Super Meat Boy Forever trims fat, cooks up 'huge' challenge

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Super Meat Boy Forever trims fat, cooks up 'huge' challenge
Super Meat Boy Forever is as much a game as it is a meat grinder. It's "impossible," but only in the sense that it's similar to The Impossible Game, Grip Games' 2011 auto-running platformer that placed an emphasis on blazing hard difficulty. Super Meat Boy Forever dumps a similar formula into Team Meat's universe, and it's optimized for touch-based controls. "The goal is, this is going to be a Meat Boy that you play everywhere," Team Meat's Tommy Refenes told Joystiq at PAX Prime.

We took a moment to play both the tablet and PC versions of the game at the event, which both relied on two physical (or touch-based) buttons. While Meat Boy never stopped sprinting through the boldly-outlined demo level, he happily jumped, slid and fell to the Earth at a rapid pace on command. Leaping across broad gaps and jumping from wall to wall, our Meat Boy dodged spinning saw blades just like he did in the original, making the experience feel immediately at home with pared-down controls, particularly on a mobile device. "If we're going to have the Meat Boy name, it's going to feel like Meat Boy, it's going to play like Meat Boy," Refenes said, driving home the point that Super Meat Boy Forever "is as close as you're going to get to a Meat Boy sequel." The tablet version had the leaping and floating prowess of Super Meat Boy, and responded quickly to our inputs. I also found the most success on tablet, completing a full level in a brief demo time compared to a longer, less-succesful venture on PC paired with an Xbox 360 game pad. In either case, it was appropriately twitchy when it needed to be, so narrowly wall-jumping past spinning blades never came off as a truly impossible proposal, and even the most demanding obstacles appeared beatable after enough attempts.

And oh, there were many attempts. Death often found Meat Boy within seconds, and just like Super Meat Boy, players start back up again at an instant. The level wasn't the same as Meat Boy left it, however; during our demo, we cycled through what seemed to be a dozen or so "chunks," as Refenes called them. The areas were procedurally-generated based on their mechanics and concepts, as well as their difficulty, and players see a new one upon dying.

After a number of inevitable and near-constant deaths, we eventually cycled back to obstacle patterns we saw before and begin recalling what sequence of actions and critical timing the puzzles demanded. The number of variations to the demo hit the sweet spot where they felt ever-changing, yet encouraged the kind of learning and recollection that a difficult platformer like Super Meat Boy requires.

Like the previous outing on XBLA and Steam, Super Meat Boy Forever will include other playable characters and environments that may introduce new skills for Meat Boy. Refenes also vowed that "the bosses are actually going to be good in [the game]," while stressing that Super Meat Boy Forever is a "huge," "serious" sort of game for tablets, the type that feels more in line with a console experience. "Kind of all the stuff we weren't able to do with time constraints in [Super Meat Boy] are going to be in this one," he added.

Super Meat Boy Forever will launch in 2015 for PC, iOS and Android. Team Meat officially put its other in-progress game, Mew-Genics, on hold to finish its mobile-focused platformer.
[Image: Team Meat]
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