Oct. 25, 2010 at 8:56 PM ET
Imagine a game in which you’re asked to play a cube of meat -– a cube of meat who must save his girlfriend (who happens to be made of bandages) from an evil tuxedo-wearing fetus (yes fetus ... as in an unborn baby).
Imagine if this bizarrely nonsensical-sounding game was not only hugely difficult to conquer but also unapologetically bloody?
I mean really, who would make that game ... and who on earth would play it?
Indie gaming superstars Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes have made that game. It's called "Super Meat Boy." And I have played it. And it's super good.
But let's get this said straight away: When you play "Super Meat Boy," you will die. You will die over and over and over again. And then you will die some more.
For the most part, you will enjoy the dying. You will probably even laugh out loud when you die one horrible, abrupt death after another. Though, sometimes, you may want to throw your controller through your TV screen. (Don’t, by the way, throw your controller through your TV screen.)
"Super Meat Boy," which is out as a downloadable game for the Xbox 360 (and will come to Wii and PC next month), is a gleefully macabre 2-D platforming game that cranks platform gaming up to 11.
You will need to run and jump your way through each level, trying to figure out how to get Super Meat Boy to Bandage Girl's side. However, every time you do, that mean Dr. Fetus will steal her away again.
To save Bandage Girl, you'll have to make your way past a labyrinth of buzz saws, lasers, fire and sundry mean nasties. Thankfully since Meat Boy is made of ... well ... uncooked meat, he is a rather sticky fellow. So you will not only send Meat Boy running and jumping about each level, you will also stick him to walls and sort of flop him up, over and around various obstacles.
And all of this will take place at hyper speed. That is, "Super Meat Boy" is one seriously zippy, twitchy game.
But like I said, this game is hard. Indeed, McMillen and Refenes seem to have taken some kind of perverse pleasure in presenting us with delightfully inventive levels in which we must fail time and time again before it's possible to figure our way past Dr. Fetus' deadly traps.
In failing we get to watch Super Meat Boy go sploosh in a spray of blood. And by the time you make your way past some levels, the walls and weaponry will be coated in red meaty gore.
But while "Super Meat Boy" may be difficult, it is an absolute blast to play. The levels are short things (you simply don't have far to go), so when you die you aren't set back too much. And really, it's all just so absurdly delightful. A boy made of meat. A girl made of bandages. One ludicrous obstacle after another. You simply can't wait to see what Team Meat is going to throw in your hero's path next. You can't wait to see just how you will die next.
In fact, I don't think I've died so often and with such surprising glee since playing "Limbo" earlier this year. But while the player's repeated deaths in "Limbo" were these moody and startling things, your frequent deaths in "Super Meat Boy" will make you laugh out loud. You get an endless supply of beefy lives, so feel free to die and die -- to your heart's content.