When one thinks of tough video games, there are a few that likely come to mind. Many gamers would jump immediately to Dark Souls, or in more recent times, Cuphead, for instance. While that's certainly accurate, my mind often jumps to a different genre entirely: platformers, specifically Team Meat's Super Meat Boy. To me, Super Meat Boy is one the best indie games on the market. It is a bit dated, having first come out in 2010, but it's also seen quite a few re-releases on many different platforms. Now, by popular demand, Team Meat has brought the magic of Super Meat Boy to Switch.
For the uninitiated, Super Meat Boy is a notoriously tough platformer in which you have to navigate a maze of rockets, saws, and pits to reach a goal. The game features hundreds of levels across seven worlds, ranging from easy to frustratingly difficult. Though most stages can be beaten in a handful of seconds once you know how to do it, it's the process of figuring out what works and what doesn't that makes up the meat of the game. You will die. A lot. But each death is a learning experience. When to jump, when to dash, when to stay still—all of these are key aspects that successful Super Meat Boy players will have to learn.
As far as the base game is concerned, not much is different from the original releases. Each level still has a par time to beat if you want an extra challenge. Collectables and hidden levels are sprinkled throughout the worlds for those who want (or are crazy enough) to truly complete the game, but none of these are ever required to progress. The only real difference in this release is the soundtrack. The original Super Meat Boy soundtrack ranks among my all-time favorites. The pounding drive of the soundtrack kept me going even when I was at my most frustrated. However, due to licensing issues, the Switch version makes use of the newer, PlayStation 4 soundtrack. It's still good, but it will never replace the old one in my heart.
Of course, since this is the Switch version, you can take Super Meat Boy on the road in handheld mode. For me, this is one of the biggest draws of this edition. I can't count how many times I've been on the road dying to play Super Meat Boy, forced to give up my desires upon the realization that I can't bring my Xbox with me.
Luckily, Team Meat didn't disappoint with this port. The game runs incredibly smoothly in handheld mode. The visuals look nice, and the music blasts through the speakers with gusto. It's almost everything I could've hoped for. The one downside is that due to the size of the Switch screen, the game can be a little hard to make out at times. It can be hard to see certain obstacles because they blend into the background too easily or because they're too small. However, these are relatively minor complaints in the grand scheme of things.
The other feature offered in the Switch version is the new race mode. This is a local, two-player battle to see who can reach the end of a set of levels first. You can either run a specific chapter or a random selection of your completed levels. Surprisingly, there is a little bit of strategy to these races, since warp zones and bandages appear in the levels as well. Warp zones can be used to increase your lead by jumping ahead a few levels, but you have to be careful because they can also warp you backwards. Likewise, bandages can be used to skip levels, at the cost of two bandages per level. You can even skip the final level if you have enough bandages to do so, allowing you to secure your victory even quicker.
It is worth noting that this mode is split-screen. While playing it in handheld mode is possible, your screen will be even smaller than normal. Overall, it's a very nice addition to the game, though. I just wish that they had extended this mode to single-player or even added online multiplayer. It would've been a lot of fun to run a gauntlet of random levels either by myself or to see how I stack up against players from around the world.
All in all, Super Meat Boy on Switch is an almost perfectly faithful port of the original release. There are a few differences between releases, but not all that many. As such, if you've played it once already, you might not be too quick to pick this one up unless you're itching to take it with you on the go.
For first timers, I can't recommend Super Meat Boy highly enough, but do be warned that it will be frustratingly difficult at times. If that isn't your kind of game, stay away. But for those who can stand the heat, you'll find nothing short of a tight, satisfying experience that will keep you coming back for more. Take it from me—I've almost completed the game 100% on one console and I fully expect that I'll be doing the same here.
Super Meat Boy is now available on the Nintendo eShop for $14.99.
A copy of Super Meat Boy was provided by Team Meat for the purposes of this review.