Super Meat Boy has over 300 levels in total, and that is not including player-made levels. That….is a lot of levels to go through and I haven’t even reached world 5 yet.
You play as Meat Boy, who has to rescue his girlfriend known as Bandage Girl who has been kidnapped by Dr. Fetus. Apparently, Dr Fetus is not a fan of Meat Boy.
The level design is truly impressive, and obviously one of the game’s strongest points. You get the usual expectations for deadly obstacles in a 2D platformer such as shooting blades, large spinning blades of doom and spiky surfaces to name a few. However, their positioning is so clever that it keeps the game challenging without feeling repetitive.
Even with over 300 levels, most of them are actually optional and hidden. To complete the game, you need to finish the “light world” levels which include a boss level. Some of these hidden levels can be played if you finish the “light level” within a specific amount of time, thus unlocking the dark version of that level. The dark world is basically the same as the light world with more dangers. It is optional though, so you can just stick to the slightly easier light world levels. There are even wrap zones hidden in some levels which transports you to a hidden three level, that can vary in difficulty (although the first wrap level I did made me feel like I was on a really bad drug trip…..and slightly nauseous). Some of these optional levels may contain unlock-able characters who have different characteristics from the speedy gonzales known as Meat Boy. You can swap these characters at the beginning of most levels, and allow you to use a different strategy to reach the end of a level. Other characters can be unlocked by collecting bandages scattered in certain levels. Some of these bandages may only be reachable by another character, although Meat Boy can complete all levels.
There is even a replay system in place, which replays your many attempts to reach the end of the level. You can even save the replays if you wish. It is actually really entertaining to watch the replays, by seeing dozens of Meat Boys flying around the screen with only one surviving.
The controls in Super Meat Boy are amazingly responsive, allowing you to perform actions with precision meaning you are always in control. Combined with Meat Boy’s agility, you will soon be performing the toughest of moves with great consistency once you get the timing down.
Death will become a common occurrence (and it is) in Super Meat Boy. You may end up dying over a dozen times on a single level alone. Or even die about 4 times before even going over the first pit of death, only to die in a different way. With death occurring often, you think that Super Meat Boy is a frustrating game. It is not, surprisingly enough. Especially coming from a person who is notorious for being impatient and somewhat easily frustrated. The superb level design and fantastic response time from the controls goes a long way in curbing the player’s frustration. Especially the throw-your-controller or wreck-the-keyboard type of reactions.
Super Meat Boy is among one of the hardest games there is out there. I know it is definitely one of the hardest games I have ever played. At least the game allows you to learn the basic moves in a punishment-free levels, once you get accustomed to the controls then that is when the fun begins. The learning curve is quite nice as well, allowing you to learn and adapt as you play. It also has a really catchy soundtrack! While death is always a mistake away, the feeling of victory when you beat a level is extremely rewarding that keeps you going.