While there has always been difficult platformers, Super Meat Boy brought this challenging genre to the limelight and now the term “Meat Boy-like” infers to something that is very difficult, sort of like the saying “this is the Dark Souls of X.” Super Meat Boy Forever is a sequel that still is very much a Meat Boy game but changes the formula, for better and worse.
The biggest change over the original is the omission of direct control. Forever is an auto-runner and never breaks this rule. As soon as the game starts, Meat Boy auto runs to the right and doesn’t stop until he hits the end of a stage or is introduced to a spinning saw blade. More often than not, it is the latter option. Therefore, although Forever is a platformer, a more accurate term to define this game is a “swear-generator.” Attempting to reach the end of a stage could literally take hundreds of attempts, forcing players to string together a combination of four letter words that no one knew was possible. This game has the ability to turn anyone into a poet of swearing.
Since the player is no longer in direct control of Meat Boy, this sequel becomes one part puzzle game. For the most part, there is only one way to overcome each obstacle but figuring out how to reach the other side can be a game all its own. Needlessly to say, trial and error is not only required, it is the main gameplay component. Only after a couple dozen deaths might you realize “oh, the game wants me to wall jump on that wall, backtrack, then re-jump on this wall.” By this time, patience levels might have already reached their breaking point. Personally, I could only beat one or two stages before I had to put the game down and come back at a later time, refreshing my tenacity gauge. Yes, this game is difficult but it shouldn’t be confused with poor quality.
Auto-running is the biggest change but Meat Boy also has access to a couple other new abilities to separately itself from the original. Pressing down allows Meat Boy to slide under hazards but also increases his fall speed when activated mid-jump. For the first time ever, Meat Boy can now go on the offensive with a punch attack that increases his movement speed and can essentially act as an extended jump. These abilities add just enough flavor to Meat Boy’s repertoire to create some interesting level designs. In fact, boss battles are incorporated into the campaign as Meat Boy and Bandage Girl try to rescue the kidnapped baby Nugget from Dr. Fetus. Yes, the story is super ridiculous but the cutscenes are well animated and can be re-watched from the main menu.
It is a little odd that it took about a decade to see a true sequel to the fan favorite original. In fact, I think many players would have been happy with DLC packs and called it a day. The developers deserve credit for taking Meat Boy in a new direction, and pulls it off with an entertaining final package, it doesn’t have the same vibrancy as the original XBLA hit.
Also available on Switch, PC, and PS4/PS5.
Not As Good As: the original Super Meat Boy
Also Try: those super difficult Super Mario Maker 2 player made stages
Wait For It: Super Meat Boy 99