Super Meat Boy Forever review – A mistimed jump 2021
Super Meat Boy Forever review
Do you hate yourself? If you are anything like me, you’ve a strong passion for both self masochism and gaming. Because of this, the first Super Meat Boy was my self punishing title of choice when I just wanted to switch off the brain of mine and turn up the frustration level. Right now that a new installment is finally assaulting the PCs of ours (not to mention totally free time), it remains to be seen whether the franchise has enough legs to be an honest-to-goodness “brand.” Now, let us just hope that they did not lose the way of theirs during the Super Meat Boy Forever development process.
Both the art style and difficulty of Super Meat Boy Forever harken back to the era of 8 bit glory. The only difference this time around is actually the insane framerates that would have blown an NES-adopter’s mind. The gameplay itself, nonetheless, feels as a by product of a failed experiment while porting one of the countless incarnations of Super Meat Boy, to mobile. While I’ve no proof to actually back up this assessment, it is worth noting that the newly minted infinite runner structure was once a staple in many early iOS games..
Process of elimination Following the same trend of streamlining the structure, the controls have also fallen victim to the feature pruning. Once again calling back to the mobile boom era, everything in Forever can be achieved using only 2 action buttons: Jump and Slide. For that reason alone, I was also finally in the position to play the game on keyboard, using the down arrow and space bar, respectively. Looking at the original was designed with a console controller in mind, this drastically paired back approach was a large departure from what I was expecting, and a rather immense disappointment, to boot.
As another unwanted side effect of the new infinite runner redesign, Meat Boy will actually continue moving in whatever direction it is currently moving until a wall or perhaps obstacle is actually encountered. This means the days of yours of traversing upwards by climbing a single wall have officially come to an end. Any upwards movement can only happen when jumping from forth and back between parallel walls. I feel I can sum the ideas of mine on this in a single word: YUCK.
One selling point of Super Meat Boy Forever is that the game’s stages are procedurally generated. Nevertheless, it looks like most environments have certain set pieces that will appear every time through a level, while other areas of a stage’s layout are actually generated a bit more randomly. The trouble was, this hybridized approach to producing a level’s geometry – where only part of each layout was hand curated – led to an extremely uneven experience when it came to gameplay, challenge, and polish. Additionally, this led to large areas of each map feeling as filler, rather than the pure, concentrated challenge which has been previously enjoyed.
Staying alive Luckily, the one facet of the design that made a triumphant return was the damn near instant respawning, upon the imminent demise of yours. This was both bad and good in certain respects. For example, restarts would happen and so quickly that in case you were not paying attention, the next attempt would start without you. That said, the quick respawning would also help somewhat take the sting out of any death. The issue was, in case you were really trying to analyze what went wrong in the previous run, you would just have a matter of a few seconds before you were forced right back into the retry gauntlet. Thankfully, the checkpoints were fairly generous throughout, because in case I’d to begin at the start of each stage every time I died, I would have noped the hell out before ever playing a second of the sequel.
I am quite sure that the boss battles at the end each world will probably be a point of contention with the dedicated fans of the franchise. Personally, I did not care about the challenges, as they all seemed pretty straightforward. Protip: Attack the “glowy bits.” Some may take issue with this lack of direction, nonetheless, since it felt like there was just a single “right way” to defeat each challenger. Once more, the hellish trial-and-error loop was prominently on display, where you simply had split seconds to react before the chaos started anew. Plan the attack of yours. Execute that plan. Mess up. Wash. Rinse. Pull out hair. Repeat.
The one area where Super Meat Boy Forever has upped its game is actually the animated segments that punctuate gameplay. The brand new emphasis on narrative comes as Meat Boy and Bandage Girl head out on the hunt for Dr. Fetus, who’s kidnapped the kid of theirs, Nugget. The story of what happens next is actually equal parts odd and endearing. It definitely is not likely to be up for a Pulitzer, but insane characters and charming presentation help to make sure that the action is not being taken way too seriously. I mean, how serious can it be when you are a bloody side of uncooked beef, fighting against a fetus in a jar, who also just so happens to have a doctorate?
Besides the random regeneration of stages adding to the replayability, there are also countless additional skins to unlock though replaying earlier completed stages. My personal favorite skin was the elderly version of Meat Boy, who my daughter affectionately christened, “Super Meat Grandpa.” Though the core completion of the mainline narrative will probably take up under 6 hours to complete, it’ll forever live on through attempting to perfectly polish off each stage.
Almost as Super Meat Boy Forever does feel like a definitive change in direction for the series, this might be one of the rare instances where things are actually progressing in the wrong path. Changing the core structure of the action is going to alienate some, while simultaneously lowering the initial barrier to entry. It remains to be seen whether they are able to attract as many gamers as it is going to spurn, but I know that I would think hard and long before buying this title for full price. Reader, beware.