• Alberto Mezzalira

Review: Super Meat Boy Forever

Reviewed on: PlayStation 4

Publisher: Team Meat

Developer: Team Meat

Platforms: XB/PS/NS/PC

The sequel of the successful platforming game “Super Meat Boy” (2010), developed by Edmund McMillen and his “Team Meat”, is here. With new graphics and a renovated gameplay, this game is ready to challenge even the most patient and skilled player.

Will this game be able to stand against its past? Let’s find out!

The game is set a few years after Super Meat Boy and we can see Meat Boy and Bandage Girl having a picnic with their daughter Nugget. Suddenly, Dr Fetus, the villain from the first game, attacks the family and kidnaps Nugget. With their daughter missing, Meat Boy and Bandage Girl go on an adventure to save her.

Across colourful but deadly worlds, our heroes will face chainsaws, deadly plants and other frightening obstacles, without considering the bosses at the end of each world. Each world is well characterized, excluding the chainsaws (which we’ll find in every world), there are unique graphic elements, obstacles, enemies and even “abilities”.

The story is narrated by cutscenes between each level and these can offer good immersive-ness and well-represented characters, even if they don’t talk. Letting aside the tons of blood and meat that you can see everywhere, the references and easter eggs to movies and other video games, and the violence that fills this world, Super Meat Boy Forever has a deeper story than many may think. Avoiding more details, it can be just said that in this game we can find many characteristics typical of McMillen's “dark” style.

The gameplay is completely changed from the predecessor , which was a more traditional platformer. In Super Meat Boy Forever, levels are randomly generated by combining pre-made levels designed by the creators.

The biggest innovation is that the control scheme uses just two buttons; being an auto-runner game, characters can only jump/punch and slide/dive, while the movement is not directly controlled by the player. Directions can be changed when running into walls and jumping off of them. These new mechanics change the platform sections into sort of rhythm puzzles that have to be figured out before proceeding. One single mistake means death in this game but luckily there are lots of checkpoints at each level.

In general, levels last around 1/1.30 minutes and the game gives you an ideal time to get it done; about this feature, there is also the possibility of using an interface-specific for speed runs. Along with finishing the main story, it is possible to replay levels with other characters and, after meeting specific requirements the “dark worlds” become available and are more difficult versions of the original levels.

The bosses, of which are one per world, are hard challenges to succeed in and they will take you a lot of attempts before finding out the best way to defeat them. Due to the game mechanics, sometimes the bosses appear to be too precise in their hits and players have, in most cases, only one possible way to go. This might cause a lot of frustration especially because when you lose, the entire boss fight restarts (I spent almost an hour trying to defeat the 3rd world boss and most of the times I died during the last phase of the battle, so every time I had to do it from the beginning).

Overall, Super Meat Boy Forever is a great game, with a really high level of challenge; it has a simple but meaningful story and has the potential to be played over and over while the great graphics and the amazing music create the perfect atmosphere for you to fully enjoy this challenge.

However, the auto-run system, the high difficulty and the ease with which you can remain stuck in the same point for ages may easily frustrate many players. Compared to its prequel, this game feels less of a traditional platformer and more like a sort of rhythm game where you have to press a button in the right moment (in this case to avoid obstacles or to hit enemies). Super Meat Boy Forever still has that vibrant and sometimes revolting abundance of flesh and blood like the original one, but for me this new platforming design is no match for the first chapter; however, Team Meat deserves some credit for trying something new, instead of sticking with the same formula.

Despite some frustration in specific points or against few bosses, I enjoyed this game a lot, It was a tough challenge but I can’t wait to master each level to unlock all the other playable characters and secrets hidden in this game.