Super Meat Boy: Ultra-Difficult Indie Legend With a Lot of Red

Super Meat Boy
Super?

Due to a brilliant indie game called Splasher we’re reviewing in an hour, we’re taking a jolly look at this 2010 title from Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes – as part of Team Meat.

Super Meat Boy

Ridiculously (in our opinion, anyway), What Culture named this the best indie game of all time. That prompted us to name the Top 10 Most Epic & Glorious Modern 2D Platformer Games in response – one of our most popular posts, traffic-wise.

Whilst Super Meat Boy isn’t the best, it’s still an enjoyable, if stunningly difficult (and deliberately so), jaunt that some people like to put themselves through.

To the casual observer, playing it can come across as more of an endurance test than fun.

Kind of like with the surreal and deliberately infuriating Getting Over It, seemingly mindless repetition is the name of the game.

You star as Meat Boy who has to save his girlfriend. A bit predictable, eh? But over 300 condensed levels, you have to battle your way across an array of killer obstacles to reach your goal.

This can lead to some pretty crazy jumps and whatnot – you’ll need a lot of skill to get far in this one.

It’s one where the term “git gud” is relevant for once, rather than acting as annoying and toxic gaming community aside.

But repetition is very much the name of the game. You’ll die a lot, but respawn very quickly to have another go – that’s the addictive element right there, as you keep coming back for more punishment.

It’s that desire to complete the stage, even if you’re on the 100th attempt and getting close to punching a wall (rage quitting, as it’s known).

So, good fun if you have the right temperament. And the unique graphical style will deaden your sense of dread and doom as it’s a lovely thing to look at.

It’s one of those famous indie games that caused a stir back in 2010, so a lot of people give it a try and presume this is what most other indies are like.

Well, no. Super Meat Boy is unique in its approach to gaming, although has triggered off a genre of gaming self-punishment.

4 comments

  1. How the press has treated indie games is weird. I have to say a part of me suspects they were only in it for the drama surrounding the egotistical creators such as Phil Fish and Jonathan Blow because once the creators buckled down, lost the “indie ego”, and produced some legitimately innovative stuff… the press dropped indies like a hot potato. Ever since then, the press has been content to ignore excellent works (i.e. OneShot and Undertale) or in the case of Cuphead, give it attention through their own incompetence. You’d think looking at these “best of” lists that indies never really accomplished anything past 2010 or so when it’s manifestly not the case.

    That said, Super Meat Boy is quite a bit different from what most indie games were doing back then, simply content to be a challenging platforming game and doing reasonably well in that field. Ultimately, I feel the scene changed for the better by going that route than by taking cues from stuff like Braid.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely. A lot of indies function by deviating from the norm slightly, like with Cuphead’s ashethetic – a “gimmick”, if you will. Not that I meant that in a bad way.

      Sometimes they score big, but most indie games get ignored. Ori and the Blind Forest is, for my money, one of the best games ever and I’ve barely met anyone who’s played it.

      Anyway, there’s still a kind of snobbery about them in the industry. Like indies are secondary behind the big AAA titles, even though I find the latter increasingly insipid.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love it that this game ended up inspiring a slew of indie games that are brutally difficult but not frustrating due to the brief nature of their platforming challenges and the immediate re-spawn.

    Liked by 1 person

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