Game Title: Super Meat Boy
Developer: Team Meat
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Digital Download
Battery Life: 4 – 6 hours
Download: 203 MB
With all of the games coming out on the Nintendo Switch, I am surprised I haven’t done all that many Repeat-Reviews, or reviews of games I previously reviewed on the PS Vita. There’ve been a couple, like Resident Evil Revelations 2, but not nearly as many as I would have imagined I would do by now.
Another is getting added to the list today, as the list of Hard-as-Nails platformers on the Switch continues to go up. While many people put Vs Super Mario Bros in this category, I reserve it for games that are hard outside of just a couple levels. When I think of HAN platformers, there is only one game that immediately comes to mind: Super Meat Boy.
With word of the Super Meat Boy sequel coming to the Switch, it was an obvious choice to put the original game on the platform as well. Now that I’ve re-experienced the frustration, here is my review of Super Meat Boy for the NIntendo Switch!
Super Meat Boy is about a cube of meat named Meat Boy and his friend, Bandage Girl. Once day, Bandage Girl is kidnapped by the nefarious Dr. Fetus and Meat Boy ventures after them to save his friend from the evil Fetus.
The setting of this game is interesting because of how dark and mature it is. For a cartoony platformer, there is a ton of gore, blood, and very messed up themes in all of the cutscenes once you clear the various worlds of the game. It makes the game stand out, but also note that many of the cutscenes can be very sad.
Super Meat Boy is, of course, a platformer. Across the entirety of the game you will be traversing 2D, side-scrolling levels as you chase after Bandage Girl, surrounded by an absurd amount of hazards and traps laid out to make your adventure as difficult as possible.
For previous owners of the game on other platforms, you’ll be glad to know that Super Meat Boy on the Switch comes with an exclusive mode only available on the Switch (at least for right now), called Race Mode, letting you use Local Multiplayer to race for better times through various challenges and stages.
Progression in the game is pretty simple. You spawn in a level and must traverse the stage without getting hit, as even one point of damage to you means instant-death, as if the constant sawblades, missile launchers, and enemies roaming around didn’t give you an indication that this would not be a cake-walk like a Mario game.
Traversing each level is all about learning how physics can affect your character and navigating the level using the physics and wind resistance of your character’s jumps, walks, dashes, and more. You will be using these because once you hit World 2-3, you will have stages where you can only traverse the hazards by using the physics to your advantage, giving you situations where the only way to jump through a narrow space between two spinning blades is by jumping at a certain angle and applying a dash mechanic in mid-jump at a certain point to come through, unscathed.
The difficulty of the game is part of its fame, but it does incrementally increase, giving you a good balance and learning curve. A lot of times, you will start by having only a single “precise” hazard per stage and by the end of the game, you’ll have stages with several that you have to navigate in a single go.
Although the game’s flow you can adjust to, Boss Fights ramp up the difficulty in situations where you not only have to be careful in how you jump and move, but also have a time factor, making you rush and be careful at the same time. Some bosses have you running away from hazards that are constantly chasing you, making you actively see what’s ahead and find the best path as you go, increasing the adrenaline and giving you less time to think and strategize everything.
That all ties into the most frustrating part of the game. The way you learn the stages is by experimentation, which means you’re going to die, a lot. Of course, once you beat the game, you unlock the Dark World, which lets you repeat the stages of the game with an even more extreme difficulty than they had before.
Now, let’s talk about length. The main game has 105 stages, which each take very little time to clear, when you know what to do. If you never died, you could theoretically clear the main game once in around 40-60 minutes. However, you won’t. You might clear some World 1 or 2 stages your first try, but by the time you get to the later worlds, you will likely be averaging dozens of tries per level, which easily turns that 1 hour of completion time into several hours of completion time.
That Final Boss bit is what I think really is the only downer about the game. It is meant to be difficult, but some of the bosses are just overkill. Learning how to do things is one thing, but when you have over a dozen extremely precise jumps with a limited time available to you isn’t hard at first, but after your first couple dozen tries to finish, only to be greeted with yet another stage like it once you reach the end is beyond frustrating. It is one of the only times when I say that a game can be “too” hard.
To give an example, when I first played through this game on the PS Vita, I spent over an hour just on the Final Boss, let alone the other 104 stages, the Dark World stages which add many more hours, and the Epilogue World that unlocks after you beat everything beforehand and is even harder than the main game. It may look like it is light on content, but it is anything but when you factor in the difficulty of the game.
Controlling the game is pretty simple, and is a nice part of the game because they give you so many options for the few controls there are so you can enjoy comfort, depending on your control style, when it comes to platformers.
Moving around is done with the Left Analog Stick or the Arrow Buttons / D-Pad. Jumping can be done with either A or B, and you can hold down almost every other button on the Switch for dashing. When I say almost every other button, I’m not kidding. All four triggers along with X and Y can individually be held down for dashing. So, they give you tons of options.
Graphically, it looks the same as it always has. You have a 2D visual style that fits the overall design of the game and the renders look just as nice in handheld mode as they do in docked mode.
Performance is flawless as well. No frame drops. Instant Loading Times. No freezing. It is just a very optimized experience.
Being a 2D game, you can expect to have lots of escapades into this Tough-as-Nails adventure on a single charge. Here are my times, from 100% to 0%
Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 4 hours, 13 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 4 hours, 28 minutes
Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 5 hours, 46 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 5 hours, 58 minutes
As I said above, you get tons of Battery Life with this game. Just be careful not to throw and break your Switch in frustration after 6 hours of dying.
In conclusion, Super Meat Boy remains one of the most entertaining and intentionally-frustrating platformers around from its unique art style and dark themes, as well as the plethora of content thrown at you across the main game, Dark World, Optional areas, and more. While the bosses do tend to be overkill on the frustrating side, if you love platformers and don't mind the challenge, Super Meat Boy remains a must-have game.