Another game I've been spending a lot of time with recently is the PC release of Super Meat Boy. Let me tell you this right now, this game is AMAZING! I've played a lot of newer 2D platformers in the last few years and I don't think anyone has nailed the feeling of them like Team Meat in this game.
I had played the original Meat Boy over on Newgrounds and was eagerly awaiting the release of Super Meat Boy.
You can play the original Meat Boy here...
Anyway what makes Super Meat Boy so good? It's pretty much everything it does, first off the controls. The game has some of the tightest controls I've felt in a game for a long time, especially a PC 2D platformer. I started out using my keyboard completely ignoring the game straight up telling me to use a controller. After getting my ass handed to me I dug out my wired 360 controller and was back to playing in no time. Even with the crap 360 D-pad this game controls flawlessly. Meat Boy does exactly what you want him to when you want him to do it. It feels great when you jump and weave your way through a particularly tough section only to survive and move on to the next level. There isn't ever a time when you're fighting with the controls, I can't stress this enough, they're great.
The game looks and sounds good as well. The graphics are nice 2D and the cutscenes are done in what I call the Flash Cartoon format. They also do a lot of shout outs to old games. The intros to each chapter are taken from old school games and it's really cool when you notice and remember the game they're imitating.
Super Meat Boy also has some of the best music I've heard in a long time. I'd consider it up there with Cave Story in how good the music is. I still think Cave Story has this game beat in great music but SMB is a close second. I really like that the music doesn't restart when you die it just keeps on going. With many hard games it can be annoying when the music restarts when you die, even to a point of grating on you.
The main thing Super Meat Boy has going both for and against it is the difficulty. This game is crazy hard! It hates you and everything you stand for. Super Meat Boy wants you to suffer, it will never be nice to you, it would kill your pets if it could and laugh about all of it. Now this will turn some people off but if you're like me and hate seeing games hold your hand then this is the game for you. I still haven't finished it but I keep plugging away at it making a little progress each time I play. Another thing about death in SMB is that when you die you are almost instantly back to try again, there is a slight moment before you respawn but it's so short it's never an issue. When you're in a warp zone on the other hand there is a wait as it shows a screen with your lives and you have to wait a bit before trying again. Think of it like the original Super Mario Brothers, but it only happens in the hidden Warp Zone levels and Glitch levels, not in the main game.
SMB offers around 300 levels to try and get through. The main path, darkside versions of those levels which offer more of a challenge, and hidden Warp Zones. The Warp Zones can be throwbacks to old school games, either looking like an Atari 2600 or a Game Boy among other graphical looks. Warp Zones can also offer other characters to play as. Team Meat reached out to their Indie dev friends to bring in all kinds of characters from other games. The 360 and PC version share some of the same characters but they each have a different set of Bandage characters, these are characters you unlock as you collect the often difficult to grab bandages in the levels. The only character from the 360 version I would of liked to see in the PC version is the guy from Spelunky as I'm a huge fan of that game but with Spelunky coming out on the XBLA it makes since he's in that version.
I want to also mention the support for this game. When SMB came out on the PC it has some bugs on release. I only saw the crash on exit bug but some people couldn't even play the game. Team Meat has done an amazing job of patching this game in the short amount of time it's been out. From what I understand it's just one dude doing all the code and they're churning out patches like mad. Most major developers take ages to patch a game and these guys are on it all the time. I commend Team Meat for this and even with the buggy (for some) release of SMB they have earned my money for anything they put out! Huzzah! To them!
At the time of this writing I have not finished SMB as I'm stuck on World 4 and it's really kicking my butt. But I can safely say this game is really high up there for being my game of the year and in a year of a lot of disappointing releases it's awesome to see this one come out and rise to the top.
Super Meat Boy - 10 out 10, Play it! Even if you just play the demo everyone needs to try it out. See how two guys can make a game that's better than most big studios.