When I first heard the name Super Meat Boy, I simply could not fathom what kind of a game it would be. I assumed it was some kind of super hero action game that involved a lot of punching and kicking and plenty of explosions.
What I didn’t expect was an actual meaty personification by the name of Meat Boy. He’s kinda adorable, too in the same way Domo-kun is. The game begins with an introduction of the characters. There’s Meat Boy, and then there’s Bandage Girl, an equally adorable personification of a square thingy. And then there’s Doctor Fetus who seems to be inside some glass ball which in turn is wearing a suit.
The story goes…
Bandage Girl loves Meat Boy. Meat Boy loves Bandage Girl. And pretty much no one likes Doctor Fetus. Which is pretty sad. Doctor Fetus kidnaps Bandage Girl. So it’s up to Meat Boy to rescue Bandage Girl.
The game is played over a set of stages each with a handful of levels, most of which have to be completed before the Boss Level is unlocked. Beating the boss level opens up the next stage.
The game is a platformer where you, the player, must guide Meat Boy through levels filled with deadly obstacles, in the form of saws, slicers, and multitudes of other sharp objects. After the first handful of levels, you’ll find that pretty much every slicer and saw in the level is splattered with Meat Boy’s… wouldn’t really call it blood, more like paste.
The controls are simple and straight forward, arrow keys for left and right, space bar for jump and shift for run. Every time the game starts, the game explicitly suggests using a controller. Goads you into it in fact. It’s likely that while you’re trying to rush through a stage you clearly know how to finish, you’ll find yourself pointless splattering up over and over because of the fluidity a keyboard lacks.
As you progress through the levels, the puzzles and the obstacles become that much more difficult, and you have to rely on really good hand-eye coordination to reach Bandage Girl in some of them. Though, it can get pretty frustrating when you keep getting splattered ‘cause you can’t reach that ONE ledge or jump over that little saw, but it’s a pretty satisfying feeling when you clear a level. Even more so, when you get a Grade +A badge, which is for finishing the levels within a certain time. Though, every time you save Bandage Girl after going through a barrage of deathly traps, Doctor Fetus comes in again, beats up (yes, he beats her) Bandage Girl and kidnaps her again.
The graphics are really simplistic but pretty fun. Very retro and very gritty. Meat Boy himself is just a square piece of meat with hands and feet, a pair of eyes and a mouth. You’ll be greeted with a nice little cartoony animation that introduces the characters before landing you in a world of madness, death and way too many saws for comfort.
Though, what appealed to me most after the gameplay itself was the pretty cool soundtrack by Danny Baranowsky, and I think it’s out on CDs if you’re interested.
Super Meat Boy is an awesome platform game that will make you nostalgic and keep you entertained for hours, and possibly days. Developed by Team Meat and with distributors Steam and Direct2Drive, it’s available on Xbox Live Arcade and the Windows. Mac users will be able to find it in their system soon enough within the first half of this year. The system requirements are low enough that it will run on machines pretty old. If you’re in the mood for some retro gaming, then Super Meat Boy is your staple choice.