I will go on record and say that I loved Super Meatboy and for a long time it was a permanent fixture on my Xbox 360. Then on my Vita and then also on the Switch. The gameplay loop is spot on.
The announcement of Super Meatboy Forever has me very, very excited and even the length of time between announcement and release hasn’t dampened my spirits for it. I can take it as an endless runner.
I won’t lie though, it will take a bit of time to accept Forever and a Super Meatboy game, as there are a LOT of differences that do have an effect on your approach to the game.
Something that Super Meatboy did wonderfully well was craft intricate levels that you could happily spend hours, days and weeks either learning just to get through, or to try and perfect for better times.
Each level was tight and felt like it was crafted with pure unadulterated love. Whilst being difficult there was an eagerness from the design to keep you pressing ahead. That feeling when you beat another level was only matched by getting through the end of Trials HD at the time. You haven’t suffered rage-induced joy until you have beaten Super Meatboy.
So it is a shame that the levels in Super Meatboy Forever feel like that lack that same attention to details upon first playing. They are much longer and have checkpoints and it feels much more trial and error than Refenes’ and McMillen’s original.
Initially, that feels like it will take all that was good with the original and make the sequel fall flat. However, once you are over the initial shock of the change, the game sort of clicks and you begin to love it. At least that was the case for me.
I initially saw this as a clone of Bit.Trip Runner but that would be doing both games a disservice. Super Meatboy Forever is an automatic runner for sure, but if you break down each checkpoint into areas like the levels in Super Meat Boy then you start to feel like that old friend you haven’t seen for years, may have got a new look, but they are still the same person you liked the first time around.
The levels having a seed number and being generated take something away from the experience a little. The best thing about Meatboy was going again and again and again trying to get better. Here though your experience can and will have an effect based on how good you are at the game.
Whilst the idea is sound in principle and would have worked with a new IP, it isn’t quite what I want from a Meatboy game. Which is a shame, as getting through a level still has me clenching my fist and letting out a quiet ‘YES!’
Each section you face feels well made and it all flows together well and despite being an auto-runner, Meatboy still handles with the pixel-precise nature you would have been used to. Aside from maybe the first knockings of the game where you get5 caught out regularly, you soon get used to how things come together and learn to anticipate upcoming traps.
The checkpointing though does make for something slightly annoying. In the original Meatboy, one of the best things was the reward of a replay when you finished a level. With every single run played in unison. It made for works of art at times. In Super Meatboy Forever the same replay system is there, but because of the checkpointing, it loses the effect somewhat and even looks rough when you hit the actual checkpoints. To the point, I pretty much skipped them in the end.
The overall feel of the game is wonderous and it is a solid sequel in the Meatboy world. Whilst at the same time never quite hitting the highs of the original.
Fair play to Refenes though, he could have played it safe and made a direct sequel with identical gameplay and new levels, but he took a chance here and whilst he hasn’t nailed it. There is still loads to take from the game and it keeps dragging me back in.
Whether you get this on the Switch or via Epic on PC you’ll get a wonderful experience as the game works wonderfully well in handheld or on a bigger screen. It controls brilliantly too on the Joycon or a standard controller. There is clearly a lot of love mixed into Super Meatbuy Forever and it is well worth your time.