Super Meat Boy Forever Hands-On Preview – Meaty Marathon (PS4)
Super Meat Boy took its sweet time coming over to the PlayStation 4 and Vita, but when it did, it was a popular “get” for the platform as its still one of the finest masocore platformers ever released. Since then, Team Meat has been busy working on their follow up, an endless-runner-like platformer dubbed Super Meat Boy Forever. We were able to get some quality time with the game at Sony’s PlayStation Experience 2017 expo.
Super Meat Boy Forever takes place some time after the events of Super Meat Boy. The dynamic duo of Meat Boy and Bandage Girl now have a child, the adorably-named Nugget. But the evil Dr. Fetus is up to no good again, and has kidnapped their kid! So now it’s up to both Meat Boy and Bandage Girl to deftly navigate countless hazards to rescue their child.
The most drastic change from the previous game is the control schem. They’ve been simultaneously made simpler, with only two buttons to press, yet also even more nuanced. Meat Boy and Bandage Girl both constantly run, in whatever direction they are currently facing. Wall jumping is a common way to change their direction. Pressing the jump button while in mid-air will perform a dash punch, which can take out enemies. Meanwhile, pressing down on the directional pad will perform a sliding punch if on the ground, or a diving punch if in the air. Naturally, all of this is combined in certain levels, where progress can only be achieved by running, jumping, sliding under saws, wall jumping multiple times, and then dash-punching an enemy into another dive. It’s like a bloody ballet, which is a trademark of the Meat Boy series at this point.
Don’t Call It an Endless Runner
Endless runners tend to be easy, right? Well first, Super Meat Boy Forever is not an endless runner, but you can see a bit of inspiration from the genre, since the main characters are always running. Levels have definite start and end points. Each level is also randomly generated, though even that isn’t the complete truth. The game has a specialized level building algorithm which chooses from a library of 40-50 “chunks” to craft a level that consists of a few of those chunks. Every chunk has the signature style of a Super Meat Boy game, which is to say that platforming is tight, and requires precise timing in order to pass.
The Dark World makes an appearance here as well, where levels are much tougher. But there’s more! Each level, in both worlds, can be leveled up. Clear a level once, and it will be labeled with a rating. The level’s rating can be increased by clearing it again, but the level will be harder on subsequent playthroughs. This can be done up to three times per level, meaning each level is actually four levels of progressive challenge. When you consider that the Dark World levels also have this functionality, that is a ton of replayability.
Replays Are Confirmed
Another signature aspect to Super Meat Boy was the game’s replay engine. Half the fun of clearing a level in the first console game was to then see all of your previous failed attempts at clearing the level. Replays are also in Super Meat Boy Forever, but sadly this aspect of the game was not ready at for showing at PSX 2017. We spoke with designer Tommy Refenes, who confirmed that the plans for the replays should delight fans when they are finally revealed.
Super Meat Boy Forever is surely going to please many fans of the original. The tough-as-nails platforming the series is famous for is front and center. While turning the game into something resembling an endless runner may scare some fans at first glance, rest assured that those are unfounded fears. Between the pseudo-randomly-generated levels that level up not one, not two, but three times, crushing but fair difficulty, and a whole lot of replayability, Super Meat Boy Forever is a platformer to get excited for when it (hopefully) launches in the summer of 2018.
Super Meat Boy Forever preview conducted at PSX 2017.