determinator: Meat Boy, who gets abused quite badly but still keeps trying to rescue Bandage Girl.
- Anyone who manages to unlock The Kid.
- Digital Piracy Is Evil: Sort of parodied. Doctor Fetus regularly brags with pirating copies of Super Meat Boy in his in-character Twitter account.
- Difficult but Awesome:
- Flywrench. It takes a while to get used to its controls due to being very heavy and unruly. However, it can do a triple jump and scale up walls without having to jump off them which will become very handy in some of the levels.
- Naija is another of those characters who seems to be difficult to control at first, but becomes useful when practiced with.
- Distressed Damsel: Bandage Girl. Meat Boy is a Distressed Dude in the Harder Than Hard Bonus Level where their roles are flipped.
- Eternal Engine: The Factory.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: Okay, here we go... as of Super, we have mutants, buzzsaws, cockroaches, fetuses, salt, maggots, clones, dog missiles, and so much more.
- Fetus Terrible: Dr. Fetus.
- Fire and Brimstone Hell
- Flipping the Bird: One signature pose of Dr. Fetus.
- Green Hill Zone: The Forest.
- Grotesque Cute: Especially in Super Meat Boy.
- Heart Symbol: Present in a few cutscenes.
- High-Class Glass: Dr. Fetus has a monocle on his jar.
- 100% Completion: Necessary for the Golden God achievement.
- According to the Hell, The End, & Cotton Alley chapters, besides Meat Boy, everyone in the MB universe is immortal. An entire universe... Unable to die permanently...
- Meat Boy is a combination of Resurrective Immortality and The Undead.
- Kryptonite Is Everywhere: The Salt Factory.
- Level Editor: Meat Boy featured one. Super Meat Boy gets one for the PC version. A prototype devmode was accidentally left in the game which resulted the creation of user-generated content much earlier on.
- Lumber Mill Mayhem: The first level takes place in a forest area filled with saw blades that meat boy must dodge.
- Malevolent Architecture: Who puts buzzsaws in salt factories and skyscrapers anyway? (At least the forest sort-of made sense as an out-of-control logging operation.)
- As you play through the Hospital, you'll begin to wonder where all these syringes come from, and why they're stuck to the walls and ceiling, needle-down.
- Marathon Level: Some levels such as Omega, compared to the norm.
- Massive Multiplayer Crossover:
- The first game alone had Gish and a Castle Crasher.
- The level pack contains N and some characters called "Alien Hominid" and "Pico".
- Super Meat Boy takes it to extremes with many major indie games having a representative, including Jill, Steve?, Captain Viridian, Tim, Commander Video, Ogmo, Spelunky, Runman, again, N, Alien Hominid and a Castle Crasher, Josef, Flywrench, Naija, and The Kid. To the surprise of everyone, there's also a Headcrab for those who own both the Steam version and Half-Life. Each of those characters has their own special abilities, be it a Double Jump, limited levitation or tunneling.note
- Meaningful Name: All the main characters.
- Megaton Punch:
- Dr. Fetus sometimes likes to do this to Bandage Girl.
- The boss of Hell, Little Horn, likes to do this.
- Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Dr. Fetus.
- Nice Hat: Dr. Fetus' top hat.
- Nintendo Hard: And get used to Meat Boy's speed. Although those who think the game isn't hard enough, in Super Meat Boy, there is a more difficult counterpart to each level.
- Cotton Alley. The Kid's levels. Dark World Rapture. Have fun, kids.
- The Expert Remix chapter (which contains versions of main game levels that are even harder than the Dark World) means even more controller tossing.
- The Kid's 2011 Christmas features four difficult levels (though one can be broken easily by turnstile hopping). The fifth however asks you to traverse the original Kid's level backwards.
- Nitro Boost: Conveyor belts in the factory.
- One-Hit-Point Wonder
- Overdrawn at the Blood Bank: Meat Boy leaves blood stains everywhere, and is the only man who can bleed days without dying.
- People Jars: Dr. Fetus is in one.
- Platform Hell: Surprisingly averted. You'd think a game this difficult would rely mostly on unfair level design, wouldn't you? Nope, the levels are almost entirely devoid of Fake Difficulty and, combined with the smooth controls, it means that you only have yourself to blame for each death.
- Reference Overdosed: Shout-Out count to other works is very high in Meat Boy series.
- Resurrective Immortality: Meat Boy is a One Hit Point Wonder, but reforms within one or two seconds, much to the frustration of Dr. Fetus. And not just during gameplay, during cutscenes too!
- Rule of Cool: The only reason why the game doesn't look as awesome as the cover.
- Rustproof Blood
- Sadist Show
- Save the Princess
- Secret Character
- Serial Escalation: Take a shot every time you think it can't get harder and are subsequently proven wrong. Continue until you're too wasted to play.
- Shout-Out: The game has a large amount of them, which is expected from an indie game.
- The Flash game opens with Dr. Fetus stealing Bandaid Girl ala Ghosts 'n Goblins. This is also present in Chapter 7 of Super Meat Boy, except Dr. Fetus captures Meat Boy instead. Super Meat Boy likewise begins each chapter with a re-enactment of the opening to a different game:
- Also: Hot Coffee. Yes, really.
- There are shout outs to other indie games too (Canabalt, for example).
- Chapter 5 of Super Meat Boy is called Rapture, which is the same name of Chapter 5 of Gish (which takes place in church).
- The message at the end of every Warp Zone level is a nod to different Mario games; NES-style levels are nods to the original Super Mario Bros. castle levels ("Thank you Meat Boy, but Bandage Girl is in another Warp Zone"), while Game Boy-style levels are nods to the boss levels of Super Mario Land (wherein "Daisy" would turn into a monster and run away).
- A Donkey Kong-styled level in Chapter 4 is named "Wiebe", and in its Dark World counterpart is called "Billy Boy".
- When you successfully complete a level with a bandage collected, the message "Bandage get!" appears, referring to the Japanese version of Super Mario Sunshine.
- One of the glitch worlds resembles an airship from Super Mario Bros. 3 — complete with fixed-speed sawblades simulating auto scrolling.
- The sound when picking up a key (when not in a Warp Zone) is the same as from Atari's Gauntlet.
- The levels Blood Mountain and Bladecatcher are references to the band Mastodon.
- Slapstick Knows No Gender: Dr. Fetus's abuse of Bandage Girl is always played for laughs, except to Meat Boy. But just think, if the genders were reversed, it would be treated... exactly the same, actually.
- Stylistic Suck: Joke Super Meat Boy for iPhone.
- Temporary Platform
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Bandage Girl has a flower.
- This Is Gonna Suck: The player's reaction to many of the levels.
- Also Meat Boy's reaction to the salt factory, in both games.
- Toothy Issue: Meat Boy has a very distinctive missing tooth.
- Trial-and-Error Gameplay: 4th boss relies heavily on pattern memorization.
- Troll: In-series example, as in Dr. Fetus' Twitter account.
- Villain Teleportation: Which is used to snatch Bandage Girl (most of the time).
- Wall Jump: One of your main techniques to victory.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Each time you get to Bandage Girl in the end of the level, she gets re-captured by the Big Bad.
Super Meat Boy contains examples of:
- After the End: Chapter 5.
- Abandoned Hospital: Chapter 2.
- Adorable Abomination: C.H.A.D.
- Advancing Boss of Doom: Lil' Slugger.
- Advancing Wall of Doom: At least a few times per world. They take the place of the autoscrolling levels in the original game. The "wall" may consist of saws, blood, salt, lava, maggots, or, in one of The Cotton Alley's stages, Pepto-Bismol. (It's a palette swap of the lava.)
- C.H.A.D. and Brownie have a rising death floor as hazards in their stages.
- American Kirby is Hardcore: The new cover art for the PC release is a Shout-Out to over-the-top cover arts of video games from The '90s.
- Anti-Frustration Feature: Part of the core of the game:
- The respawn after death literally take less than a second and is automatic.
- The levels themselves are short, ranging from 15 seconds to 90 seconds, so in the quite likely event you die, you don't have to go through too much again.
- Various little side-quests when you get too frustrated with the main game, like beating past levels in record time, collecting bandages to unlock new playable characters, or playing through retro-styled "warp zones".
- When you finally do beat a level, the game then shows you a replay of all your past lives doing the level simultaneously, which is good for showing you where the hardest parts of the level were. It's also kinda hilarious to see a cloud of Meat Boys get shredded to half their number by a giant saw.
- Ascended Extra: According to Word of God, this picture◊ is Tofu Boy's first appearance. Since it predates the whole PETA debacle, Tofu Boy wasn't intended to be a total wimp when that was drawn.
- Alas, Poor Villain: In-Universe example. When Dr. Fetus is finally defeated, Meat Boy briefly feels sorry for him, but he quickly changes his mind.
- Alternate Reality Game: The Steam version is one of the 13 indie games that form the bulk of the material of Valve's "PotatoFoolsDay" Portal 2 ARG.
- And I Must Scream: Tofu Boy, all the time.
- Animate Inanimate Object: The ground in the chapter select screens has a face that changes based on the chapter.
- Art Shift: When going to the retro levels.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Steve and Meat Ninja, whom cannot be used to complete levels legitimately or earn achievements.
- Bait-and-Switch Boss: Brownie, who was supposed to attack you first, but when Dr. Fetus starts flooding the room with salt, you both start racing to escape it.
- "Before" and "After" Pictures: Credits has that one, although not in picture form.
- Bifauxnen: Jill.
- Big Boo's Haunt: The Hospital.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: Grubs in Chapter 5. Some are crawling along the surfaces while others have gathered in large piles.
- Black Comedy
- Blob Monster: Some of the enemies. From unlockable characters, Gish.
- Boss Subtitles: Commander Video, Jill, Ogmo, Flywrench, and The Kid all get these. (Flywrench does it a bit differently — instead of a freezeframe and displaying his name and the game he's from, it's simply a black screen saying "Launch Flywrench.exe?")
- Bragging Rights Reward: The final Dark World level is appropriately named 'Brag Rights'.
- Brutal Bonus Level: Some of the bonus levels.
- The warp zone that unlocks The Kid being one of the most brutal set of levels ever put in a game. But what were you expecting from a Super Meat Boy / I Wanna Be the Guy crossover?
- There is an extra, very hard chapter unlocked by beating the game.
- Bullet Time: CommanderVideo in his introduction video.
- The Cameo: Some non-playable characters make a cameo appearance too, like Darwinian from Darwinia or the boy from Limbo.
- Chainsaw Good: The first boss has it, along with regular buzzsaws of doom.
- Character Select Forcing: Boss levels, warp zones, and the Minus World disable characters other than Meat Boy. Likewise, you can only use Bandage Girl in Cotton Alley.
- Cheat Code: Required to play as Brownie, a Goo Ball (Steam version only), and Tofu Boy.
- Chicken Walker: Lil' Slugger.
- Chivalrous Pervert: Jill.
- Context-Sensitive Button: Dr. Fetus' single-buttoned Handy Remote Control is this, as it can do anything from summon a boss monster to turn on machinery to throw at Meat Boy to send him off a cliff.
- Cranial Eruption: The 4th boss gets two of these during the fight. Since he's made out of dead meat, they're rather blocky.
- Crapsack World / Crapsaccharine World: If you aren't dead, you're about to be, and everything kinda sucks while you're alive anyway. A squirrel can witness his whole family die, only to be killed by a random saw blade. He gets better, but only in time to be killed by a nuclear explosion to get a bit better again during the ending. Heck, even Dr. Fetus is only evil because everyone hates him! Also, most of the locations Meat Boy visits seem to be in ruins.
- Creator Cameo: Complete one of the minus worlds and you see the creators of the game make an appearance.
- Crutch Character: Commander Video, sort of. His float makes it easy to clear levels and get bandages in the first two chapters, but he's very slow and his jump is one of the lowest in the game. Many levels later on are impossible to clear with him due to his flaws. However, it's still somewhat possible to get some bandages easier in later levels.
- Credits Medley
- Dark World: Each of the main levels except the boss battles (not including Chapter 6's boss) has a dark world counterpart. You don't know why the other ones are called light worlds until you play these.
- Deadly Dodging: A few times it has to be done. For an example, to allow turrets open up the passages. The fifth boss fight requires you to lure the boss to his death.
- Deadly Rotary Fan: Several levels have giant fans that can propel you through the air. Get too close to the blades, though, and SPLORCH!
- Death Course: Every. Single. Level.
- Death Is Cheap: At the end of chapters 4 and 6, it is revealed that infinite lives aren't just a gameplay mechanic.
- Debug Mode: Accessible by putting -devmode into the launch options. While in devmode, press F1 to access a primitive level editor.
- Deliberately Monochrome: Some of the levels (and the entire 6th chapter). Monochrome or dichrome levels are more frequent in Dark World.
- Disney Villain Death: Subverted — Dr. Fetus appears to have died after being defeated Super Mario Bros.. style in the final boss level, but then he pulls off a Taking You with Me by activating a self-destruct. After Meat Boy and Bandage Girl escape, Dr. Fetus reappears and hits Bandage Girl over the head repeatedly.
- Double Subverted — He actually accomplishes nothing by hitting her, which he soon realizes and falls to the ground. Then he's stomped on. A lot.
- Distressed Dude: Eventually, Dr. Fetus decides that he has had enough of capturing the girl and captures Meat Boy instead.
- Disturbed Doves: As an homage to Canabalt.
- Ditto Fighter: Meat Boy clones in Chapter 5.
- Doppelgänger: Meat Boy has four and counting. And that's just playable characters. There's Brownie, who's a traditional Dark Reflection type doppelganger, Tofu Boy, pretender to the throne turned pathetic Joke Character and star of PETA's ill advised parody game, Meat Ninja, Meat Boy as a Future Badass from the year 20XX, and most recently, Potato Boy, an April Fools joke and Portal 2 tie in who's afraid of girls. Not to mention the fact every time Meat Boy dies, his former body lives on as a Meat Boy zombie as seen in Hell and Rapture, of which there are doubtlessly thousands. Then if that weren't enough, the Meat Boy zombies can merge together to form a colossal Meat Boy golem called "Little Horn", which serves as the game's fourth boss. Despite all this, there is not yet a Robo-Meat Boy.
- Double Jump: Some of the unlockable characters can do this, and one can even triple jump.
- Downloadable Content: Super Meat World with 8 (!) new chapters. Available for free on Steam.
- In the Xbox 360 version, there's an extra chapter called "Teh Internets" (unlocked by collecting 20 bandages) that has 5 sets of 20 levels.
- Dummied Out: In the PC version, there's a primitive level editor, a complete character select, and a playable Dr. Fetus, complete with functioning rocket launcher.
- The End... Or Is It?: The complete ending shows that Bandage Girl is pregnant with an evil fetus. Dun dun duuuuuun!
- Everything's Better with Rainbows: If, for some reason, you don't like playing as Meat Boy and dripping a trail of blood everywhere, one of the first characters you can unlock is Commander Video from the BIT.TRIP series, who has an 8-bit rainbow trail.
- Evil Knockoff: Brownie, who is designed to look like Meat Boy, but instead of meat is made of Dr. Fetus' poo.
- Evil Overlooker: box art features Dr. Fetus as one.
- Eye Beams: These are fired by...
- Faceless Eye: ...that kind of turret.
- Five-Man Band: Meat Boy, Bandage Girl, and the Warp Zone characters by default, due to being in all versions.
- Floating Continent: 6th chapter.
- Frickin' Laser Beams
- From Bad to Worse: Chapter 5.
- Fusion Dance: Little Horn is created from combined dead Meat Boy corpses.
- Future Badass: Meat Ninja.
- Game Breaker: Deliberately invoked - Steve? from Minecraft can dig through walls and place blocks in midair to stand on, allowing him to completely skip most hazards. As such, you cannot earn achievements while playing as him.
- Game-Breaking Bug / Good Bad Bugs:
- In one of the early levels, it's possible to get bandages over and over, resulting an incorrect percentage on the game completion. It also had a save file crash problem when it came out. The bugfix is still awaiting approval.
- When the PC port came out, many players also had some serious bugs ranging from bosses not appearing to not being able to start the game at all. The development team started to fiercely fix the glitches so it got 9 batches of bug fixes within 9 days.
- Unfortunately, the use of variable framerate physics makes the game so glitchy that it is unplayable on performance-challenged computers.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Little Horn.
- Handy Remote Control: Dr. Fetus uses this quite frequently which does different things. Also parodied in one cutscene where Dr. Fetus pretends to be about to press it, only to throw it at Meat Boy.
- A Hell of a Time: The Meat Boys in Hell during the credits.
- Heh Heh, You Said "X": If you Alt+Tab while playing, you will return to your computer's desktop with the game minimized. If you try to bring it back up again, you will sometimes get an error message stating that "The game has crashed. A mini-dump (heh heh) has been sent to the developers."
- Homing Projectile: A few of the turrets fire these. Although their homing abilities aren't the best, they make up for it with projectile speed.
- Also, Dr. Fetus' bazooka. While its projectiles are slower and smaller, their homing abilities are much better.
- 100% Completion: Clearing every level and collecting all bandages nets the player the "Golden God" achievement.
- Last Lousy Point/Guide Dang It: Minus worlds add to your completion percentage in-game, but for achievement purposes do not count. Thus, you can have 105% and still not qualify.
- Inconveniently Placed Conveyor Belt
- Interface Spoiler: Shows the number of chapters in the game. There is an extra chapter indeed after beating the first main 5 chapters + epilogue chapter.
- In the End, You Are on Your Own: In the final chapter, named The End, only Meat Boy is playable.
- Iris Out: Heart-shaped variation during the ending.
- Joke Character: Tofu Boy, a Take That to a Meat Boy parody by PETA. He's the slowest character in the game, with no special abilities, and he can't jump to save his life.
- He can just barely beat the first two levels.
- Kick the Dog: Meat Boy in the ending scene of Chapter 2.
- Large Ham / Large Ham Announcer: The announcer.
- Level in Reverse: A number of Dark World levels are more or less the Light World counterpart traversed backwards. With perhaps some extra buzzsaws thrown in.
- This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: see Crutch Character
- Meaningless Lives: Averted in the warp zones but played straight in the Minus Levels; since you only play one long stage at a time (as opposed to three in a warp zone), lives seem to serve no purpose other than to annoy the player with loading screens.
- Medium Blending: The creators wanted to give art shifts opposite of The Ren & Stimpy Show (where characters and everything else get extremely detailed in closeups) so in-game graphics, where everything is distant, are drawn more realistically, but menus and cutscenes are drawn in cartoon style. In-game characters, however, are drawn in a very pixellated style.
- Minus World: Deliberately used. Bandage Girl starts glitching sometimes when you replay levels in a chapter where you've beaten the boss. Reaching her when she's in this state unlocks that chapter's Minus World.
- Mood Dissonance: Cotton Alley. The background is pink (very bright in Dark World), a rabbit disco plays in the background, and the chapter contains some of the hardest levels in the game.
- Mood Whiplash: At the end of the first chapter.
- Multiple Endings: Two of them. One for Light World, and one for Dark World that expands upon the previous.
- No Indoor Voice: The announcer. Just put in a code to use a secret character and get ready to be told to PUSH THE BUTTONS!
- WARRRRRRRRRP ZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONE!
- Nonindicative Name:
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: At first, Dr. Fetus seems like a comical Jerkass villain whose worst crime is rather slapstick abuse of Bandage Girl. Then, at the end of the first world, he burns down the forest the earlier levels took place in For the Evulz and chases Meat Boy down in a giant saw robot powered by the blood of innocent woodland creatures, and it gets worse from there.
- Oh Crap!: Meat Boy's reaction when he has a bazooka in his face.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: The theme of Dr. Fetus, the final boss. Fittingly, it is named Carmeaty Burana.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Undead meat (which is the boss of Chapter 4) and regular ones in found in Chapter 5.
- Parasol Parachute: Dr. Fetus uses one at the end of Chapter 2.
- Precision F-Strike: The final Light World level is appropriately named 'Four Letter Word'.
- Pink Means Feminine: Bandage Girl, and Cotton Alley, the bonus world you control her in.
- Portal Network: There are momentum-based portals in Hell.
- Red Ones Go Faster: Level 4x-3 is an all red version of its Light World counterpart, featuring a faster lava hazard and the level title 'Char'.
- Retraux: The warp zones and minus worlds feature four- and eight-bit graphics styles.
- Rise to the Challenge: C.H.A.D., Brownie and several non-boss levels too.
- Roar Before Beating: Some bosses. Parodied in the 5th boss where 3 caterpillars roar at the same time in choir.
- The third "boss" roars at you in the cutscene, only for Dr Fetus to interrupt you before you can actually fight it.
- Sand Worm: The 5th boss.
- Schmuck Bait: Meta-example. McMullen deliberately tried to get PETA upset at the game, knowing PETA would get upset without knowing Meat Boy was not made of meat, just a boy without skin.
- Screen Shake: Present in sequence after the final boss and also in a few other levels like 1-19X.
- Self-Destruct Mechanism: At the end of Chapter 6.
- Sensory Abuse: A patched glitch on the PC version caused the game to automatically crank up the volume far higher than you can turn it normally.
- Sentry Gun: Rocket turrets and sawblade shooters being the most common.
- Sequence Breaking: A few levels have designs which can be exploited (some intentional, some not.) Most of them can be found in the fifth world.
- In 3-11X, one of the harder Salt Factory stages, it's possible to jump between or above the advancing buzzsaws so you don't have to go all the way to the right to jump over saws.
- The Kid and Flywrench can become handy in some of the later chapter levels due to fact that in some levels, they can often skip the portions of the level entirely.
- In the final boss level the sawblades advancing in front of you can be jumped over for additional speed. Oddly, if you get to your destination before the blades in that level, you become mysteriously immune to them.
- Single Tear: Happens in the cutscene after beating the first boss.
- Smash to Black: Right before Brownie appears in the ending.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: The Cotton Alley has the brightest, cheeriest music in the game, even in the Dark World. It is also orders of magnitude harder than the rest of the game.
- Spikes of Doom: Although they're replaced by syringes, salt and so on in most of the levels, genuine ones appear in some of the warp zone levels. In the Hell and The End chapters, some very sharp spikes are encountered.
- Stealth Pun: Our hero is a skinless boy, who looks like a block of beef. Who frequently dies. Dead meat.
- The character select screen is a Shout-Out to Super Mario Bros. 2, complete with the spotlight and curtains. The curtains are made of flesh as well. Meat curtains.
- Sting: Enter chapter: Dun! Dun! DUNNN! It also happens during the good ending.
- It's also the sting used in the Dramatic Chipmunk video.
- Stuck on Band-Aid Brand: Bandaid Girl is renamed Bandage Girl because of this.
- Sugar Apocalypse
- Tactical Suicide Boss: Fourth boss.
- Take That: Super Tofu Boy is unlocked by typing 'petaphile' into the character select screen, to counter PETA's own Take That.
- Teleport Spam: Meat Ninja's special ability, which is handy when dealing with projectiles and the like.
- Title Scream
- Toilet Humor: Brownie.
- Took a Level in Badass: Bandage Girl after Dr. Fetus kidnaps Meat Boy.
- Unexplained Recovery: Happens to a few of the characters.
- Vent Physics: The double-edged blades of the game.
- Video Game Lives: In some of the bonus stages.
- Visual Pun: The Sabbath level is completely "Black".
- WAAAAAAAAAAAARP ZOOOOOOOOOOOOONE!
- Weakened by the Light: Second boss.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Salt, because Meat Boy has no skin.
- What the Hell, Hero?: What Meat Boy does to Boss 2.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Dr. Fetus finally shoots Meat Boy three times with a rocket launcher in the last level. He respawns three times, just like he does whenever he get shot, cut, or otherwise killed.
- When It Rains, It Pours: During one of the Dark World levels in the 5th chapter. The stage itself is even called "Downpour".
- Wink Ding: Happens at the good ending. Although it's 8-bit.
- Would Hit a Girl: Dr. Fetus. Over and over and over.... Shoryuken, Megaton Punch, Spam Attack, and Spinning Piledriver are all acceptable to him.
- To drive this home even further, in Cotton Alley, where you play as Bandage Girl and you have to save Meat Boy, whenever Dr. Fetus shows up to disrupt your reunion, he never beats Meat Boy up before abducting him.