Nintendo Switch has, perhaps unsurprisingly, become a welcome home for indie games.
And that isn’t a bad thing, as the portability of the console is perfect for both quick stop-and-go games as well as grand long-winded adventures. Something about the simplicity of the Switch system lends itself often to the humble nature of the indie games we’ve seen arriving at its doorstep.
As such, Super Meat Boy is a perfect fit for the hybrid portable system. Not only is it an indie gaming pioneer (celebrating its 8th anniversary this year), it’s a damn good platforming time, and stays that way on the Switch while introducing a new 2-player “Race Mode” to the game.
Super Meat Boy’s level-based retro-style setup makes it perfect as game you can just pick up and put down throughout the day (unless you get into the zone of finishing massive amounts of levels in one sitting and don’t get anything done, which happens to me, so hopefully I can get this review written in time).
But, chances are, you’ve played the game already on a different console, or you’ve already heard a lot about what the game is and how it plays, and if you haven’t, this reviewer recommends you stop reading this instant, have yourself a good time, then come back here to finish reading the rest. You’re welcome.
The biggest, most important, difference to the game comes from the hardware it’s being played on. Sure, you can use the Nintendo Switch in TV/docked mode, but come on. The true test, of course, is how well it plays in Switch’s celebrated console/handheld mode with Joy-Cons attached as it comes out of the box, so to speak, in its default standard mode.
Well, I found using the joysticks on the Joy-Cons doesn’t seem all that different at first, but takes some getting used to as you progress further into the game where precise movements for positioning and landings are demanded from you. The loose grip on the tiny, slippery, sunken joysticks makes it a bit annoying when you’re not used to them.
You will eventually get used to the sticks and it will stop bothering you, but for an experienced player, the difference was enough to take notice of. It’s less like re-learning how to walk, however, and more like wearing a new pair of shoes that you haven’t quite worn out yet.
Still, the learning curve for a new player might be a bit higher, and it will more than likely take longer to get used to the control than, say, the Wii U Gamepad and its comparatively giant joysticks, if you’re playing portable Meat Boy with that version.
An important thing to note, for returning Meat Boy players, is that the soundtrack isn’t the same as the PC and Xbox 360 releases, due to licensing issues.
This is a crying shame; the original score was a true treat that complimented the experience pretty well, and the score that has come in an as a replacement simply does not compare. Over time, I’ve come to appreciate aspects of the new score, but the original score will remain something that I miss.
At the end of the day, it’s the exact same game, with its brilliant, smooth and slippery physics, innovative gameplay and well-paced rewarding challenges that made me, and a million others, fall for it back in 2010, and the years since then. The only difference now is that the comfort and portability provided by the Switch make the game a more enticing package.
Even if you’ve played the game before and are eagerly looking forward to Super Meat Boy Forever, I would still highly recommend picking up this version for its portability, or if you want to slide down memory lane while you wait. Just mind the giant table-saw blades as you do so.