Super Meat Boy Forever review: Pain… but make it adorable!

Team Meat
Team Meat /
3 of 4
Super Meat Boy Forever review
Team Meat /


We have to start this section by addressing the elephant in the room: gameplay-wise, this game is completely different from Super Meat Boy. Does that make it inherently bad? No.

Super Meat Boy Forever is an auto-runner, which is one of the main factors that has stuck around since it’s inception as a mobile game. It was originally imagined as an infinite runner, along the lines of Jetpack Joyride, although after the endless development cycle, the idea was repackaged to feature actual levels and a story. Of course, in the spirit of the original game, the game is fast and intense, full of tight input windows and miserable challenges. Although, nothing in this game gets even remotely as difficult as Super Meat Boy gets.

Unlike Super Meat Boy, these levels are very long and feature checkpoints sprinkled throughout. There are also far fewer levels in Forever but that is because each level is about five or six of the levels from the original. That is not to say that there is not a good number of levels, because there is. There are the base levels in every world, then the boss level at the end of every stage (we will get to these), then there are the dark world versions of each level (unlocked after getting an A+ rank on the light world variant). On top of that, there are extra worlds and a warp mini-game in each world.

The goal for most levels is to get to Nugget, who is on the far right side of the stage. Along the way, you will encounter enemies, saws, spikes, and endless different types of hazards trying to keep Meat Boy from his child. For the most part, the best way to survive is to avoid the hazards by jumping over them or sliding under them. However, for some obstacles, you will need to use your other new ability, the punch. This ability is used by hitting the jump button while in the air and will propel Meat Boy forward for more air distance and more speed.

Super Meat Boy Forever review
Team Meat /

This is where the complaints start for the gameplay. The punch and jump being mapped to the same button does not work, especially in the harder levels with tighter windows. There will be areas that ask you to punch right above the ground, and because it is the same button as the jump, if you happen to have hit the ground before hitting the button (because of input delay, which the Nintendo Switch is notorious for, especially when hooked up to a 4k TV) your character will jump up, which almost always results in a death, and thus unnecessary frustration.

Further, the punch is used to activate almost every extra mechanic in the game (portals, movable platforms, creatable platforms, cannons, power ups), and some of those things restore your punch so you can use it again, but some of them do not. So you have to keep a running tally of which of these 20 mechanics do and do not restore your punch, so that in the extra levels, when all of the mechanics are being thrown at you at once, you can know how to react and plan accordingly. That is a ton of information to expect the player to keep up with for 20 or more hours of play.

Veterans of the first game will remember the bandages which were extra collectibles that players could gather to unlock extra characters and complete the game. In Forever the bandages are replaced with binkies, which fits better in the narrative. The major difference in this game is that with the bandages you only had to grab them. The binkies have different properties for acquisition. Some binkies you have to grab quickly, some you have to grab multiple times, others you just have to grab.

The problem is that this type of variety does not fit into a game like this with a collectible like binkies. In Celeste, the strawberries are allowed to have several different properties because you see so many strawberries in your playthrough that you will see each property of strawberry quite a few times. In Super Meat Boy Forever you will likely only see each binky property twice, and that is only if you are looking for them. This means most players will have no clue how to approach this collectible and just be persuaded to not to collect them. As a dev, you can not create a collectible that pushes players to not collect it.

This game does nearly nothing better than Super Meat Boy in terms of gameplay, but one area where it explodes past its predecessor is the boss battles. The autorun mechanic means the battle is always moving and the new punch mechanic means you get to physically punch the lights out of your enemies. The fights are about moving fast, figuring out the puzzle that makes the boss vulnerable and then punching the lights out of the boss until their vulnerability wears off. Some bosses require precision timing, some bosses throw everything and the kitchen sink at you. These bosses are a great test of the mechanics you have learned, requiring the perfect balance of speed, patience, aggression, and discipline.

The second boss as it currently exists is largely RNG, with about nine different combos it can throw at you. Of those nine, only two are survivable, although one of those is only beatable with four near frame perfect inputs. This boss can also occasionally throw invisible attacks at you if you start moving too fast. This obviously is not intended, and I have reached out to the developer about it, but they have not responded and it is something to be aware of.