Reviews: Meat Boy

Super Meat Boy is fun and you should play it

Start by watching the gameplay trailer.

This game is sweet.

It's fast-paced Nintendo Hard platforming action along the lines of N. There's a level. It has a goal and a bunch of things that kill you. You have to get to the goal and avoid the things that kill you. And the Excuse Plot is so Excuse Plotty that it sounds like it came out of a Mad Libs ("'You are a(n) [noun], and you must rescue your girlfriend, who is a(n) [noun], from an evil [noun] wearing a(n) [article of clothing],' hmm, let's fill in 'Meat, Bandage, Fetus, Monocle,' yep that sounds good, let's run it!").

Anyway, it's sweet.

It's challenging. You die a lot. But there's a healthy difficulty curve. It ramps up gradually enough that, for the most part, I felt like I was right at the edge of my abilities: when I died, it didn't feel frustrating or unfair—it was more like "Damn, I messed up. Lemme try again." And the awesome thing is that once you finally beat the level, it replays all of your deaths simultaneously, so the more times you fail, the more epic the army of Meat Boys jumping to their grisly deaths will be when you eventually succeed. Nice touch.

Also, it's fun. I mean, just look at that trailer. Jumping around, dodging giant buzzsaws and homing's a blast. The controls are solid and the physics are comfy. And if the default character doesn't float your boat, there's a bunch of unlockable guest stars like the guy from Bit Trip, the guy from VVVVVV, the robot from Machinarium, the kid from I Wanna Be The Guy, the headcrab from the Half Life series, and a bunch more; all of them handle differently.

Bonus Points for Replay Value. If you complete stages with a quick enough time, you unlock Dark World alternate levels. And there are little bandages for you to collect that are scattered around everywhere, and you unlock stuff for grabbing em. And there are secret warp zones hidden here and there for you to discover, with even more unlockable stuff inside. The distractions and extra challenges manage to add depth to the game without feeling tacked-on (as Hundred Percent Completion quests often do).

So yeah. I approve.

Decent game ruined by glitches and lag

If you have a computer that is slow or uses integrated graphics, don't bother buying the game. The problem is that due to poor design of the physics engine, it becomes extremely difficult when the computer doesn't meet it's performance expectations. In one case, I discovered that getting a A+ is literally impossible due to the lag on my main computer. After weeks of unsuccessful attempts, I beat it on my first try when I switched to a different computer.

Apart from technical issues, the game has a few minor design issues. The physics are inconsistent and unintuitive. For example, switching directions causes you to slide, but simply letting go of the direction key makes you stop instantly. And holding run while walljumping actually lowers your jump height, for no clear reason.

Barring technical issues, it is a difficult but fun platformer game.