Those who are long-time readers on here know that I love 2D platformers. Actually, let me rephrase that: I LOVE 2D platformers. After months of hype, Super Meat Boy has finally been released.

While originally a WiiWare eclusive, I ended up picking up the later announced XBLA version. I do have to admit, however, that this is a perfect “Nintendo console” game, and again, to rephrase, this is a perfect NES console game, as it is “Nintendo Hard”.

The similarities to the NES Super Mario Bros., Castlevania, Mega Man, Ninja Gaiden series, as well as Sunsoft’s Batman are not lost on me. Each of these titles demanded precise jumps, pixel-perfect landings, wall jumps, know when to run, walk or fall, over a particularly nasty gap, and were just downright mean in general. Super Meat Boy is a mean game.

And yet, it’s not frustrating to me. In fact, the NES-era version of me was all too programmed on how to handle these obstacles, and things haven’t changed on how I approach them: It’s only a matter of finding the right combination to survive. It will likely make lesser, untrained gamers cry, but to me, it’s just honing a long-fostered talent. And the reward of surviving some of the more heinous traps is infinitely rewarding.

Where SMB (nice abbreviational nod, by the way) differs from its inspirations, however, are the infinite lives. 3 or 5 or 7 or 12 lives would simply not be enough in learning how these levels work. A lot of it, like the older titles, is pure trial and error to see what works, and once it clicks, the design makes perfect sense and can be passed without a scratch. It really is a refinement of the “logic” learned from the NES era, with a touch of sadism.

The graphics are cute, with multiple video game references (so many “neo-retro” games embrace the 8-bit era these days). What’s really neat are the nods to so many of the modern 2D games that end up playable, such as Commander Video from the Bit.Trip series and Tim from Braid. Seeing two of my favorite downloadable games represented here makes me very happy. The music is also catchy with a ton of old-school sound effects.

Super Meat Boy is very much a “Nintendo” game from the old days, and while I’m sure some people will cry “foul” for the title going multi-platfom, its devilish design should be shared for everyone.

While I still have a long ways to go in the game, it’s incredibly fun and rewarding. This is yet another title that is furthering my stance that more of the challenging and unique titles are ending up in the digital realm versus the retail one.

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