by Andrew Skelton (Outfoxed)
If you’re a fan of Super Meat Boy, you probably like punishment. No, not like that, more in the psychological sense. It was a game known for being both brutally challenging and completely fair. It was a game where trial and error could see you past almost every puzzle the game threw at you. Well, following in those footsteps, Team Meat crafted a sequel to the game in Super Meat Boy Forever. Instead of having to rescue Bandage Girl from the clutches of Dr. Fetus, you now have to save their child Nugget from his nefarious clutches. Oh, and if that last sentence made absolutely no sense to you, well, that’s by design, of course.
I spent time playing the first few stages while creator Tommy Refenes watched on mirthfully. It’d been years since I’d actually played through most of the original game, so my lack of skill showed up pretty early. One improvement immediately made to the game was you no longer have to control Meat Boy’s movement. This allowed the team to tighten the controls and the puzzles even further. You can play the game entirely with two buttons: the action button and the down arrow.
Constantly moving presents an opportunity to perform some pretty tricky level crafting too, I noticed. Some segments of the game require you to backtrack slightly in order to avoid some of the more nasty traps the game has in store for you in order to progress forward. One new addition to the lineup, however, is the fact Meat Boy learned how to fight! Pressing the action button mid-air will perform an air dash punch what will take out enemies right in front of you. Of course, because it’s also an air dash, it’s also going to be required to solve a bunch of puzzles. You expected otherwise? Meat Boy can also perform a sliding punch attack similarly to the air dash by pressing down on the controller. Likewise, this slide will be integral for a lot of the game’s puzzles.
After having cleared all of the demo’s stages, Tommy challenged me to a boss he’d just finished up the day before PAX West started. This dual-arm-chainsaw-having robot of destruction was by admission not fully tuned, but it showed now that boss fights weren’t just about dodging. This particular boss required me to destroy several buttons on the various boss segments, all whilst climbing on the safe part of either the arms or the body, all while trying to avoid the spiky wheel of death in the middle of the screen. Amusingly, the person to my left was also challenging the boss encounter, and Tommy likened it to who would finally be victorious.
Alas, neither of us won because I discovered a bug in the boss AI that got him stuck in a fashion where I couldn’t win, nor could I get myself killed to restart the encounter. Tommy promises that particular instance will be quickly fixed. So close to victory, yet so, so far.
Fans of super difficult platformers will absolutely love this sequel to Super Meat Boy, and it may be worthwhile for people who have heard of the series but never played to start checking into this title further.