There’s really no reason why you should like Super Meat Boy, but you need to buy it, anyway.
The gist of it: this is a sadist’s version of a Mario game. The game ramps up easy enough, but eventually you’ll find that your goal is to simply make it through levels at all. You play as Meat Boy, a floaty red square that slides and dashes across everything- many times at your own peril. The evil Dr. Fetus has abducted your girlfriend, Bandage Girl, and she awaits you at the conclusion of each trial. Your thumbs will be destroyed as you inch closer to completion; eventually spending hours sliding into a super-greased rhythm to accomplish some of the most elaborate jumping sequences you’ve ever seen. When that sweet victory finally arrives, you’re granted an incredible replay of your past several dozen attempts and how all of them failed except for one, solitary meat cube. Death by bottomless pit, spinning sawblade, or by variety of other hazards comes instantaneously, but so does the respawn, allowing you to quickly regain yourself and try again in a quick, fluid motion.
There are a gargantuan number of levels here, but scoring high enough on individual outings will unlock ‘dark world’ versions that are even more devious. Even when you think you have the game down, some new challenge shows up to steal your lunch. The soundtrack and art direction are amazing (although the Adobe Flash-based cutscenes are a bit chunky at times) and the entire game is very well done, considering this began life on Newgrounds as a browser game. Everything about Super Meat Boy screams 8-bit retro, from the inspired intros (like Street Fighter, above) to the sheer difficulty. I’ll tell anyone: I suck at games, but this is gleeful gaming punishment you can’t skip out on.