With Carly busy composing an assignment, I was left to my own devices for an entire weekend. I'd have thought that with 7 recent releases to plough through, that I'd have no trouble finding something to engage with. My plate however, was too full. There were too many strong flavours to sample. How does one deal with an overabundance?
In my case, I set about procuring more games.
Crazy and nonsensical as it may seem, it was a solution of sorts; for the next game I purchased was so brutally difficult and sharply focussed, that it made the blockbusters in my entertainment unit appear convoluted, and lacking purpose. My last acquisition was Super Meat Boy, a devilishly difficult platforming game that catalogues the battles of the titular walking beef patty and his archrival, Doctor Fetus.
Super Meat Boy's defining elements should have made for a frustrating experience of questionable value, as in the few hours I spent playing the game I died more times than I could count. I could never blame any of my deaths on the controls though; as Meat Boy's deaths were either due to my ineptness, the fiendesh (though utterly inspired) level design, or a combination of these two factors. Even while falling from great distances, or travelling at blistering pace, the controls always responded immediately to my determination or apprehension. Thankfully there are no limits to the amount of times you can fail, save for the warp zone levels which emulate the 8-bit presentation of NES platformers and task players with completing sets of 3 levels with 3 lives. When I did successfully complete some of the more diabolical levels (the boss fights are particularly challenging), I really felt as though I had achieved something special. I can't stress enough for you all how refined an experience Super Meat Boy is, and I would strongly encourage any Xbox 360 owners to get behind Team Meat.
Despite the prospect of multiple (read: to the power of a thousand) bloody deaths, SMB's presentation makes for a puzzlingly light-hearted romp through forests, factories and medical refuse dumps. The cut scenes often parody classic games, with the opening of the first chapter presenting a gut-bustingly funny send-up of Street Fighter II's opening cinematic. Several times I found myself chuckling at Meat Boy's antics, particularly at the end of the second boss fight. The gameplay and level design also offered plenty of laughs, due mostly to the apparently proposterous nature of the challenges set before you. Save for one level which had me in hot pursuit of a turd, Super Meat Boy always left me with a smile on my face.
After a few hours on SMB, every other game I played felt like a cake walk. Further to that, my experience with the diabolical dowloadable title game me a renewed focus with which I finally conquered the single player campaign of Halo: Reach. A review for the last Bungie-developed Halo game will be forthcoming, and I must admit that I'm finding it difficult to render a score.
What did you guys play this weekend?