Publisher: Team Meat | Developer: Team Meat | Platforms: Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC | Code Provided to We Got Comms for Review Purposes
It’s easy to see that Super Meat Boy Forever started life as a mobile game follow-up to the nail-biting original. The game consists of a single action — plus directional — button that would have found itself a perfect home in that phone in your pocket. “Procedurally-generated levels but with a story” would have fit the bill perfectly in the 2010s iOS takeover era and, yet, SMBF somehow delivers on that premise today. Mostly because you still get the natural progression you would feel in a typical campaign as the levels are bookended with bosses and cute-macabre — as I like to refer to them — cut scenes that more than once actually made me laugh out loud following the misadventures of Meat Boy, Bandage Girl, and Nugget. Every new game you start in SMBF deftly creates computer-generated levels made up of about 16 level “chunks” interspersed into an overall collection of 5 worlds (plus a post-credits, trippy one). The “forever” in the title assumes you’ll go back and keep generating new campaigns…forever. But I had my fill with my own personal mishmash of levels and can see myself going back to unlock the dark world versions of those that almost caused me carpal tunnel syndrome from countless deaths and immediate retries. The Nintendo Switch release makes for perfect pick up and play sessions at any time.
8/10 – Excellent
On the cutting room floor…
Power-Ups and the Endless Runner
If you were a fan of the original Super Meat Boy, the “endless runner” aspect introduced in SMBF can be a little off-putting when you first boot it up, but Team Meat does well with the concept. While limiting at first, you quickly realize that there’s all kinds of ways they mix up the gameplay with various temporary abilities ripped straight out of the headlines from other games.
Expect to see traces of VVVVVV, Battletoads, Street Fighter, Portal, and more power-ups as you traverse from level to level. It’s very satisfying to know that one level will give you the ability to hadouken your way through boxes and the next ever-so-slightly breaking your brain as you figure out when and where to trigger your enter/exit portals.
Seedy Meat Boy, the USDA Prime Grade Beef
As Jeremy so kindly pointed out in a recent review, I’m very much against recycling assets in games, but Super Meat Boy Forever does it just right. Every new game you start in SMBF starts off with a “World Generator” prompt and builds your adventure with “seeds” that make up the different level chunks you’ll see in the game. The world isn’t so much computered-generating as it’s made up of those different segments mixed together to give levels a feel of handcrafted design.
To give you a sense of how “forever” the game is: there are a total of 16 seeds that can be manually edited to make up every new game. If you wanted to, for example, a friend could recreate the same campaign that you played through by setting the same seeds when starting a new game.
Hilarity Blooms in the Battlefield
One of the things that sets Super Meat Boy Forever above the fold when compared to other run of the mill procedurally-generated games is that there’s a narrative through-line for the relatively short campaign. It’s skill-dependent, of course, but you should be able to to get through your first run in about 4 hours.
As mentioned in the final word up top, the story is a simple one, but makes full use of its ridiculous premise laying out chuckle-worthy prat falls and quick take shrugs and winces with a clean animation style. And while the bosses are few and far between, they’re all memorable encounters and it’s awesome to see the developers come up with creative and clever ways to disguise its endless runner “limitations.”