Review – Super Meat Boy Forever

Back in October 2010 Super Meat Boy was introduced to the world. A quirky and brutally challenging platformer that will have you dying thousands of times before you are done with it. Now almost ten years later, we have a new entry in the series, Super Meat Boy Forever, with some mixed results. 

Super Meat Boy Forever

Cinematics are weirdly awesome now.

As you would expect, Super Meat Boy Forever is unforgivingly punishing, with deaths reaching up into the thousands by the time you are done with it. Even from the moment you start the game, Forever does not let up on the difficulty and I love it. The same brilliant end-level replay that shows your successful run whilst also showing dozens of your own failures is still a great feature. Although, the changes to the core gameplay and structure are disappointing and make for an underwhelming return of a platformer I once loved. Super Meat Boy is now a procedurally generated auto-runner.  

Booting into the game I had very mixed feeling. In fact, I still do and many other fans of the original will be divided by this decision. As an auto-runner it’s decent, with basic controls only being able to jump and slide your way through the levels. Meat Boy is now also able to attack enemies by pressing the jump button mid-air or sliding towards them. It plays as well as an auto-runner should with responsive controls and precise timings required, but gets old really quick. You can only go left through the levels unless the game randomly decides you can go left. This is all made worse by the uninspired procedurally generated levels. 

Gone are the short but sweet levels of the original and are now replaced with longer levels stuffed full of checkpoints that remove some of the challenge. Every level in the original felt finely tuned where you can approach each level in a number of ways and get a little bit creative. In Super Meat Boy Forever though. the procedurally generated nature leads to most of the game feeling uninspired and just dull. Worse yet, the generation can give you some brutally unfair moments that spike the difficulty. A lot of my deaths were the result of not being able to see more than a few feet in front of Meat Boy. 

Super Meat Boy Forever

It’s sure got the meat boy flair.

The game’s few standout moments are the fantastic end of chapter boss fights. This is a massive improvement over the original game’s disappointing boss fights. It makes great use of the new combat mechanics and ditches all of the procedural aspects of the regular levels. No checkpoints to fall back on, back to the hardcore one life gameplay that made the original so addictive. It’s a shame there’s not more of these. 

Super Meat Boy Forever takes place after the events of the original game where Meat Boy and Bandage Girl are living happily ever after with their child, Nugget. Cue Dr. Fetus, who comes in and kidnaps Nugget, forcing the pair to go on an adventure. To say the story isn’t the focus is an understatement, but it’s still entertaining and pushes the game along nicely.

Visually, Super Meat Boy Forever is a huge upgrade on the original with a new fantastic art style that suits the game very well. There’s plenty of visual variety. Sound design is also pretty good with a decent soundtrack that kept me focused on the game. 

Boss fights are the only standouts.

Super Meat Boy Forever is a disappointing return to a beloved game in the ultra challenging platforming genre. Forever does manage to re-create that challenge, but the auto-run approach just feels lacklustre. You are in a lot less control over our red meaty hero and the game feels much worse for it. 

 

Graphics: 8.0

Super Meat Boy has never looked better with a nice visual re-design and amazing cinematics. 

Gameplay: 6.0

As an auto-runner it’s pretty good, but as a Super Meat Boy game it misses the mark. 

Sound: 7.0

Soundtrack is decent, if slightly repetitive.

Fun Factor: 6.0

Super Meat Boy Forever isn’t a bad game, but I never really found myself truly enjoying it. 

Final Verdict: 6.5

Super Meat Boy Forever is available now on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch.

A copy of Super Meat Boy Forever was provided by the publisher.