There’s been plenty of opportunities to play Super Meat Boy Forever on the Nintendo Switch this Christmas break, but surprisingly, it hasn’t been played to death as anticipated.
Could it be the levels of alcohol and turkey combo hijacking my motor skills, or perhaps it was because Assassin’s Creed Valhalla firmly sits on my PS5’s hard drive and yearning to be explored. A little bit of both, but primarily, it’s the game.
Super Meat Boy Forever, from Team Meat, is ridiculously hard. At least, for me it was – a veteran of the original released a decade ago, it has forever graced my digital catalogue across three different systems. It’s near perfect. This latest instalment is not.
Super Meat Boy Forever Nintendo Switch Review
Super Meat Boy was never an easy title, but it was doable. The satisfaction of completing a level was brilliant, and depending on how well you performed, there weren’t an insane amount of deaths.
In less than an hour’s play of this new title, the statistics confirmed 547 deaths. Granted, some of them were for show as my family were gathered around the TV knowing full well how revered the original is – they play it too, including the non-gaming wife.
Super Meat Boy Forever has had an overhaul on the visuals, super sharp, but still the same loveable characters and level design. The pace and variety are on par, if not an evolution on the first one.
However, there’s a significant difference, and that’s the challenge. Instead of taking rectum ripping long jumps or calculating a path that has you wall hopping and positioning Meat in a strategic spot, the game has shifted to a side-scrolling experience. The only way to turn back is by triggering a switch or leaving in a body bag.
On Rails, Off The Rails
The conventional videogame would ease you into the mechanics and lore with tutorials or half-arsed disguised ones, gradually increasing the difficulty as you progress – a test if you will.
Super Meat Boy Forever is the drill sergeant from Full Metal Jacket an inch from your face, spitting out a mixture of razor blades and sledgehammers with each burst. There’s no let-up, and this latest adventure for Meat Boy and friends will test your patience (and skills).
It’s a simple rescue story. Meat Boy and Bandage Girl have hooked up, bumped uglies and produced their legacy, a child with the moniker Nugget. Alas, Dr Fetus shows up and kidnaps them, so the couple, and their friends, must rescue the baby from the clutches of this twerp.
A similar format, whichever character you opt for: complete a series of stages that will question how good a gamer you are through precision jumps, last-minute slides and a punch in the teeth.
(re)Directing The Action
This time around Meat Boy can knock out enemies with a punch, but it also applies to obstacles in his way, and it isn’t just restricted to what’s in front, and he can do a diving punch, if you will.
The added feature is a welcome one and adds further variety to the game without reinventing a fantastic title, nor allowing it to go stale. But the nature of being propelled forward, comparable to a classic boss battle, means that Super Meat Boy Forever gameplay is ridonkulously harder.
Unlike before, you can’t take a run-up to tackle a chasm, but you can still loiter on a wall like a phoney Spider-Man – you simply can’t redirect where Meat Boy goes unless it’s ricocheting off a wall or similar. This makes for a challenging yet frustrating experience.
By the time I had reached the first boss battle, I was ready for a break. Bouncing back and forth to defeat a mecha-boss induced a ‘mature’ rage quit due to restarting regardless of progress until it became apparent that you can do a pseudo hover punch. With the first boss battle over, it was time to retake a break.
Yeah, But Is Super Meat Boy Forever Worth It?
As a fan of Super Meat Boy, I was expecting that I’d give it a fantastic review before even playing it, as confident it would be a corker. But that’s silly, right? Pondering over whether to score this highly or not, it was important to be reminded of my scowls throughout, borderline controller throws and the mild frowns that this is a 6GB Switch file.
Is Super Meat Boy Forever worth it? Yes. Yes, it is. But let’s break down the meaning ‘worth it’. If you have to have the latest games yesterday, or are invested in the character, then you’re likely to get it anyway, but can you wait? Kind of.
In ten years, Super Meat Boy Forever has evolved at a pace that your grandparents would be proud of. If it ain’t broke, why fix it? That rings true here, and practically all the new additions to the game are excellent, except the auto-running.
The visuals are great, and while it loses that pixelated flair and blippy soundtrack, it fits for a 2020 game. However, the auto-runner feature of the game dilutes the fun of the first game and loses the deceptive freedom. While there was always an A to B route in the original, you felt like you could chance a few paths of your own. In the new game, you’ll do as you’re told.
A Skinless Hero In A Bag Of Salt
The conclusion to this review? Super Meat Boy Forever is brutally hard. The challenge was to be expected, but not on this level. Admittedly, finishing a stage was boner-inducing until the next fiendish level, but this game does test your character.
I seldom get enraged with a game, and Super Meat Boy Forever took me to my non-happy place too often; on par with Meat Boy, skinless and dipped in salt. That said, I keep coming back, albeit in small doses. It’s still a very good game and watching a replay of a stage completed in 50 seconds, which in reality took 8 minutes, was often rewarding.
Existing fans will be accustomed to the difficulty, but speaking for myself, I was not anticipating such a challenge so early on, and there’s the chance that it may turn some away. If Super Meat Boy was the equivalent of Dark Souls, then Super Meat Boy Forever gameplay is most like Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice: it looks better, introduces new tricks, but has a significant learning curve that is somewhat off-putting. At least in my experience.
Super Meat Boy Forever Review Summary
Sure, it looks great, still feels like Meat Boy with the array of characters, insane difficulty, punishing hoops to jump through to collect all items and it’s cutting dark humour, but the auto-run element will be the deciding factor whether this will resonate with you as much as the first. Watching a few videos may help you decide, but it’s not until you experience the ‘on rails’ element that you know.