Sensitivity does not equate to imprecision. Each platform, trap, spike and chasm feels like it's been tweaked to remain perfectly fair, with seemingly impossible challenges becoming a laughable doddle after enough time spent learning the nooks and crannies of the environment. Juicy splotches are also left on surfaces after Meat Boy runs over them - and stay there as you make your inevitable repeat attempts - which function as both a neat aesthetic touch and a permanent marker of your progress.
Perseverance is met with eventual victory, and an accompanying wave of euphoria. The staccato and varied pacing helps to create a series of miniature piecemeal adventures, and you'll often end up in situations where you bang out five levels first try after spending twenty minutes failing on the one that came before. Difficulty spikes rather than curves, though the overall effect is always satisfying - like the range you get from a nice bag of pick 'n' mix.
The pleasing cycle of delight, despair, anger and persistence carries on for hundreds of levels - the designers claim there are more than 300, but in reality the game repeats itself with harder 'dark world' challenges of prior areas. These are modified just enough, however, to make them feel like an entirely new rage-inducing treat.
Bonus unlockables, garnered from collecting hard-to-reach (note: understatement of the year) bandages scattered around the level, include the option to play as, amongst others, a Castle Crasher or the guy from Braid. The changes are more than cosmetic too, with each character having their own special ability.
Team Meat is essentially reviving age-old design tactics for a modern audience, but it would be impossible to accuse them of an inability to be forward-thinking. Taking a page out of the retail market of the App Store, the game is launching on sale at 800 points (until November) and new, free content will be supplied over the coming months. This tactic has worked wonders for the likes of Angry Birds and Doodle Jump, and it'll be very interesting to see if it manages to take off on other platforms.
Of course, Super Meat Boy might not be for you: it's highly likely you switched off when I wrote 'buggeringly hard' a few paragraphs ago. Super Meat Boy taps into the exact kind of things I want from a video game - it's bold, challenging and, above all, rewarding. I can certainly understand how people might not be attracted to a game that takes a sadistic delight in coming up with inventive ways to frustrate players, but you'd be missing out if you let Super Meat Boy pass you by.
VideoGamer.com Score9 Score out of 10
- Perfect platforming.
- Very rewarding.
- Huge amount of content.
- Difficulty might not be to everyone's taste.