The sequel to one of the best 2D platformers in history has turned out to be a game full of controversy and change, but just as challenging and addictive.
When a developer doesn’t send you code for an Reviews (or sends it late) and your text comes out after the rest, let’s face it, any writer feels the breath of Metacritic on their neck. The loss of interest in your piece, of that criticism that anyone will be able to read before in 1,200 other sites, is bad enough, but on top of that, you have to be careful not to see the notes of the rest and not let yourself go. influence by what others have previously said. That seems easy, but it is not. You often remember what your parents said: but what difference does it make to you what other people think? Well, look, mom, most of the time it comes off me, but there are others where it does, it does affect me and it matters. No matter how many armor you wear and how many walls you build around you, there is always something that ends up hitting you from the inside. Imagine that suddenly you fall in love with a game like Super Meat Boy Forever and, when you get home and preach your love to the world, you go and discover that you are a Montague, Meat Boy a Capulet and your relationship, something impossible. Because that is how society has ruled it. Because as you start talking to him in verse, or chasing him around the balconies, they will look at you badly on forums and social networks, you will start to hear the briefcase joke and many will assure you that you have thrown away the credibility of your magazine. Not to mention the lack of respect and the persecutions. That being the case, who would not be affected? Who wouldn’t be tempted to take a look at pages like Opencritic to take advantage of the fact that it comes out later, get out of trouble, put on an even number and let the text speak for itself? Everyone, absolutely everyone. But of course, that’s where professional deontology comes in, also known as the wonderful end of Ratatouille, which taught us that “negative reviews are fun to write and read, but there are times when a critic has to take a risk for discovery and the defense of something new ”. And that is what we are going to do today. All this spiel has been to gather courage and tell you that, despite the consequences and even being aware of the 4 that users have cracked, we liked Super Meat Boy Forever a lot and we are going to defend it tooth and nail. Because we are late, but wanting to fight.
A sequel peppered with controversial decisions
The good thing about showing up late to the party is that we can cut to the chase. By now we all know the host and, to a greater or lesser extent, we have heard about the controversies that accompany him. Reviewing them to the flying pen, Super Meat Boy Forever has undergone review bombing for five reasons: it is an auto-runner, it barely uses a couple of buttons, it was conceived as a mobile game, it has procedurally generated levels and it has been developed without it. creator of the original Super Meat Boy, Edmund McMillen. In the museum of zeros of Metacritic, most of the showcases expose these reasons as justification for everything. We are not going to deny that the change is huge and that it takes time to get used to it. Super Meat Boy Forever is aware that it cannot beat its predecessor. At the end of the day we are talking about one of the heights of two-dimensional platforms and one of the titles that broke the glass ceiling of indie games. Around him there is already both myth and reality. For this reason, instead of following in his footsteps and condemning himself to perish under his long shadow, Super Meat Boy Forever chooses to rebel against his father and seeks his own path. If you are of a conservative nature with the sequels and you do not carry the changes well, this installment is going to drive you crazy. It’s almost best to stick with The End is Nigh, McMillen’s brilliant bastard son, who, while also having some differences, has much more in common with the original formula. But if you are willing to give the news a sincere opportunity (just not, sincere), you are going to find another great platform in Super Meat Boy Forever. You may not have to swear in this type of text, but this is a game in which there is more blood than in a Tarantino movie and in which more combs are made than sometimes say fuck in Scorsese’s filmography. And hell is the softest thing you are going to release from your mouth when you die for the forty-hundredth time.
What if he is an auto-runner, what if Edmund McMillen has not done it, what if at first it was going to be for mobile … Are those really the problems of Super Meat Boy Forever?
Are you an auto-runner? If it is. The character moves forward at full speed automatically. What’s wrong with it? It is one more proposal within the genre of platforms. Bit. Trip Runner 2 was too, and it’s a great game. Also, in the first Super Meat Boy there were many levels of the style. Phases in which the margin of the screen was our end, it moved and forced us to pull forward yes or yes. Not to mention the wonderful musical levels of the latest Raymans. Rejecting all auto-runners by decree is as absurd as defenestrating a platform for being in three dimensions. If it were bad, then still, but it is possible that Super Meat Boy Forever is one of the best auto-runners that ever lived. Does it just use a couple of buttons? Right. But that’s what the whore said to the shameful sailor: “Hey, handsome, it’s not a matter of what you have, but how you use it.” With its two buttons, Super Meat Boy Forever has more movements, objects and mechanics than the original (in which by the way it was enough to press three, let’s not fool ourselves). Was it initially going to be a mobile game? That’s right, and that’s not why you have to look at it over your shoulder. Then we get offended when someone from outside the industry does the same, when they treat video games with an air of superiority and exclude them from art and culture. When you generalize. Let’s not do the same with the iOS and Android catalog. There is everything in it. Titles that were born on mobiles and later triumphed on consoles, such as the Horizon Chase saga. Others that went the opposite way, like Plants vs Zombies and that second numbered installment. Or the originals of the platform, see Monument Valley (to see who is the heartless that messes with him). Whether a game is for mobile affects its design and approach, true, but to what extent is debatable. Without going too far, Bit series. Trip is a reference in the world of auto-runners and was born on the desktop. And in any case, how it was conceived does not matter. Super Meat Boy Forever ended up deciding that it would come out on consoles more than three years before its release, so most of its development has ended up being with these in mind.
Dismantling the review bombers
The rest of prejudices and criticisms fall under their own weight. Do you have procedurally generated levels? Not quite, but it does something similar and it’s lucky. The first Super Meat Boy was very long, but thanks to the dark levels and the collection of plasters (with which we unlocked more and more characters, secrets and extra phases). However, at the moment of the truth, for the common of the mortals the thing did not go much beyond the luminous world. Difficulty took care of it. In the sequel, and thanks to this novelty, the little stumps will have as many levels of light as games believe. Its lifespan skyrockets. A “world generator” on which a lot of hoax has appeared. It is not true, for example, that you can play a first level more difficult than the rest of the game. Not at all. The worlds have tutorials that are practically identical for all players and they gradually increase the duration of their levels. In addition, each one has its own mechanics and progression. Boxes of explosives, hooks, gems with extra boosts, teleporters, etc. always appear at the same height. What changes is the design and order of some screens, but they tend to be of similar difficulty and come out of the same mixed bag. Nor is it true that the levels feel neglected and that the difference with those “designed by hand” is noticeable. Basically because all of the Super Meat Boy Forever are also designed by hand. The game does not create anything, it does not design. Just choose which screens appear (and in what order) from among those that the studio has previously composed. And there are so spectacular and well executed that, if the game itself really made them on the fly, the design by hand would have its days numbered. The latest accusation against Super Meat Boy Forever is that of the McMillen Taliban, who have launched a crusade against the play simply because its original creator did not collaborate on it. It is true that McMillen is like King Midas and turns everything he touches into gold (The Binding of Isaac), but that does not mean that there are more people with talent and ideas. Some must believe that they are avenging him and doing a favor, when in reality the author does not hold any resentment to Team Meat. “I wish the team all the luck in the world and I am very interested to see what new and spectacular advances they can make with the IP,” he said at the time. Why would he have given us for personal vendettas, purges, cancellations and witch hunts instead of sitting around playing and enjoying ourselves?
Worlds are made up of fewer levels, but because now each level consists of multiple screens, not just one. Technically, the first level of Forever has more phases than the first world of the original.
The key to understanding Super Meat Boy Forever
In the world of cinema, theater or series, the most important thing in a scene is the conflict. At least that’s what the gurus of the script and the dramaturgy say. Conflict, conflict, conflict! Their mouths are filled with the little word and they even distinguish between external and internal conflicts. They explain that a conflict is not choosing between having pizza or hamburger for dinner. If you go through the forest, a wolf attacks you and you have to fight to the death with him to save your life, that is not a conflict, but an obstacle. Conflict is when you have to choose between two things and, whichever you choose, you are going to lose out. It is something that breaks you inside. In the case of the wolf there is no conflict because the choice is clear: kill him and save your life. It is a very interesting subject on which there are dozens of studies, explanations and debate. And it is also the key to understanding Super Meat Boy Forever. Because despite the changes, the soul of the original is there: impossible jumps, precision and speed. Or what is the same, a difficult and addictive game. With that he created his own formula for Coca-Cola, his own generator of fun and happiness. Because if a challenge seems impossible and you overcome it, the satisfaction is maximum (impossible jumps). If you fail but feel like it was your fault (accuracy), you want to try again. And if the respawn gives you a new opportunity in a matter of seconds, you take advantage of it (speed). The artistic section and its staging are very cool and very good, but when it comes to defining what Super Meat Boy is, we all resort to the same thing: a very difficult platform, but addictive as he alone. That is the soul of the first, the soul of the saga. It is likely that Team Meat came to this same conclusion when they began work on the sequel. Super Meat Boy Forever had to be harder and more addictive. However, to achieve what this sequel was meant to be and surprise at the same time, the team had to first give up what many fans wanted it to be (which is more of the same). They had to choose between the play and the audience. Between popular acclaim and feeling that they had made their mark and done what they believed in. A dead end. A decision they were going to lose no matter what they chose. CONFLICT. In the end they have chosen to take risks, get out of their comfort zone and go on their way. For that reason they have made the changes that have been so widely criticized. Super Meat Boy Forever is not the work we wanted, but it was the one we deserved. It is faithful to the spirit of what we once loved, even if it may not seem like it at first.
Without being entirely procedural, the game has a world generator with its own seeds, a la Minecraft.
The increase in difficulty is caused (in part) by his status as an auto-runner. We no longer have time to think about how to get from one point to another. You have to discover it on the fly and improvise a route. The first time they will probably kill us before they find her. Well, the first and the second and the third and … We’re going to die more times than ever. No more waiting quietly to draw up a plan, that the danger passes or that a saw is located where we want. Now we have to face platform sections in conditions that we have not chosen and that, obviously, do not favor us. In addition, we are forced to be aware of more things. Before it was about when to jump, how hard and where we could bounce and land. In Super Meat Boy Forever our attention is divided between new movements, objects, enemies and the need to find places where Meat Boy can be slowed down, or at least made to change direction. It’s another reason we say it’s the game we deserve. We live in a time when, thanks to titles like Souls (among others), difficulty is extolled. We are all pro-gamers and no-hitters. Super Meat Boy Forever is a humility cure and shows that we only like challenges up to a certain point and if we set the rules ourselves, that is, if we choose when we expose ourselves and when, like at school, we are little eggs and it is not worth it. It’s still wildly fair, accurate and satisfying, but the game takes control away from the user and leaves him naked, demanding things from him that he is currently not used to. Some will call it frustrating before adapting to them. We remember that in its day the same happened with the original. Its inclement and impudence were a breath of fresh air back in 2010. If more than a decade later this sequel had limited itself to asking and raising the same thing, we are not going to deceive you, it would have disappointed us a bit. We are happy to see that there are still games capable of making the champions of difficulty cry, who boast their 106% in the first installment. For speedrunners it’s going to be the next GOTY. That surprises and invites everyone to improve could not be better news.
Although it hurts, it is more difficult and addictive than the original. A humbling cure for paladins of difficulty.
One of the greatest virtues of the original was that laughable respawn that brought us back to action in a matter of a couple of seconds. Super Meat Boy Forever maintains it, but puts an end to the precious habit of snorting and stretching the fingers with the doll standing, while we consider whether to continue playing. The sequel decides for us, because as soon as we start it already puts our protagonist to run. There is no time to say “one more”. What there is is one more. And another, and another. The way to consume its content is even more vast if possible. It seems like such a simple (and stupid) approach that it shouldn’t work, but it does. Here you don’t think, you act. There is no doubt, it is played. Incredible as it may sound, it can be even more addictive than the first. This is not only contributed by the fact that he is an auto-runner, but the way of considering the levels. The feeling of solving puzzles floats in the environment. Most of the screens are overcome by doing something concrete that we have to deduce. And of course, as our first times in each level are just flashes, snapshots before death, we are finding solutions little by little and we have a comforting sense of progress. In its predecessor, many times you reached a screen and understood everything. It is not a criticism, far from it, it was immediate and intuitive, great. But when you wanted to stop playing, you entered the shift level, you took a look at it and see you soon. In this one you do not have a panoramic view of the situation (the shots are more closed) and you do not know when what is activated, so you often do not know what the thing is about. For this reason, you are not only bitten by the itch of wanting to overcome a level, but also of finding out how to overcome it. This new approach to puzzles might not have sat well with him (and in fact, as we will see later, it takes its toll on a couple of aspects), but most of the time it ends up trapping us in its networks. How does that object work? And here what is supposed to be done? This is impossible!
The final bosses are memorable. Wonderfully maddening.
The rest of the ingredients that made up that love potion that was the first are still in place. Instead of bandages there are pacifiers, but the rest is the same. We have dark worlds, distortion zones and more than fifteen unlockable characters. The number of minigames, secrets and references continues to be a delight. (Do not miss this video with all the video games to which it pays tribute). There is always something to discover, something to do. When it is not passing a level without dying, it is getting an S rank. Completing it at 100% is only suitable for the brave. On top now it looks better than ever. It maintains its characteristic flash look, but with even more effects, color and definition. It exudes personality and its cinematics are a pleasure to see. The same with its setting, enemies and final bosses. What final bosses! As spectacular as they are difficult, the kind that give nightmares and make you rethink if you were ever good at a video game. The soundtrack has good intentions and goes well, but after so much repeating it ends up being a bit pounding. And for its part, the story, although anecdotal, is endearing and funny. It picks up where the previous one left off and has thirty minute sequences of sequences (thirty!) That, as we said, are a real delight to behold.
Looking at the Reviews, anyone would say that we liked it more than the first one and that we think it is a masterpiece. Let’s not overdo it either. It is true that we have made a swashbuckling defense of his approach, but because we found a method in his madness and many of the criticisms that so endanger the future of the IP seem unfair to us. Super Meat Boy Forever has its obstacles and things that can be improved, but most are not the ones that are blamed on it. On a technical level, for example, phases with a cluster of explosions and enemies on the screen suffer slowdowns. Light and punctual, but slowdowns. Therefore it is true that the respawn is a bit slower and that it does not make any sense that, now that each level consists of several screens, there is not an option in the pause menu to restart them from the beginning. If we are going to overcome a phase without dying and we screw up, we will have to go out to the world map and re-enter that level to start over. The same thing happens with the minigames when we try to beat their maximum score. You have to leave and re-enter. It is somewhat cumbersome, uncomfortable. At the same time, the unlockable characters do not have a gameplay as varied as those of the first, almost being reduced to skins, and some like Brownie or Relationship Goals make us think that markers, ghosts or a cooperative mode would have been good. The game lends itself to it. They are details, little things that take it away from perfection. So far nothing too important. But there are a couple of issues and problems that are.
Like the previous one, the game is full of secrets, extra stages, minigames, collectibles, characters to unlock … and so on.
No, it is not better than the previous one, but …
We let them glimpse in the paragraph in which we talked about their approach to puzzles and the new degree of voracity with which their contents are devoured. Now there are many screens that are focused like a puzzle and in them we must do something concrete to move forward. You have to find a solution that is not always in sight. It is pure trial and error. The first lives of each platform section are spent in trials and experiments, in finding out the way. When we do, is what we said, we will not stop until we beat it. The feeling of progress is very comforting and we are bitten by an even bigger bug than the first Super Meat Boy. But this approach also means that the game cheats and loses one of the keys to it. Because often these puzzles have only one solution (when in the original we could carve our own way). Sometimes we even complicated our lives with the stubbornness of going for a specific place based on bouncing and capering. Here we find many levels that are solved by pressing the action button at the right time and a number of times in particular. The timing ends up having too much weight. In the final boss, for example, it is a matter of finding out what it is and memorizing it (not an easy thing, by the way). There are fewer roads, fewer solutions. Not that the other had a lot, let’s not exaggerate, but the bottleneck sensation was not so pressing. And when we talk about paths, we also mean that in the first one a jump could be done well, badly or regularly, and depending on that, the next one was more or less difficult. Small variations that, when accumulated consecutively, made our journey between blades and dangers something unique, something different from what was experienced by the rest of the players. Here we have moments in which the jumps come out or not, without more. Either we do it as marked or it’s over. It is not a defect that is going to ruin the game (we will only notice it in the last worlds), but there it is.
… has not stayed that far
Curiously, the explanation for this problem is not only detached from the fact that Super Meat Boy Forever is an auto-runner, but from its level design. In them the plane is usually more closed (the camera is closer) and the platform sections are shorter and more horizontal. The verticality and dimensions of the best phases of the original have been lost, the design of which was overwhelming and impressive. And in turn, this is because now each level is much more than a screen. Before each world had 20 levels, for the 5 levels per world that are in Super Meat Boy Forever. In return, each of these five is made up of several different sections that in the first game would have been considered a level unto itself. That is, technically, Super Meat Boy has more phases in its first level than the entire initial world of the previous game. Why does he do this? For his new “world generator”. To make sense, each level has to be made up of several, and for these to fit together, instead of growing upwards, vertically, they have to grow sideways, and they have to be small and manageable, so that they are interchangeable with each other. others and make each game something different. The reasoning is a mess, well, but it explains a decision that has its advantages and disadvantages. Among the first, that the game is even faster, even more difficult and addictive, changing every time we create a new save game and offering a wonderful new sense of progress. Contrary to that, the title is more guided, it depends too much on timing and due to the size of its sections the game is shorter and does not delve too deeply into its ideas. The latter is a shame, because the display of imagination and originality is tremendous. In each new level, Super Meat Boy Forever makes an effort to surprise us with new objects, mechanics and movements, many times serving as a tribute to the history of platforms, from which he rescues his ideas (Super Mario pipes, TNT boxes from Crash Bandicoot, Braid’s time-slowing ring …). He never lets us get bored. But of course, having such short combinations, he hardly fiddles with these contributions and almost never uses two at the same time. He does not give him time, he stays on the surface. Nor is it that the game is short (about 6 hours in the luminous worlds), but by going faster, having fewer paths and playing at once, it lasts less than the previous one and its rhythm and level design prevent you from going deeper. If it had come to do it … oh if it had come to do it!
Metal Gear Solid 3 or Super Meat Boy Forever? The title is full of references to other video games and tributes to the platform genre.
Agree to disagree. Despite the clubs and the review bombing that they have subjected it to, Super Meat Boy Forever seems to us a great platform and one of the best auto-runners we have had the pleasure of playing. The game has drastic changes in its proposal, but there is a method in its madness. The decisions have a reason for being and the soul of the original is still there. Super Meat Boy Forever is even more difficult and addictive. Accurate, satisfying, brutal. For the most conservative we can only recommend returning to The End is Nigh, McMillen’s brilliant bastard son. But those who are willing to give the news a heartfelt opportunity, prepare. Behind the impudence of its mechanics is the fastest and cruellest platform on the market. A game full of secrets, references, winks and content, with better finish than ever and memorable bosses. Its level design, without being bad, far from it, is the only thing that prevents it from reaching higher heights.
- More difficult and addictive than ever.
- He is one of the best auto-runners ever made.
- The final bosses.
- Those spectacular 30 minutes of cinematics.
- The huge amount of secrets, references, winks, minigames …
- It always surprises. Each phase inaugurates new movements, objects, mechanics … A continuous tribute to the genre.
- Even being more replayable, it is shorter.
- It depends too much on timing, giving us less chance to face the screens.
- It does not delve into many of its ideas and mechanics.
- Its level design has lost its size, verticality and spectacle capacity.
A game with a remarkable finish that we will enjoy and remember. A good buy, highly recommended for lovers of the genre. It is well cared for at all levels.