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Tom Buck – Staff Writer

Because of its incredibly simplistic mechanics and lack of availability, Super Meat Boy is a title in danger of being overlooked or written off as a flash game stuck with an arbitrary price tag. Hidden beneath its simplicity, however, lies one of the most adorable and demented tests of dexterity in existence. It is easily worth its price tag and ranks among the best games available for download.

Though they never utter so much as a syllable, the characters of Super Meat Boy rank among the most memorable casts to inhabit a virtual world. The appropriately named protagonist, Meat Boy, spends the game attempting to save his girlfriend, Bandage Girl, from the maniacal and inventive Dr Fetus. It’s just as ridiculous as it sounds, but through a cute art style and brilliant comedic timing, the short cut-scenes express a tale with plenty of heart.

A masterpiece in minimalist design, the only moves mapped to Super Meat Boy’s controls are running and jumping, but the game finds its biggest strength in its sadistically planned levels. Every inch the screen moves reveals another seemingly impossible challenge and all manner of death traps are utilized to dismember, vaporize or send poor Meat Boy hurling into a never-ending abyss. To this end, each level achieves a degree of difficulty that would normally force all but the most masochistic to turn off the console in frustration, but instantaneous respawns and goals that always seem just out of reach keep one playing. The phrase “one more try” is incredibly dangerous when applied to this game.

Made by just two people, Super Meat Boy is an illustration of how design on a budget is done right. It’s filled with an incredible variety of content in such a quantity that its price is an absolute steal. It controls perfectly, the searing difficulty is introduced at an excellent pace and the narrative is charming like no other downloadable title. Super Meat Boy is, without a doubt, one of the best experiences to come out of 2010.

 

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