Super Meat Boy Forever Review
Reviewed on Nintendo SwitchAlso available on Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One and PC
Super Meat Boy Forever is Team Meat's latest entry into the world of indie platforming madness. However, the path that Super Meat Boy Forever took during development would become as unpredictable as its procedurally-generated levels. Initially planned as a mobile version of the ever-popular and meat-drenched original game, Super Meat Boy Forever fell victim to other projects such as Edmund McMillen leaving Team Meat to focus The Binding of Isaac and, oddly enough, a card-game rendition of the meaty madness. Thankfully, regardless of everything else that the-year-that-must-not-be-mentioned gave the world, Team Meat finally gave us a sequel to Super Meat Boy. But was it worth the 10-year wait? Let's look closer and see.
Super Meat Boy Forever sees our titular titan finally reunited with his beloved Bandage Girl, who is actually a playable character this time. However, life can't stay dandy and sweet for Meat Boy, as we immediately see the dastardly Dr Fetus kidnap the beautiful couple's bouncing baby...meat bandage...named Nugget. Thus, the battle between meat and fetus begins anew. While the cut scenes were beautifully done with a surprisingly compelling narrative sans-dialogue, it was actually the woodland critter driven b-story that kept me most intrigued.
The gameplay style sets Super Meat Boy Forever apart from its predecessor, in both positive and negative ways. Precision controls and twitch reactions remain paramount, though the strategy and planning aspects of said precision controls have been effectively removed due to the endless-runner style of movement adopted by Team Meat. The only purpose the directional controls serve is to direct attacks in the form of punches and slams, another newcomer to this meat-based realm. Otherwise, unless clinging to a wall or waiting in a corner, the player's character is always on the move.
This dramatic change is not all bad, though. While it took some getting used to as a Super Meat Boy veteran, once acclimated to the rhythm of the levels, I found this new style of playing to challenge my reactions and thinking outside of the platforming box. The boss fights were particularly enjoyable once figured out. However, just like in the first game, you should plan to die quite often in the beginning...and the middle and end for that matter. I was happy to see that the "meat trails" of defeat remained, along with a slightly disconcerting pink trail for Bandage girl. Also true to form, Super Meat Boy Forever features plenty of unlockables, ranging from new characters unlocked by collecting pacifiers, to warp zones rewarding the player with mini-games in the vein of classic games. I was a particular fan of the Punch-Out throwback.
The final notable change in Super Meat Boy Forever involves the procedurally-generated levels chunks. The levels are supposedly generated based on player skill level using a collection of possible chunks created by Team Meat. While I do appreciate this move as it undoubtedly adds to the replayability, there were several notable foibles in my play-through that decreased this approval. Specifically, it appears that, based on both my experience and others, impossible to complete levels can be generated. There were three levels spread out over different worlds for me where, regardless of path taken or skills utilized, my character became stuck without any possible moves forward. Hopefully this will be patched at some point of course.