21
Dec
10

Super Meat Boy Impressions

In a world with Super Meat Boy, who needs Donkey Kong Country anymore?  Both games are challenging, but I felt only Meat Boy’s frantic design was actually rewarding.  When I first started playing, it blew my face off.  It can be a very difficult and exacting game, where a small slip up in timing or precision can put you right back at the beginning of the level.  Being that levels rarely take longer than one minute to complete (usually less) the penalty for starting over is next to nothing.  Furthermore, the levels are designed such that you’re always able to understand what you have to do to complete them; the challenge lies in making your hands deliver what your brain already envisions.  Unlike Donkey Kong Country Returns, I’ve never yet blamed the game for “cheap” deaths.  I know I can do it, and I always feel like I’m on the brink of pulling it off.

But this is where the vicious cycle kicks in.  Hot off the heels of one level, I feel awesome and am ready to take on the next.  Sometimes I do manage to fly through a few levels, but it’s only a matter of time before the game goes back to kicking my ass.  And I start telling myself again that I am the little engine that could beat that level.  But the little engine wants more and repeats this until his mind reaches the breaking point, and all that is left is an existential rage.  While chatting with @Raisins about it, I came to the conclusion that this is not a fun game.  It is very demanding game that can be very satisfying, and is a relentlessly compulsive experience.  This is one of those games that’s built for people that have been playing similar games for years and years already.  I’m sure people who haven’t can jump in and get the hang of it, but they will either end up being committed to learning how to play or become extremely frustrated.  It offers a brand of intensity that I haven’t encountered in a game in quite a while. And I like it.

By the way, it’s on sale at Steam.

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