In lieu of an excuse of “weekend shenanigans”, I did actually manage to play some games! One of them, as you can see from the title, was Super Meat Boy. Designed by Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes, developed by Team Meat, Super Meat Boy is a bloody take on the platforming genre.
You are Meat Boy and you must save your girlfriend, Bandage Girl, from the evil Dr Fetus (it doesn’t need to make sense, dammit). To accomplish this, you will enter a Dark Souls-esque repetition of smashing your gooey, fleshy body into various sharp objects until you win. Run, jump, slide… The basics are all there.
I struggled my way through most of the first zone, carefully running and jumping my way through the levels, all whilst having my ears assaulted by brutal riffs – a whole number of stars for this soundtrack. But, there is a difficulty curve and it is quite steep – the amount of floor to land on will be smaller, saw blades will multiply and create tiny gaps to lunge through and bigger, nastier things will chase you.
It’s a hilarious game, juxtaposing bright colours and beaming smiles with the sight of the main character splattered across a pile of syringes, overlaid with the most metal of game music; this is a platformer for men.
Of which, I regretfully inform you, I am not. My button presses are shoddy, my timing always a second off, but I would take all the (wrong) chances when I saw them. In the end, after sawing myself in half at least half a billion times on the same blade, I handed over the controller to my friend who proceeded to out-man me in just about every way possible.
That’s when the magic started – the levels are tough, complicated amalgamations that you have to attack precisely. And each level will add a new, brilliant way to murder you. When you start seeing homing missiles chase Meat Boy down, a saw blade won’t seem that terrible. I could just about work out how I might complete the level and by the time I had, he was already seven levels ahead.
I haven’t even mentioned the secrets yet – there are plenty, from unlockable characters to dark levels, wrap stages and more. It’s a game that can hook you (ouch) and draw you in. If only my hands weren’t useless at high-speed precision timing, or else I might become a man. Alas, I’ll just have to watch better people play it for me…