STAFF REVIEW of Super Meat Boy Forever (Xbox One)


Saturday, May 1, 2021.
by Adam Dileva

Super Meat Boy Forever Box art I still remember the days of booting up my Xbox 360 and checking out the newest releases on Xbox Live Arcade. XBLA was generally a place where you could find smaller indie games, and a handful were essentially the ‘face’ of these types of games. Super Meat Boy was one of these, a smaller indie game but caught a lot of attention with its perfect yet challenging gameplay. It’s crazy to think that more than a decade has gone by since the world was introduced to Super Meat Boy, and while the gaming landscape has changed quite dramatically since, the time has finally come for a sequel; aptly titled Super Meat Boy Forever.

Taking place after the events of the first game, Super Meat Boy Forever starts off by showing the latest member of the family to join Meat Boy and Bandage Girl, their small bundle of joy: Nugget. Nugget is absolutely adorable beyond measure, and while on a picnic in the park, that nasty Dr. Fetus returns to kidnap their offspring. So obviously Meat Boy and Bandage Girl set on a quest to get back their baby, but doing so won’t be easy, literally.

Super Meat Boy was known not only for its precise gameplay and controls, but its brutal difficulty. It wasn’t uncommon to die well over a hundred times in a level, but that sense of accomplishment you get when you do finally complete a stage is insurmountable. Super Meat Boy Forever is no different, as you’ll be jumping, dashing, punching and diving your way through levels, but expect to die a countless amount of times once again.

Now with most sequels the core gameplay doesn’t all change that often, usually just evolving or improving in some aspect, so the change to Super Meat Boy Forever is quite a drastic one as it’s now an auto-runner. This means that once the level starts, your character starts running in the forward direction automatically with no real way to slowdown or stop. I have a feeling this is going to turn off some original fans with such a drastic change. Yes it’s different, and yes, it takes a lot of getting used to, but the controls still feel familiar in a weird way. Just because you don’t control Meat Boy’s movement in a traditional sense, don’t for a second think this neuters the difficulty in any way, as it’s still far from easy. If anything, you almost have to be even more precise and perfect with timing your jumps and slides.


Since you don’t have to control Meat Boy’s movement with the stick you basically only need to learn two buttons. Pressing one of the face buttons will cause you to jump, and if you press it again in the air you will dash forward with a punch, also used to combo into enemies to go further. Pressing Down will cause you to slide, slipping underneath buzz saws and other obstacles but also diving quickly downwards to avoid objects as well. It may seem simplistic to only have two inputs, but the level designs are so well done that you’ll lose count of your deaths after a short while. The only issue I really had with this button setup is that since jump and punch are the same button, you can sometimes inadvertently punch dash instead of jump before you land on a platform, causing a quick death.

While the auto-runner is a drastic change, it’s not the only one. Levels are somewhat randomized when you start your game save as well. Apparently the developers made tons of ‘chunks’, basically small sections of levels which are then used based on the randomized seed you get at the beginning of the game. So each level is a handful of these ‘chunks’ put together seamlessly for a smooth experience, aside from your repeated deaths of course.

This means that every playthrough is going to seem completely unique every time you play. I’m not sure how many are going to want to replay through all over again if you do manage to complete it, but the replay value is near endless because of this design, allowing you to play almost forever, as the title suggests. While some will miss the handcrafted feel to each level, it’s going to take quite a while before you see any repeated levels. I actually got so frustrated early on and stuck that I decided to start a new game to see how different the levels would actually be, and yeah, they can be dramatically different.


Levels feel much longer than the original game, but there’s a decently forgiving checkpoint system in place that will spawn you back at when you do eventually die, usually only a few short jumps back from where you were, which I can assume is where the ‘chunks’ are seamed together. With a handful of worlds, each one is broken into six or so stages each before you get to take on a massive boss fight. These were the highlight of the experience with Super Meat Boy Forever, as they are massive room bosses, challenging you into figuring out how to actually defeating them. Finally beating these bosses are immensely satisfying the first time you finally manage to do so.

It seems almost every world introduces you to a new mechanic the further you progress as well, not only keeping things fresh and you on your toes, but also keeping the challenge and difficulty ramping up. For example, in the second world all of a sudden you’ll have to deal with waterfalls of broken glass, that if you stay in it too long you will die. A small indicator appears around you and once it fills up in a few short seconds you’ll die, so you need to constantly be moving and plan your jumps accordingly. Some levels will require you to find keys for locked cages, blocks that change based on your jumps and slides and more. These new mechanics are introduced at a steady pace, but it can feel quite overwhelming at times.

While visually everything still looks like classic Meat Boy, it definitely looks more polished and sharp overall and the gameplay is smooth as it gets. Each world has its own aesthetic and theme, so there’s some variety, but the real improvements and treat are with the cutscenes between worlds after beating a boss. These cartoons are high quality and animated quite well. While the soundtrack may not be quite as memorable as the first due to a different team, it still is quite good and changes based on the world you’re in.


If you’re an achievement hunter, you’re in for a world of hurt. Many are tied to completing levels without dying, so goodluck with that. There’s plenty of collectibles to find along the way as well which are in very difficult to reach areas, so there’s plenty to do even if you manage to complete all the levels somehow.

While many of its fundamentals have changed, some of which veterans may disagree with, it still has that same essence that made Super Meat Boy so great in the first place. I won’t lie, some levels took me well over a hundred deaths to complete, yet I still wanted to keep going to save Nugget thanks to the generous checkpoint system utilized. Super Meat Boy Forever has the potential to be played almost forever, or it may take you that long to simply beat it.

**Super Meat Boy Forever was reviewed on an Xbox Series X**




Overall: 8.0 / 10
Gameplay: 9.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10

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