Super Meat Boy is one of those games that’s released on almost everything, including phones in its near eight-year existence. Releasing first in 2010 on Xbox Live Arcade is when I first heard of it. I actually purchased it as part of the XBLA GameFeast. However, because I was playing other games at the time, it never hit with me.
The game subsequently released on other systems, and a few days ago, I discovered that I have it as a PlayStation Plus game on PlayStation 4 as well. However, it was actually a combination of Cuphead and like many older games recently, Super Meat Boy hitting the Nintendo Switch that finally made me sit down and give it a shot. Something I’m very glad I ‘ve finally done.
Super Meat Boy Review (Nintendo Switch)
Title: Super Meat Boy
Platform: Nintendo Switch [Reviewed], PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS4, Wii U, IOS, Android
Developer: Team Meat
Players: 1 (1-2 Multiplayer)
Release Date: January 11, 2018
Getting the Story
Super Meat Boy‘s conceit is that it’s a loving homage to older platformers. Not only in its gameplay, but also in how it presents the story. In the opening scenes, Meat Boy has his girlfriend, Bandage Girl taken away by Dr. Fetus and much like Bowser and Princess Peach you’ll put on your best Mario and make your way through worlds trying to find them. Giving Meat Boy his goal in trudging through over 300 levels.
Leaving A Trail
Each world in Super Meat Boy begins with a piece of the aforementioned story detailed in a cutscene. The worlds also finish with a grand boss level that’s preceded by a cutscene showing what’s coming. Each world also carries with it a theme and its own traps and dangerous weapons. Whether it is the hospital with rows of spikes on the floor, or the salt factory, which contains a lot of well, salt. Throw-in missile launchers with homing projectiles, normal walking enemies obstructing paths, huge blades, fire and other crazy things too.
However, these are not the only things that get in Meat Boy’s way. Although I’d never played Super Meat Boy until now, its history as an excruciatingly precise and rather difficult platformer never escaped my memories. This certainly holds true in the Switch version as well.
Similar to other platformers of this ilk, prepare to die, a lot. Many may wonder what’s the fun in dying at an extremely high rate? Well, that’s just it. You learn so much from perishing. For example, any time you move or make a jump, Meat Boy leaves a part of himself, a meat trail on the path. Reminding you where he jumped from on the previous attempt. This makes traversing levels much easier. Almost like catching up where you left off and then moving on from there. If you die numerous times in one section, said meat trail may get a bit bloody, but you still realize each death is the result of something you did wrong.
Thus, when you finally get through that stage, there’s such a great sense of accomplishment. Begging you to try the next level and see if you can do it again. If anything, the almost instantaneous revival of Meat Boy keeps things flowing so well, you may not even realize how long you’ve been trying a level. It is only after completion when every Meat Boy comes flying out and shows you each run you made that you might actually notice. At one point, I died so many times trying one level I started laughing. While also subsequently sweating at the same time.
Creating Your Own Path
One of the hidden virtues of Super Meat Boy is finding your own way through a level. There are quite a few levels that are short and only have one way through them. However, there are many that have multiple ways of beating them. This wound up being perhaps the most enjoyment I received from the game. Dying multiple times trying so hard to do the level one way. Only to pop around and jump from a different vantage point and finish the level without any trouble. This “oh crap” moment you receive is pretty special. Not just in feeling silly because you didn’t try it that way the first time, but also because these differing paths teach exploration.
Exploration can also help in finding bandages, which there’s one in each level. They help unlock other characters for you to use. There are also warp zones you can find, which unlock special levels. These levels resemble more of the classic 8-bit style and have lives attached to them. Whereas Meat Boy can die an infinite number of times in the main game. The warp levels help bring a nice form of variety to Meat Boy and feel unique to what’s already there. Finally, players who complete a level under a certain amount of time may get a A+ rating. This grants players a Dark World version of that level. These are even more difficult than the regular Light World ones. However, they present an even sweeter sense of victory after completion.
Adding a Second Player (Switch Exclusive Feature)
Team Meat added an exclusive two-player race mode into the Nintendo Switch version. This allows for you and a friend to each take one joycon and race through various levels in a world. This mode is perfect for Switch and truly rewards players that learn how to get through levels quickly. Plus, dying a lot is much more fun with a friend. It either winds up a soul-crushing test of endurance or a bundle of absolute laughs. Either way, this is a nice addition, which gives even more length to an already meaty game.
Overall Score: 9.0 Out of 10. Right now, porting almost anything onto the Nintendo Switch is all the rage. At this point, you probably already have Super Meat Boy on another system. However, if you are looking for something to play on the go, or on the television, you can’t go wrong with this indie classic. The addition of two-player mode works great on Switch, creating a fun experience for casual players that doesn’t short-circuit the original gameplay. And if this game leaves you longing for more Meat Boy, don’t worry Team Meat has already announced a sequel, Super Meat Boy Forever is coming out later this year.
* For the sake of transparency, a digital code was provided to Sean by Team Meat for review purposes. *