Super Meat Boy was one of the greatest indie experiences that graced us in the 2010s. In my review for Indie Gamer Team, I praised its consistent controls, swiftness in regaining progress after death, and speed for making it my favorite indie platformer. Finding out that Super Meat Boy Forever would be an auto-runner, I became extremely skeptical. After ten years, could this new twist recapture the magic of the original?
Meat Boy and Bandage Girl have settled down and had a child. Unfortunately, Dr. Fetus never ages. Nugget is swiftly, albeit comedically, kidnapped and our heroes must run after him! Unfortunately, it seems like Dr. Fetus will never stop gaining ground. Just like last time, cutscenes will play at the beginning, and end, of each world. These are more for comedic effect than storytelling. They are just as well animated, and wacky, as the originals. There is even a B-Plot about Dr. Fetus burning down a forest. I chuckled a fair amount of times.
Super Meat Boy Forever is just about as simple as you can design an auto-runner. You can either keep running, slide, jump or press jump again in the air to punch. Just like last time, Meat Boy can only take one hit. The biggest differences? All the stellar control feels like it was taken away from me. It may only take ten seconds to return to where I died, but when I’m not the one running back, it feels like an eternity. Actually attacking enemies with the punch can feel really inconsistent too. It was a major problem on my journey.
Every stage has its own unique gimmick and they are very rarely reused. Honestly, I think they could’ve fleshed more concepts out than they did. A lot of the challenge of the original came from figuring out the timing and creating swift paths through obstacles. You got to choose how you completed a level. In Forever, this sense of freedom is completely gone. Timing based challenges feel like they only have one answer. Forever introduces a procedural generation system with developer designed chunks. Every playthrough, you’ll see something new, but they lose the charm and context of set handcrafted levels.
Super Meat Boy Forever is an experience designed for a completely separate audience than the original. If you can get behind this, you’ll find a stellar auto-runner with a familiar skin. I can’t help but be a little disappointed that we’ve not gotten a proper return to the original style, but I’m incredibly happy that they gave this new genre a shot. I had a lot of fun with Super Meat Boy Forever. As long as you’re not expecting more of the same, you’ll have a mighty meal to munch on.