There’s a new Super Meat Boy game dribbling its juices on PC and major gaming consoles. And if you’ve never played one of the earlier versions you may be wondering what this “Meat Boy” thing is all about. So, let me help.
The, uh, meaty focus of this series is to offer gamers a tough-as-nails platformer that will sharpen their hand-eye coordination skills. That said, the obstacles players encounter here aren’t exactly the kid-friendly variety.
This game’s platform challenges are filled with buzz saw obstacles and razor-sharp multilevel traps that literally obliterate the hero into a glob of bloody goo each time you fail to successfully navigate these nail-biting courses. (Which, of course, happens over and over until you figure out the platforming patterns through trial and error.)
And that brings us to the new Super Meat Boy Forever.
In previous Meat Boy games, the main hero was always a cartoony little cube of skinless and bloody meat racing to save his girlfriend, Bandage Girl, who’s threatened by Dr. Fetus, an evil baby fetus floating in a robotic jar.
This game’s narrative continues with Meat Boy and Bandage Girl settling down and starting a family in the form of a little cube of joy called Nugget. But happily ever after is given yet another bloody poke when the dastardly Dr. Fetus shows up to snatch little Nugget for a nefarious plan.
With that, the two goo-dribbling parents must make their way through scores of platform courses littered with laser beams, saw blades, whirling propellors and glass-chip waterfalls. And after dodging those mortal threats, they’ll have to best nasty bosses who want to grind them into a chunk of flotsam in a bloody stream.
What makes this game a little different from 2010’s Super Meat Boy is the fact that this one is an auto-runner. So, Meat Boy or Bandage Girl are always running forward into danger, forcing gamers to make lightning-fast choices between a mere handful of actions: they can jump, jump attack, or slide and dive. But, trust me, the jumping, diving and blade-avoiding challenges are never easy and sometimes yield a frustrating, missed-it-by-this-much grind.
That aspect of play is heightened by the Forever side of Super Meat Boy Forever. Each level is procedurally generated, meaning it’s never exactly the same twice. That certainly lends itself to future replay with new challenges. But it also means that things never get easier as you try again.
On the plus side, there’s no dialogue here, so parents and players need not worry about nasty language echoing through the house. (We do, however, glimpse some middle-finger hand gestures thrown into cutscenes as a joke.)
The main drawback from a family room perspective, then, is the goopy results of each maze-like level and its spiky, meat-grinding hazards. Meat Boy leaves a trail of red behind him as he runs (Bandage girl’s is pink), and hazard-avoidance failures spray meat chunks and bright red goop. The thumpingly violent cutscenes also feature some dismembered cartoon animals this go around, and a time-warping element in the mix causes the fetus villain to fold in on himself and disappear or to grow skeletal and eventually crumble.
So, there you have it: Super Meat Boy Forever is a serious platform challenge with a cartoon bloody twist. Umbrellas and plastic sheets for the furniture are optional.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.