Super Meat Boy Forever is the long-awaited sequel to 2010’s Super Meat Boy, produced and published by Team Meat for Nintendo Switch and the Epic Game store on PC. What began its development as a smaller, mobile-only auto-runner has finally arrived in a full-fledged console package. Comparisons to the original game understandably abound, as well as comparisons to previous concepts for the sequel. But as its own self-standing title, Super Meat Boy Forever takes the challenge and wit of the original, spices up some of the mechanics, and delivers a unique level-generation system that makes every player’s version of each level unique from one another.
Meat Boy and Bandage Girl have a baby now, Nugget. But of course, Dr. Fettus is back at it again, kidnapping Nugget and forcing our protagonists to chase after the baby and the baddie. Super Meat Boy Forever is an auto-runner with two buttons, one to jump and one to slide. There is just as much jumping and bouncing off walls as you dodge blades and lasers as ever. But now there are also enemies on the stages to avoid or punch. Each of the game’s several worlds introduces new platforming mechanics and enemy types to traverse all within short but increasingly difficult levels.
Each level is made up of chunks, pre-generated sequences that are randomly assembled together into full levels. Each new game is different, smashing together chunks at random, although you can manually input a seed if you and a friend want to play the same exact levels as one another. While on one hand this makes for endless replayability and was designed with streaming in mind, it also makes the game somewhat too easy at times. Unlike in the original Super Meat Boy, if you die, you only have to retry from the start of a chunk, not the start of the level. While the chunks get more difficult as you traverse the game’s worlds or attempt subsequent New Game +’s, they’re not insurmountable by any means. And the ability to immediately restart from five seconds earlier makes it that much easier to progress.
However, for those looking for a true challenge, there is a collectible and a time trial on every level as well. You must master each level in under a scary fast amount of time without dying in order to receive an S rank on each level, unlock their Dark World counterparts, and accrue all of the in-game achievements. Many of these achievements and the collectibles are tied to unlocking alternate characters who, unlike the original game, seem not to come with any powerups and are merely aesthetic.
Speaking of aesthetics, Super Meat Boy Forever is beautiful. Meat Boy and Bandage Girl are looking great as they drip blood and get their slime all over the place. The backgrounds, foregrounds, and animation of the player characters are gorgeous, building on what was already a marvelously hand-drawn environment to deliver levels and worlds you wish you could stop running and stare at for a bit. There are also a lot of cutscenes in Super Meat Boy Forever that serve as both comedic pastiches of popular classic video games as well as telling the game’s story. The opening sequences for new worlds are done in different styles each to reflect the game they are references while the scenes before and after boss battles are gorgeously drawn in a style instantly reminiscent of some of the best flash cartoons of the aughts but in full high-definition. The story is wacky, but very well told and all the more engrossing for it.
The music in Super Meat Boy Forever is also excellent. It perfectly captures the atmosphere of each world and never feels repetitive as you try to clear the same chunk over and over again. This is crucial, given the amount of time one might spend on a single level.
Lastly, the boss fights in Super Meat Boy Forever are also a nice addition. They are all creative and use the game’s simple two-button setup to great effect. They offer unique challenges and opportunities to get creative as you learn their structures. They aren’t long or terribly difficult, but they are definitely creative and I appreciate having the game’s structure mixed up by them.
Super Meat Boy Forever was planned to be a lot of different things over the years. The product we have today though is a perfectly worthy successor to Super Meat Boy. The game offers challenges for those who seek it while remaining fair and balanced for those who don’t want to rage quit before seeing the credits. It may be easy to compare the difficulty to the original, but to do so would feel disingenuous. As it stands on its own, Super Meat Boy Forever is a fun and just-challenging-enough platformer with endless replayability and lots of polish.
Super Meat Boy Forever is available now on Nintendo Switch and the Epic Game Store for PC. It will be available elsewhere in 2021.
Super Meat Boy Forever
Super Meat Boy Forever is a fun and just-challenging-enough platformer with endless replayability and lots of polish.