Super Meat Boy—even eight years later—is still capable of getting players to hurl a controller in frustration at its carefully designed platforming deathtraps. Except the controller is now an entire console. So, not only is Super Meat Boy an excellent platformer, it also teaches the player an important lesson about restraint.
Not much has changed from the already excellent platformer. Super Meat Boy’s stages are all still carefully designed offering a slowly increasing difficulty. They won’t feel like they’re slowly getting harder as you play them, though. After a few stages, it feels like each new area is a brick wall of challenge.
Super Meat Boy’s difficulty increase IS gradual, though. It just feels newly punishing to learn the way to navigate each area. All the levels feel wildly different and creative with a trap and stage layout, though, feeling freshly frustrating. They all still teach the player about their capabilities and movement. With every challenge surmounted, players learn a bit more about how to feel their way through a jump or slip between traps.
So, when players return to old stages, they almost seem trivial. They’re no less challenging, but the gradual increase in challenge teaches the player so much about the game and their capabilities that they hardly notice how good they’re getting. It’s a rewarding experience, even if it is extremely hard at that moment. Respawning instantly after death does take some of that pressure off, though.
This experience is just as rewarding on the Switch. The Joy-Con controllers are a comfortable means to control poor Meat Boy, and being able to take Super Meat Boy on the road is a very welcome thing—as long as you’ve got that self-control down and aren’t screaming on the bus. The game’s visuals are still bright and clear on the smaller screen, so every fault still feels like your own. Some projectiles can get a little difficult to see in places, but many of those were just as hard to see on the big screen, honestly.
The two-player race mode is a delightful addition to the game as well. Being able to race through any of the game’s worlds with a friend in split-screen is a great time and often turns those frustrating deaths into cause for laughter. The only drag is the Joy-Con is really small in adult hands, which can cramp up your fingers after an extended period of time.
Super Meat Boy is just as good as it was when it first came out, offering a perfect difficulty curve for those who like to be brutalized by their platformers. Taking that experience wherever you want only makes it better—so long as they handle howling rage well where you’re going.