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Super Meat Boy Forever – a fantastic hardcore auto-runner

Developer: Thunderful Publishing AB
Price: $0.99/£0.99
Size: 1.8 GB
Version: 1.0.1
Platform: iPhone & iPad

Super Meat Boy Forever

If you’re familiar with the original Super Meat Boy, the 2010 indie smash hit, then you might well assume that Super Meat Boy Forever is a cheap and cheerful mobile spinoff.

After all, it takes the original’s brutally exacting 2D platformer assault course mechanics and further streamlines them with auto-runner controls. Adding to the mobile vibe is a switch away from purpose-built levels to (partially) procedurally generated alternatives.

Like the original, your failures are marked out in blood

Sure enough, Super Meat Boy Forever was initially intended as a mobile spin-off. However, it eventually transformed into a full-blown sequel and launched initially on console and PC. It’s taken more than two years to make its way over to iOS.

As such, Super Meat Boy Forever feels like a curious mish-mash. While its stages are made up of randomly assembled sections, for example, they still fit within a tightly structured ‘game’ environment, with numbered levels across four main ‘worlds’ guarded by tricky boss gatekeepers. There is a clearly defined path here, and a clear ending.

You can play as Meat Boy or Bandage Girl off the bat

In a similar way, while the action is even simpler than the original, it also fleshes things out in certain ways. Your little meat sack automatically runs from left to right, leaving you to tap right to jump and left to slide. Yet the levels are interspersed by surprisingly lavish cinematics.

Despite its somewhat messy genesis and belated arrival on iOS, there’s no denying that Super Meat Boy Forever plays well. Its controls feel extremely tight, with the two mid-air button modifiers – allowing you to dash forward and dive in mid-air – granting you a supreme level of agility and mobility.

Bosses require maximum precision and concentration

That’s not to say that this makes things any easier. This is an incredibly tough platformer that demands both pinpoint precision and the ability to quickly decipher the way forward. It can almost feel like a puzzler at times, as you strive to figure out the best way to tackle a particularly twisted section through multiple failed attempts.

Thankfully, checkpointing is extremely generous, and the only penalty for failure is another point added to your attempts count come the end of the level.

The cinematics are gorgeous

Still, the level of skill, repetition, and sheer bloody-minded persistence required to make your way through Super Meat Boy Forever will likely put most casual iPhone gamers off. Mobile-friendly controls aside, this is a hardcore platformer through and through.

So long as don’t mind butting your head repeatedly against a wall (in a gaming sense, of course), the Super Meat Boy Forever is painfully good fun.