|System: X360 (XBLA), Wii (WiiWare), PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Team Meat||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Team Meat||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 20, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
These vignettes are accompanied by a signature boss battle at the end of a set of levels. Each of the six stages has a unique boss to fight. Most of them are not direct fights against the creature, but rather contests or races. One boss, for instance, is a giant chainsaw-wielding mech who chases you through a level. In essence, it's very similar to a normal SMB level, except now there are time constraints.
Not all of these fights are quality though. One boss in particular frustrated the heck out of me. You're on a platform trying to avoid his strikes (he's a giant monster standing over you). He strikes in a pattern, but there's no way to know what's coming next. The only solution is to try to get as far as you can, then memorize the pattern bit by bit to get further each time. This is the opposite of skill-based platforming, and it's fortunate for SMB that this is only one level. But an annoying one, nonetheless.
The scenes have very little audio since all the characters are mute, but they're well animated and each character manages to speak volumes without ever opening his mouth. The audio during gameplay isn't quite as good though. Classic platformers have long been renowned for their great soundtracks, but SMB doesn't quite live up to this standard. None of the tunes are particularly memorable, but at the same time none of them are obnoxious.
There's not a lot to say about the failures of SMB. The game seems to have a relatively modest goal, but they really nailed what they were attempting. This is a quality platformer with a super high level of difficulty. Faults in a game often come from a developer who is trying to do too much with too few resources or too little time. Super Meat Boy has been in development for a long time, and it seems as though Team Meat had very realistic aims.
Super Meat Boy is the latest in another year of quality titles on Xbox Live Arcade and anybody with even a passing interest in platforming should give it a try. It's a game that countless people are going to be talking about, and you wont want to miss out. The whole production is high quality, but don't expect it to revolutionize the way you see platformers. This game doesn't try to reinvent the wheel; it's merely the latest quality interpretation.
CCC Freelance Writer