A Classic Returns... But In a Different Light
It's been an entire decade since the world met the heroic blob we know and love as Meat Boy. Super Meat Boy was born of a simpler time, a time when basement coded games and single-team developers were all the rage. It was a time when devastatingly difficult games were seeing a resurgence, with titles like Super Crate Box and Desktop Dungeons.
The popular platformer instantly garnished lavish praise thanks to its endless supply of solvable and tough puzzles. They were unforgiving but highly satisfying when finally accomplished. The wit was cheeky, and the characters charming.
So, of course, when Super Meat Boy Forever was announced for PC and consoles, there was palpable excitement. What would the return look like? How would it be designed?
The core gameplay style changed, creating a rift in the gaming world...
Well, since its release in December 2020, the game has harshly divided fans. The core gameplay style changed, creating a rift in the gaming world hotly debated by just about everyone! Here's our honest take on the good, the bad, and the honestly not so ugly of Super Meat Boy Forever.
Even though the core of the action-adventure game is completely different, Super Meat Boy Forever is a super solid auto-runner. Gone are the days of planning elaborate routes to a clean, no-death clear. It's a style that's a massive change from the original, but it's extremely well-done. It might be one of the best auto runners out there!
Additionally, the character models for Meat Boy, Bandaid Girl, and a host of other characters (new and old alike) are well-designed and executed. In fact, there are 16 collectible playable characters in addition to the classic Meat Boy and Bandaid Girl.
Nonetheless, it's still simply not the original. That's enough for die-hard Super Meat Boy fans and even casual players to feel disappointed.
Levels look phenomenal with plenty of updated graphics. The cutscenes feature classic SMB dark humor, with plenty of wit and nostalgia to boot. Bosses are extra nitty-gritty tough stuff. There's plenty to love about the sequel.
However, that doesn't mean that Super Meat Boy Forever is struggle-free overall. Sometimes SMBF forces death upon you, whether or not it's warranted. Running into obstacles repeatedly until you get it "just right" isn't nearly as satisfying as the original SMB days of taking some time and plotting a course out. The auto-run aspect destroys a deep portion of what the original built.
The toughest thing to swallow is the in-your-face relentlessness of auto-running in general. There's no time to stop and think about the best route through a dangerous path of whirling death blades and teetering precipices. It detracts from enjoying the rest of the game in general when you're full steam ahead, brakes burnt out, all the time.
The Not So Ugly Truth
Okay, so it's not the original Super Meat Boy that fans still relentlessly grind to this day, shaving off precious nano-seconds from levels. It lacks the thoughtful planning and tactical approach. These are all true statements.
[Super Meat Boy Forever] might be the finest auto-run to have graced the genre thus far.
But that doesn't necessarily a terrible game make. Super Meat Boy Forever has plenty of solid nods to its predecessor. The wit and humor from the original are firmly tongue-in-cheek intact. And frankly, it might be the finest auto-run to have graced the genre thus far.
Its reviews are steadily climbing as die-hard fans give it a chance, take a breath, and realize that the times must also come to the evolution of the tried and true classics, even if those are an initial disappointment.