Review

Super Meat Boy

or

‘The Reason for Recent Spikes in Physical Assault Cases’

If you know anyone with controller shaped holes in their walls, then they can likely testify that games can enrage any rational person to the point of violence against their peripherals.

In recent years, casual gamers have become an accepted core demographic. In response, the difficulty of many titles has been pushed gently aside in favour of a deep, compelling narrative or loud, fierce action. The likes of Call of Duty and Gears of War put you in the boots of ballsy, bloodthirsty badasses so you can shoot, carve and frag your way through waves of cannon fodder. That made you feel like a king, right? You let down your guard, didn’t you?

Our hero, in a rare moment of not-getting-killed-ness.

This is where Super Meat Boy steps in, cracking it‘s succulent, juicy knuckles. It puts you in the fleshy shoes of the titular Meat Boy, who is on a quest to rescue his girlfriend from the evil Dr.Fetus. In his pursuit you will have to help our spunky hero traverse the unforgiving, gorgeous 2d environments, avoiding deadly hazards along the way.

As part of the spate of ‘masocore’ games (the most popular of which is the maddening ‘I Wanna Be The Guy‘,) it has a newsflash for you: the games are back in charge. This genre has a reputation for implausibly difficult mechanics, trial-and-error gameplay and intense precision platforming.

These small independently developed titles have mostly sprung up out of nowhere, kicking in the door to our comfortable living rooms and slapping us in our collective face.

Make no bones about it, this game is hard. You will die, over and over and over and over, but each time you watch Meat Boy explode into red mist, you won’t think twice about hitting ‘retry’ and having another crack at it. It balances you on a razors edge between joy and rage, every now and again pushing you off and laughing. Somehow, despite its abusive attitude, it’s hard to find a reason not to love the sharp-witted charm of this horrible, spiteful beast.

Aside from the titular cuboid hero, Super Meat Boy has a whole host of supporting characters lifted straight from other, rival masocore games. The likes of Commander Video from the ’Bit.trip’ series, and Tim from ’Braid’ make an appearance, showing a solidarity amongst this new genre that should warm your heart.

I was beaten down, lifted up and beaten back to the ground by this game, but loved every second of it. I was always drawn back by the simple, crack-like addictiveness of its gameplay and the crude yet charming art style.

This is an aggressive game that certainly won’t please everyone, especially those with dormant psychological problems, but with its coal-black sense of humour and a chip tune soundtrack to (fittingly) die for, Super Meat Boy is indescribably more-ish.

If it‘s a challenge you want, then go somewhere else. This game will tear you apart like a sausage in a thresher. But if you have an unquenchable thirst for victory that nothing will stand in the way of, then you might have half a chance of making it through.

9/10

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