Super Meat Boy is a classic indie game, finally slurping and splashing its way onto Nintendo Switch.
This cruel platformer is infamous for its steep difficulty and unforgiving level design. Sounds like my kind of game!
The first time I hit the jump button and felt Meat Boy’s insanely high amount of aerial mobility, I thought I’d never get used to the controls. But I was wrong! The game does a great job of onboarding the player, teaching tough platforming techniques gradually.
Whether you’re playing in Handheld mode, with a single Joy-Con, or the Pro Controller, the control scheme feels great. Running and jumping are the only two button inputs, and you can opt to use a variety of face and shoulder buttons if your grip gets tired.
Which it will, because the moment-to-moment gameplay is intense. Your goal is to navigate Meat Boy between buzz-saws and bullets, and over gigantic ravines and pits of lava in order to get to Bandage Girl. The game’s antagonist, Dr. Fetus, is always one step ahead of you, so you’ll have to overcome multiple unique worlds with plenty of challenges before your final showdown.
The difficulty in this game is inherent, but expert players can challenge themselves further in scoring an A Rank on every level by completing them under a specified amount of time. You can also search out hidden bandages in hard-to-reach locations, but because the User Interface doesn’t indicate when a level has one to find, you’ll have to turn to the Interwebs to complete your collection.
Speaking of collecting, there are a bunch of playable characters to unlock as well. Some have to be found, and others must be earned with bandages. Each character has a unique ability, like floating or double-jumping. It was awesome to see Commander Video from the Bit.Trip games, and other heroes from indie classics like Braid. On the other hand, some of the characters are too similar to Meat Boy to be very compelling.
Music in Super Meat Boy is pretty good, with an energetic soundtrack that will fuel your long and frustrating (yet rewarding) play sessions. Unfortunately, these aren’t the tunes that shipped with the original release on Xbox 360, preferred by many.
Load times are very quick, and once you get into a level, there’s no delay between death and your next attempt, which makes it easy to apply what you’ve learned from past mistakes and try, try again.
The game’s visuals are pretty simple, with a no-frills, grungey aesthetic. It was a treat to find the occasional level that put a spin on the art style, whether it was using backlit silhouettes or old arcade graphics.
During cutscenes, the game’s age and budget showed a bit, although it didn’t detract from the story being established: Dr. Fetus is a really bad dude, and Meat Boy is determined to stop him and rescue Bandage Girl.
As a timed exclusive for the Nintendo Switch version, Team Meat added a local multiplayer Vs. mode. The screen is split in half, and players race each other to complete a certain amount of levels. This mode was tense, and a lot of fun, but undeniably rough around the edges. The stage-selection menu was unintuitive, the character selection screen was visually squished, and worst of all; game-breaking crashes occurred about every 10 minutes. Suffice it to say, Vs. mode could use a few bandages of its own.
In conclusion, it’s wonderful to have this grossly charming hunk of meat join the Nintendo Switch lineup. This was actually my first play-through of Super Meat Boy, and I was compelled to complete the whole thing AND go back and get 100%. If you’re a fan of platformers, don’t miss this title as you prepare for the auto-running sequel to launch later this year!
Super Meat Boy gets an 8.5/10.