Super Meat Boy Forever
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Super Meat Boy Forever is a 2020 action-platforming video game developed and published by Team Meat. It was initially released for Microsoft Windows via Epic Games Store and Nintendo Switch. The Steam release will take place on December 23, 2021, when the Epic Games Store year exclusivity will expire.
There are also plans to release on other platforms, but the release date has not been announced yet.
Initially, the game was announced in 2014 and was supposed to be released as a mobile version of Super Meat Boy, but the plans for the programming process of the game were changed as a multi-platform full-fledged sequel in 2017.
While the project was being refreshed, a few employees joined to Team Meat to help with development, such as Kyle Pulver as a lead level designer, known for making Offspring Fling and Snapshot, Lala Fuchs as lead artist, and Paul ter Voorde as an animation director.
The new version of the game was revealed at PAX Prime 2017 and was showcased by Nintendo during their Nindies Summer 2017 Showcase, and the PAX demo of the game was well received by the media. The game was originally scheduled to be released in April 2019, but has been postponed to December 23, 2020, as a temporary exclusive for the Nintendo Switch and Microsoft Windows via Epic Games Store, with console and Steam releases following in 2021.
This is the first Meat Boy game not developed with the help of Edmund McMillen, because Edmund left Team Meat in 2015, focusing on his other IPs, such as The Binding of Isaac and a new IP, The End is Nigh, so of the two designers of the prequel, Tommy Refenes remained. Additionally, this is the first game in the series where Danny Baranowsky was not responsible for the soundtrack. Instead of Danny, the band Ridiculon was responsible for the composition, who also created the soundtrack for Super Meat Boy for PlayStation 4 and later releases, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, and The End is Nigh.
The game takes place a few years later after the events of Super Meat Boy, when Meat Boy and Bandage Girl are enjoying their lives by having a picnic in Chipper Grove with their accompanying daughter, Nugget. On the same day, Dr. Fetus disturbs the peace by kidnapping their baby. Both are tasked with retrieving Nugget from Dr. Fetus, like Meat Boy, had to get Bandage Girl back in the previous game.
Before defeating the boss, Dr. Fetus in the first four chapters presents a given machine to doom, where additionally Nugget with his behavior as befits a baby, disturbs Dr. Fetus in some occasion.
Some scenes alternate moments after defeating the first four bosses in which the squirrel and his crew, who could still be seen in Super Meat Boy, takes revenge on Dr. Fetus, which initially disturbed the peace in the forest.
After defeating Dr. Fetus, the squirrel who was about to take revenge on Fetus, suddenly passed out, accidentally pressing a button that activates both the time freeze and a little later transforming Meat Boy and Bandage Girl into those of the future, while they will be transported to another reality. After defeating Omega Alpha, they find Nugget who has been teleported to where Meat Boy and Bandage Girl are located, where Dr. later arrives. Fetus, which is later kicked into the abyss that brings them back to their last place on Earth, while Meat Boy and Bandage Girl return to the present. After that, Dr. Fetus lost the jar with the suit he was on, resulting in him being defeated and each of them exiting from that place.
Super Meat Boy Forever, unlike the previous games of the series, is an auto-runner with randomly generated levels by the game seed, which can be rearranged, that is visible when you click "New Game". Throughout the game, you only control two buttons, one that allows you to jump and punch, and another one that allows you to crouch and punch from the ground.
Your main task is to go through the platforming levels, where at the end of the levels you meet the seated Nugget until you don't get close, then Dr. Fetus again kidnaps her in a variety of ways. Just like Super Meat Boy, the game has several bosses at your disposal, but in this case, you are allowed to defeat them (when in the previous game you were allowed to avoid their shots or escape from them) in different ways, depending on the location of the event and the tactics of the bosses.
- It is a terrible idea to create a sequel that in terms of gameplay brings to mind mobile games, because not only was the game developed for a long time, but the players who prefer platforming games in which you can move freely may feel cheated, especially fans of the previous game, who waited for this game for a decade. From the first assumption, it was actually supposed to come out on phones when it was first developed, which is not a bad idea, but it hurts the fact that once Edmund McMillen, one of the main members of Team Meat, who developed Super Meat Boy, left the development team in 2015, it was ported to mainstream platforms in 2017 and converted to a full-fledged sequel, and the mobile release itself was delayed.
- Instead of creative levels, designed entirely by a designer, the game features randomly generated levels, along with a random seed that can be modified. It's a good thing for roguelike games, but absolutely not for platformers.
- Basically, even if the seed is random, the levels (in the sense of a given stage that you compare to the same level, having a different seed) look almost the same, with only slight variations that the seed manages.
- The worst thing about it is that the levels are not only absolutely boring and bland, they are also long, which is even dismissive.
- According to one of the reviewers, randomness does not always generate perfect levels. It happens that you hit a level with an error that makes it impossible to complete it, for example on some seed, Meat Boy got stuck between the hook and dynamite at some point, making it impossible to move the hero.
- In the settings, when you want to switch the subtitle language, some languages do not have the same font as others. The problem only affects Asian and Slavic languages. What's even worse, the creators made for Polish users one big bait, because in the settings, when you look at the language settings, the font appears, and the Polish player might think that there will be no such case as in Russian, which is visible at first sight, but when you set it to Polish, the font is completely different and brings to mind a standard font from the Windows operating system. So playing with these languages doesn't make sense, because this font is completely inaccurate to the game, which makes it look pathetic and it feels like the game was rushed.
- To add the insult of the injury, Polish subtitles from the previous game had the right font, but somehow in Forever it doesn't work.
- The game suffers from a few problems that may not destroy its playability, they are a bit irritating.
- Sometimes has problems with the HUD, which cannot decide what size it should be - whether it be microscopic or giant. This problem is most noticeable in The Lab chapter.
- There is a drop in frames per second for some reason, which is especially noticeable in the Switch version in later chapters, although the PC version is also not better, because if you have set the maximum settings, even with the hardware using the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card, the game seems to be less smooth. Although patches have been announced that will manage to get rid of frame rate problems.
- The controls are not only limited to two buttons but also are hopeless overall. One button is for jumping and punching, and the other is for crouching and punching from the ground. While it might be embarrassingly simple to master, these two different actions for one button are inaccurate, at least for the first one where you jump and punch.
- The worst situation can be with the boss, because at certain points you are forced to jump and punch, for example, when you beat the Big Slugger, run away from chainsaws with jumps and you have to punch four buttons, to hit, you cannot simply click the button because it activates the jump, you only need to mush the same button to punch, and when you have a situation to escape from chainsaws, you can't make a mistake to use the buttons in this situation, just leave them alone for a moment and later jump on another wall.
- The fact that this is an auto-runner doesn't help yet, and this mechanic is practically always there, even in the boss stages, so they can cause a fake difficulty for boss stages.
- Sometimes it happens that the main character does not react to a jump, even on a functional keyboard, especially when you are close to the abyss.
- The Warp Zones are extremely difficult to find, especially since the game is sprinkled with a random seed that will hide even collectibles in random places. It all depends on your luck, grind in the case of finding, and complete knowledge of the levels in your seed.
- The bosses are horrendously bad and they're all additionally frustrating to defeat, mainly because of the game's nightmarish controls. Admittedly, they are an improvement over the bosses from the previous game, but the fact remains that defeating bosses with auto-runner mechanics is simply unacceptable. The problem is that as mentioned before, the two buttons are not enough to patiently with trial and error defeat them.
- The worst boss of all is Dr. Fetus which is outrageously disastrously realized because he only summons a huge number of clones that differ only in that they are not flying, unlike to original Dr. Fetus at the moment.
- Omega Alpha is an extremely boring boss to defeat because the only thing it can do to stop you is hands you have to run from and attack from, and over and over again.
- False advertising: According to the developers, the game has over 7,200 levels, which is completely a lie. In fact, there are only 66 platforming levels (if you have to include both Light World and Dark World levels from five chapters + sixth bonus chapter known as OXDEADBEEF, with six levels), with five Warp Zones, and five bosses (with a sixth secret boss), which make the whole game having 77 levels in total. It looks as if the developers were also counting the same stages that were randomly generated by the seed.
- Another thing that shows how lazily this game is done, its prequel, which perhaps had much shorter levels to complete, but were definitely more interesting, had not only much more levels but also chapters and Warp Zones.
- The in-game animations are stiff, including running, climbing, and jumping. Apparently, the reason is the budget, which was definitely more used for the gameplay and cutscenes.
- Very low replay value. Theoretically, the reason for the replay value were seeds with randomly generated levels, in fact, players will feel more tired of the control scheme or the game concept they don't like than they will experience levels that even after the seed will causing randomising, the levels look similar.
- As was the case in Super Meat Boy, when you had a certain character unlocked, each playable character had any trait that made the gameplay stand out, while Forever barely shows a difference between them, when it comes to other characters' different skill. In this case, the characters differ mainly cosmetically and the sound effects have been replaced, and it barely affects the gameplay at all. Additionally, existing characters from other games that were part of Super Meat Boy are missing. At most, some characters differ in speed or climbing, especially Brownie, Meatsona, and Tofu. The most notable is Tofu, a joke character derived from Flash game, Tofu Boy, PeTA's parody game of a 2008 Flash game, Meat Boy, distinguished by the fact that the character is completely useless due to his physical activity comparable to zombies (although Tofu has already appeared as a secret character in the previous installment).
- The soundtrack by Ridiculon, while being well done, feels not as good compared to Danny Baranowsky or even Ridiculon's own soundtrack for Super Meat Boy. First of all, some songs are just there to exist to such an extent that are forgettable, especially tracks from the Chipper Grove and The Clinic chapters (only Light World and Dark World levels themes). On the other hand, some songs have no connection with Meat Boy's atmosphere and bring to mind Nintendo games like Animal Crossing or Mario, rather than Team Meat's hardcore platforming game, especially Sex and Violins and Beef Flat, which are more like songs derived from country-themed games.
- The game, although it only costs $20, which is not a price for a game that plays like a mobile game, is too expensive, and for $20-$15, there are better indie games, like Celeste, Hollow Knight, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, and even better to buy the previous game, which is better in almost every way, is about $5 cheaper than this. The exact price for Forever should be $5 at best.
- Super Meat Boy is one of the most popular games for doing a speedrun, Forever is totally contrary to this, due to its randomly generated levels and auto-runner mechanics take away any sense to do any speedruns. Despite these contradictions, one of the speedrunners realized what tactic to use to move faster than usual. You have to use the punch button and a moment later do fall quickly, using the button for crouch, which will make the character move faster.
- The hardware requirements are a joke for an indie game with graphics that usually, if not always, not require powerful hardware. According to Game Debate, for recommended requirements you need AMD Radeon HD 6770 or Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 graphics card, which is laughable. Many other indie games with a similar art style or a different style that will impress visually do not require as demanding a graphics card for the size of such games.
- The graphics, along with its art-style, look wonderful and impressive. It is true that pixel-art, which was visible in previous games in this series, has been abandoned, it does not change the fact that its cartoon presentation still is done incredibly well.
- The soundtrack is good, though flawed compared to Super Meat Boy. Ridiculon, who did a really good job with a soundtrack of The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, managed to create some great and memorable tracks. The most noticeable songs, such as:
- Title Screen: The song that appears in the main menu is a huge improvement over the title screen music used in the Xbox 360 and PC versions of Super Meat Boy, which was one of the most disappointing tracks of Danny Baranowsky's career (which was fortunately replaced with Ridiculon's 2015 title screen music).
- Udder Catastrophe: The track that plays in Chipper Grove chapter, when you are beating the first boss called Big Slugger, the greater successor to Lil' Slugger.
- Tenuous: Used in Light World levels in the third chapter, Tetanusville.
- Ground Beef: It also comes from chapter known as Tetanusville, expect during beating the third boss called Lab Guardian.
- Nobody's Gyro: Used in Light World levels in the fourth chapter, The Lab. Some people describe one of the best songs in the game, and there are those who wonder who Gyro is (who appears in the title of this track).
- Make No Misteak: The music, derived from the fifth chapter, The Other Side, which plays in the Dark World levels.
- Clutch: The song used in the bonus chapter, 0xDEADBEEF (not including the level with the secret boss).
- The story is surprisingly good, which is extended compared to the prequel, which was then essentially limited to saving Bandage Girl with some actions seen in cutscenes. In this case, not only is the story intertwined to save the child of the main characters, but also actions are presented in which the squirrel known from its predecessor, including its team, takes revenge on Dr. Fetus. There are also actions showing the victim, which is Nugget, in some scenes she is disturbing Fetus, like the average baby, for example clicking the red button on the Big Slugger or playing with a switch that is supposed to activate a light and a large fan.
- The cutscenes are absolutely amazing. Not only do they look much better than in the prequel, they are even longer. Paul ter Voorde, a former animator of Eddsworld, the series of animations by Edd Gould, is responsible for all these cutscenes and animations contained in them. The game cutscenes are reminiscent of the beautiful times of animations made on Adobe Flash, created by a small, though advanced group or practically one person, which were shared on Newgrounds or YouTube.
- Great humor which does not age. The humor remains intact, showing off the sense of humor of Flash animations era or Super Meat Boy itself.
- There are characteristic for Dr. Fetus showing often the middle finger, where, in the funniest case, Nugget herself learns to do it, showing a middle finger to butterflies.
- Returning to the middle finger, not only they are represented by Fetus and in one case by Nugget, they also appear as a scanning password and one of the designed gates.
- In the first Warp Zone, Break the Slugger, after destroying Lil' Slugger, comes Dr. Fetus, posting "Some teenagers messed up my car".
- There are characteristic for Dr. Fetus showing often the middle finger, where, in the funniest case, Nugget herself learns to do it, showing a middle finger to butterflies.
- This is the first game to feature a new character, Nugget, daughter of Meat Boy and Bandage Girl. She is cute, reflects well the behavior of a modern baby, and there has never been a situation that ever irritates, but at best makes the player laugh in some cutscenes.
- The Warp Zones, even though there are only five, are dazzling and wonderfully executed. Unlike the Warp Zones from Super Meat Boy, which were also inspired by other games, but limited only to platforming stages, in Super Meat Boy Forever it's something completely different, something everyone deserves. The Warp Zones feature five mini-games heavily inspired by games from the Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Nintendo era.
- Break the Slugger: A mini-game in which, as the name says, you are destroying Lil' Slugger, which is standing still.
- Test Your Meat: A mini-game inspired by Midway's Mortal Kombat, or more specifically a mini-game called Test Your Might. The task is to control Meat Boy located in the left rectangular capsule, which manipulates the yellow bar after controlling him. When the bar is full to the line the game shows, you win the round by destroying the board, diamond, and saw.
- Super Knockout Boy: A mini-game inspired by Nintendo's 1987 sports game, Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!. The task is to dodge his attacks made by C.H.A.D. and to punch him when C.H.A.D. will stop punching at Meat Boy.
- Mega Bandage: A mini-game inspired by Capcom's Mega Man. This is the first Warp Zone where you control Bandage Girl. The task is to defeat Dr. Fetus in a small arena, shooting at him, while avoiding the saws he throws and those that appear behind the Bandage Girl.
- M-Zero: A mini-game inspired by another Nintendo-published game, F-Zero. Contrary to F-Zero, there's no opponent, but in this case you should avoid the burnt and/or dead Meat Boy clones.
- Extremely creative and fun animations, both in the menu, pausing the game, and when you are completing stages on the 0xDEADBEEF chapter.
- While you pause the game, there are over a dozen animations with Dr. Fetus in the lead role, and in some animations are accompanied by Nugget. Dr. Fetus, as for an ill-mannered fetus, shows his aggression both for the viewer and sometimes for Nugget, showing a middle finger as usual, complaining something Nugget is doing with him, and sometimes he shows that he has rabies for no reason.
- The animations that result in the bonus chapters show specific activities related to the personal computer, usually on the desktop, for example moving the Nugget.PNG file to Recycle Bin, and opening the Fetus_final.PNG and Fetus_top-layer.PNG files, which one of them shows the middle finger. It is also worth mentioning animations like SuperMeatBoyForever.EXE has stopped working error, management in Microsoft Paint, and confirmation that you are not a bot.
- Like Super Meat Boy, there are references to other games, mainly those from the third and fourth generation consoles.
- The first cutscene of Chipper Grove refers to the first cutscene from Nintendo's and Square's role-playing game, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, where Princess Peach was kidnapped by Bowser, in this case Dr. Fetus kidnaps Nugget.
- The Clinic's cutscene refers to Konami's platforming game, Rocket Knight Adventures, where it shows Meat Boy and Bandage Girl on the mountain top with an accompanying sword.
- In the case of Tetanusville chapter, there is a similarity to one of the famous cutscenes from another Konami-published run and gun game, Contra III: The Alien Wars.
- In the fourth chapter, The Lab, there is a cutscene refering to Nintendo's and Intelligent Systems' action-adventure game, Super Metroid.
- The Other Side's cutscene is referring to SquareSoft's role-playing game, Chrono Trigger.
- The first cutscene of the 0xDEADBEEF chapter is referring to Nintendo's and HAL Laboratory's platforming game, Kirby's Adventure.
- For each new level of the main chapters, there are new gimmicks that partly make the game more interesting, due to their innovations, for example the portal in The Lab, the key with a lock and a hook in Tetanusville, a pile of glass in The Clinic, and more.
- The characters, while mostly differing only cosmetically, are interesting, but also amusingly designed, as playable characters. Additionally, some bosses are playable characters, such as Manic and Dr. Fetus. The most noticeable ones are:
- Dr. Fetus: Shows the middle finger while punching.
- Prototype Boy: This is actually the first Meat Boy design that was used in a prototype for this game.
- Some memorable Warp Zone characters:
- Meatsona: He differs in the art design, paying tribute to the styling of early Mortal Kombat games, alongside with his sound effects.
- F-Meat: Race car with Meat Boy skin.
- Relationship Goals: The merger of Meat Boy and Bandage Girl.
- Extremely unexpected plot twist appears. There is a moment when the secret boss is none of the enemies that appeared before or the regular enemies that appeared during the game, or even Brownie, the friend of Meat Boy, but it turns out that the bonus boss is Meat Ninja himself (Meat Boy from the future), making that Brownie becomes a playable character. Unlike the other bosses, this is not a fight, but a race.
- The bonus chapter called 0xDEADBEEF is extremely original and completely unexpected for the Meat Boy series. Unlike the other chapters from each game in this series, there is completely different atmosphere and it is a case that is out of touch with reality. In this world you are facing a world that is a combination of all the chapters from this game, transforming it into a world filled with technical problems encountered on personal computers and deliberately presenting, for example, a glitch with enemies, who in some cases are upside down, floating on the invisible and untouchable object.
While Super Meat Boy was critically acclaimed by critics and players, considering it one of the greatest games of all time, Forever is undoubtedly less well received, not only among the players who mostly found the game a disappointment, but also from critics. The previous game mostly fluctuated with ratings like 8-10 out of 10, while Forever's ratings border on mainly 6-7 out of 10, and in the worst case 4/10 among critics, with even worse reception by players.
On Metacritic, the Nintendo Switch version holds a score of 66/100 ("Mixed or average reviews") based on 35 reviews, while the PC versions received 70/100 ("Mixed or average reviews") based on 19 reviews. In turn, players were less favorable, resulting an average score of 4.1/10 on the PC version and 4.9/10 on the Nintendo Switch version.
On OpenCritic, the game received a rating of "Fair", an average score of 67/100 and a 40% critics recommend, based on 53 reviews.
Giving for the game 2/5 stars, Scott Baird of Screen Rant considers that "The original Super Meat Boy was one of the greatest platformers of all time. The same cannot be said of Super Meat Boy Forever, which traded almost everything that made the original game fun for something that could be played endlessly" and stated that "Super Meat Boy Forever is not enjoyable enough to even want to play a second time, and fans would do well to pay no heed to the implication of playing "forever" that's made by the game's ambitious title."
British magazine Metro gave the game a 4/10, stating that Super Meat Boy Forever is "a hugely disappointing sequel, where the high difficulty, restrictive controls, and randomly-generated levels all contribute to a thoroughly miserable platforming experience."
Attack of the Fanboy gave for Super Meat Boy Forever 3/5 stars, which means "Meh", saying that the game is "a disappointing follow-up to one of the best platformers of all time" and stating that Forever "leaves a bad taste" due to "a drastic change from traditional platformer to auto-runner".
Giving a 6/10, God is a Geek's Lyle Carr considers that Forever "just can't live up to the 2010 classic." Criticism was about the limited controls and boss fights they "make it hard to recommend."
- The game was originally going to be released as a mobile version of Super Meat Boy, which was supposed to be called Super Meat Boy: The Game. Additionally, from the first assumption, for each mishap made by the player, resulting in the death of the controlled character, the level was generated completely randomly, instead of the levels being generated by starting the game with a new seed.
- Edmund McMillen had something to do only with the prototype mobile version. He did not participate in the development of the final version, which was first announced in 2017.
- The game uses crying Baby Mario sound effect from Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, when Nugget was kidnapped by Dr. Fetus in the first cutscene of Chipper Grove chapter.
- Paul ter Voorde, the guy who made the cutscenes, was previously working on Eddsworld.
Cutscenes and Boss Fights
- YouTube - 8 Minutes of Super Meat Boy Forever - PAX Prime: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nskmQxJOMwY
- Destructoid - Super Meat Boy Forever is a 'true sequel' due out in 2018: https://www.destructoid.com/super-meat-boy-forever-is-a-true-sequel-due-out-in-2018-458038.phtml
- Twitter - Edmund McMillen's tweet about leaving Team Meat: https://twitter.com/edmundmcmillen/status/1312824474513764352
- Nintendo Switch PL's review: https://www.nintendoswitch.pl/klops-recenzja-super-meat-boy-forever/
- Ins_Sane's Super Meat Boy Forever speedrun playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJoO9I9yEUU&list=PL-8OD4mA1xCpv7AHwURGXxROPa7rem2GQ
- Game Debate - Super Meat Boy Forever system requirements: https://www.game-debate.com/games/index.php?g_id=35889&game=Super%20Meat%20Boy%20Forever
- Metacritic - the Nintendo Switch version: https://www.metacritic.com/game/switch/super-meat-boy-forever
- Metacritic - the PC version: https://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/super-meat-boy-forever
- OpenCritic's page of the game: https://opencritic.com/game/7498/super-meat-boy-forever
- Screen Rant's review: https://screenrant.com/super-meat-boy-forever-game-review/
- Metro's review: https://metro.co.uk/2021/01/06/super-meat-boy-forever-review-tough-and-chewy-13859415/
- Attack of the Fanboy's review: https://attackofthefanboy.com/reviews/super-meat-boy-forever-review/
- God is a Geek's review: https://www.godisageek.com/reviews/super-meat-boy-forever-review/
- FANDOM - Paul ter Voorde (Eddsworld Wiki): https://eddsworld.fandom.com/wiki/Paul_ter_Voorde