Thursday, February 17, 2011

Review: Super Meat Boy

In 2008, Edmund McMillen and Jonathan McEntee put a flash game called Meat Boy on Newgrounds. It became an instant hit, and even had a map pack added not long after its release. In January 2009, McMillen, now teamed up with programmer Tommy Refenes, announced Super Meat Boy, a sequel for WiiWare and PC. Read on to see why this is the third best game of 2010 according to Metacritic, on which systems it ended up, and what's soon to come.

The regular Super Meat Boy level:
Saws everywhere.
The story tells the classic tale of "my girlfriend was kidnapped, go save her."  This may seem like standard platforming fare, but the pure creativity and hilarious manner in which it is told really makes it stand out against the sea the other video game stories. First off, the game's hero, Meat Boy, is a boy without skin. Then there's his girlfriend, Bandage Girl. A girl out of - well - bandages. Their life would be perfect if there wasn't a certain diabolical fetus. That fetus, titled appropriately "Dr. Fetus", lives in a jar, and wears a tuxedo, a monocle and a top hat. He hates Meat Boy (actually, he hates everything, including you) and thus runs away with Bandage Girl. What follows is a chase through 6 worlds, each with 20 levels (not counting bonus levels, worlds, DLC and the Dark World levels, which are harder versions of the normal levels) In total, there are over 300 levels to beat.

Guess which game this level references to!
Click for solution: *
This game is brimming with references to other games.. You want some examples? World 5 Intro. A destroyed city in the background, a skyscraper in the foreground. The camera slowly scrolls up, and low and behold, Meat Boy is standing atop it. Get the reference?

Next example. After entering a Warp Zone (another reference!) in World 3, you are greeted with Ogmo from Matt Thorson's Jumper, who can be unlocked by clearing his three stages. Also, at the end of the level the guy from Karoshi: Suicide Salaryman tells you "Bandage Girl is in another Warp Zone" (a nice little nod to "Super Mario Brothers").  Aside from Ogmo, there are 9 other Indie Characters from other games, like CommanderVideo from BIT.TRIP, Runman from Runman: Race Around the World, Steve from Minecraft and The Kid from I Wanna Be the Guy. Everyone has a special ability, like double jumps, warping, floating or just running really damn fast.

These spikes have a point.
For the controls, you better get yourself a gamepad. While the keyboard controls work, the gamepad controls make Meat Boy way easier to control. To quote Team Meat, "[A gamepad] is not required, but neither is bathing. Think about it."

The level design is great - there is a fine line beetween hard and unfair, and Super Meat Boy is balancing on that line. There are traps everywhere, but it's always your fault - there are no unfair jumps or traps like in I Wanna Be the Guy.

Not only does this picture sum up Tofu
Boy, but the speech bubble also
represents the gameplay. Nice.
Also worth a mention: Edmund McMillen has been trolling PETA. Yeah, a indie developer team consisting out of 2 people has been posting the game on the forums of those guys. Then the vegans striked back - releasing a parody of Super Meat Boy, appropriatly titled Super Tofu Boy. Not only has this given a lot of publicity to Team Meat, they weren't done yet and added Tofu Boy as a playable character.
And yes, he plays as well as a wet sack full of snails.

Super Meat Boy is a platformer, but stands out because of its difficulty, which ranges from "this isn't too hard" hard to "try to stop aliens from destroying the world using chewing gum" hard; the retro references, and the indie all-star cast. It's on Steam and XBox Live Arcade, and there will be an annoucement releating to the Wii Retail version during the Game Developer's Conference. The upcoming Level Editor for the PC will bring tons of new content; for the Xbox players too, since Team Meat will upload user-made chapters they deem awesome to the DLC chapter of the console.  (Oh, there's a reference in there too. The DLC chapter is called "Teh Internets" and the planet has an imprinted troll face.)

This game totally deserves being the third best game of 2010 after Starcraft 2 and Mass Effect 2.  It's a fantastic title, but it's not a game for people who don't like getting frustrated at games.  Life has enough of those moments already. If you do like your difficulty hard-as-nails, though, this game is a must-buy.


No comments:

Post a Comment