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Preview: Super Meat Boy

Chris Buffa

Super Meat Boy could become our newest addiction. Microsoft and developer Team Meat brought the Xbox Live version to E3, and we thoroughly enjoyed beating levels at the expense of the game's hero. If sacrificing one's body to rescue a fair maiden held hostage by a fetus sounds like a fun time (and it certainly should), this downloadable game should make it onto your most wanted list.

The game's interesting combination of genres makes it entertaining. Super Meat Boy is both a platformer and a puzzle game. It challenges you to guide the adorable Meat Boy through levels full of razor sharp saw blades that spin in place and fly out from different locations. Meat Boy cannot sustain damage, so wandering too close to a blade results in a delightful explosion of red goop. On the positive side, the little guy has multiple lives, so as soon as he dies, you return to the beginning of a level, which may or may not be the worst thing if you were just about to finish. At least Team Meat leaves Meat Boy's bloody remnants throughout each map to remind you of past mistakes.

There are no time limits, so you can either run through each stage (not recommended), or analyze each section to figure out the best possible strategies. Meat Boy can wall jump, so it's in your best interest to ascend mountains and leap over anything sharp. Then, if you succeed, the game shows a replay starring each Meat Boy that you used, so it's cool to see a bunch of them die at specific locations while the one loner eventually reaches the end. Complete a level in record time, and you can upload that score to an online leaderboard.

There's also a tremendous amount of content. Super Meat Boy has seven chapters comprised of 20 regular and dark levels, so 40 each. In addition, there are four warp zones, one of which is a level with original Game Boy style graphics. And if you play indie games, you'll recognize some familiar faces. Team Meat will include Tim (from Braid), Commander Video (from Bit.Trip fame) and other characters to play as, each of whom has signature abilities; Commander Video, for example, can hover for brief periods of time.

All of this makes Super Meat Boy quite intriguing. We just wish it had a release date, but the developers assured us that it's "coming soon;" it will also appear on WiiWare, PC and Mac. For now, we'll have to settle for having dreams of leaping across saw blades and watching a clump of meat explode into messy chunks.

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