Sometimes a game comes out and it doesn't feel right, but then it gets another chance to pop up under different circumstances. I feel this is what has happened with the mobile version of Super Meat Boy Forever by Team Meat. Years after its initial release, the team has ported the game over to mobile devices making use of the endless runner structure. This is set against a 2D platforming experience where you have to time and aim your jumps carefully. You've also got a slide that doubles as a dive which you use to break stuff and beat bosses that block your way.
Years after the first highly-praised game, the sequel has a lot to live up to while it also tries to do something different. Super Meat Boy Forever can get you hyped for what's to come while raising the stakes for the meaty hero. The game takes place years later in a time when Meat Boy and Bandage Girl have settled down and have an adorable daughter named Nugget. Unfortunately, Dr Fetus is still holding a grudge and decides to kidnap Nugget for his own purposes. This pushes the new parents into a huge journey to rescue their daughter and beat Dr Fetus into a potential future game.
When a game comes out on a new platform, it's almost like getting new life breathed into it. Super Meat Boy Forever is using its title to stick around longer and is experiencing strong support on mobile devices. First off, it is a great length with a fast pace that makes for a fun and addictive combination. Most levels can be beaten in less than a minute if you know what you're doing, but they're set up in ways that'll make you dwell. Each failure and restart is instant so you feel compelled to keep trying until you win. Considering that there are multiple checkpoints throughout each level, each step you take toward the end is encouraging especially since you can see your progress right at the bottom of the screen.
With a structure like the endless runner, it can be appealing to let slide certain elements when it comes to gameplay. In Super Meat Boy Forever, the ball is dropped on a few aspects that can cause frustration. An example is the sheer amount of trial and error. Even though levels are short and restarts are quick, it also requires quick reactions. There is a certain rhythm and pace you can get used to, but whenever something new is introduced, it's likely going to kill you before you even realise what it does. This is particularly notable during boss fights which are not easy to predict what attacks are coming or even what you need to do to avoid them - not to mention that no matter how far you get in a boss fight, just one hit restarts the whole thing.
Then there are the bonuses. Like the previous game, you have hard-to-reach collectibles which can unlock new characters, warp zones to take you to hidden levels, and Dark World counterparts to the main levels. The problem is that these are not always easy to spot and it's weird when you have to force yourself to linger in an endless runner. It would also be nice if levels had some sort of indicator to let you know which ones require a second look.
Super Meat Boy Forever is the endless runner 2D platform sequel to the indie classic and it's finally available on mobile. The structure and controls work well on this new platform with a challenge and pacing that makes you want to succeed. It's missing some clarity and can be unfair in terms of reaction times and harsh boss fights. Yet, the meat family could use your help to be happy forever, which is worth your time.