Back to Form!
Just as every philosophical theory after the 18th century is a response to Kant's work, every platformer after 1985 is a response to the Super Mario Bros. This game synthesizes the main attributes that made SMB an iconic game: simple controls, well designed levels, a story that sounds like it came from a rambling hobo, and well balanced difficulty.
It balances easy to master controls with levels that border on the masochistic yet are compelling enough to keep player wanting more. I did find the jump button slightly sluggish, leading to many unnecessary falls. Also, loading after every death broke game flow for me, making it hard to immerse myself in the level when my adrenaline fade while waiting for the level to come back.
Over all, an amazing game that deserves praise, if anything, for one aspect: humbling the player. Too often contemporary games will walk players through a modest gaming experience, softening the difficulty in order to lull the player into thinking that they are good at everything without challenging the player. Its as if the game/game developers are afraid to offend the player and scare them off. These 5-8 hour cinematic romps recreate stale games that copy the same formula in lieu of game mechanic innovation.
Meat Boy, with its creative use of sliding meat to reduce the distance needed for big jumps, sticky wall climbing that feels great (if a little difficult to master), and vertical level design that offers a new perspective on the Mario formula without sacrificing gameplay. Keep it coming.