The Super Meat Boy series of runner games is known for being a tough series. They’re the types of games that can frustrate you to no end as you try over and over to get past a tricky point or level. But, once you get past that point, the glory feels ten times better than the struggle that was so angering. It makes perfect sense that a puzzle game spin-off would be just tough and that’s where Dr. Fetus’ Mean Meat Machine comes in.
An obvious homage to the classic Sega puzzler Dr. Robotinik’s Mean Bean Machine, Dr. Fetus looks to take the match-three genre to a whole new level. Multicolored Meat Boy clones are dropped in sets of two onto your standard Tetris-style game board. Players will have to connect three clones of the same color to slowly build up a meter on the side of the screen. Once that meter is filled, it’s on to the next level.
Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong! While the introductory level left me feeling quite confident about my mad puzzle skills, it just had me doing your standard drop and match with no hazards of any sort. I was not prepared for the buzzsaws, homing missiles, timed walls, and platform switches that would await me in later levels.
One level had two switches on the left and right side of the screen that would activate a platform below it along with a buzzsaw moving back-and-forth horizontally right below the switches. My little clones could be cut down by the buzzsaw once in place, but if I got cut down while placing one, I would reset to the last checkpoint. If I waited too long to hit a switch, the platform would drop all the clones on that side into a field of blades waiting below. And that’s just one example of the challenges that await players in Dr. Fetus’ Mean Meat Machine.
The whole experience was a mix of frantic puzzle solving and doing my best to react to what was being thrown at me on any level. As a huge fan of games like Tetris, Puyo-Puyo, and Puzzle Fighter, I really enjoyed the clever twists and challenges that Dr. Fetus’ Mean Meat Machine threw at me during my demo. This is a feeling like a true puzzlers puzzle game, one that should be full of a hefty amount of challenge and fun when it launches later on this year.
This preview is based on hands-on time with a PC build of Dr. Fetus’ Mean Meat Machine during GDC 2023. The game is set to launch in 2023 on PC, Xbox Series, X/S, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and NIntendo Switch platforms, but does not have an official release date as of the publishing of this preview.
Blake Morse posted a new article, Dr. Fetus' Mean Meat Machine put me through the grinder and I loved it