Every week, out of the kindness of its bulging heart, Epic gives a game away for free on its PC games store it desperately wishes you’d use instead of Steam. Pure altruism, no doubt. At the time of writing, for instance, you can pick up Dakar Desert Rally gratis. From February 22, it’ll be Super Meat Boy Forever that’ll cost you nothing. Except, that wasn’t always the plan.

The Epic Games Store’s free games page keeps a note of which game it’s currently offering for no money, along with which game will be next. Last week, VGC spotted that was going to be a trilogy of original Fallout games, which wouldn’t have been the most exciting offer. No shade to those all-time classics, but the games are almost 30 years old, and in any functioning society would already be in the public domain.

It’s not clear why there was a change, but we now know that February 22’s next freebie is going to be the far more recent Super Meat Boy Forever, a mere whippersnapper at four years old.

Super Meat Boy Forever was the ten-years-later follow-up to Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes much-loved precision platformer, Super Meat Boy. By this point, McMillen had moved on to his The Binding of Isaac games, leaving Refenes to head up a small team that saw the game morph into an endless runner. Which isn’t perhaps what everyone had been hoping for.

Kotaku’s Ethan Gach found Forever to be pretty disappointing, reporting that “it’s a letdown to see Meat Boy return without the key aspects that made it great.”

Being burdened with a constant momentum feels at odds with the free-bouncing flow 2010’s Super Meat Boy excelled at. You can change directions by jumping off walls or running into ramps, but for the most part Forever is about decoding the exact combination of jumps, punches, and wall sliding to get through a given barrage of buzz saws and then executing them to guide Meat Boy through to safety, as if remote-controlling a fleshy rocketship. There’s a disconnect between the puzzle-solving and actually performing the solution that just left me cold.

Still, given it’s going to be free, perhaps that’ll soften the blow if you’ve not tried it yet. In the meantime, you can be equally nonplussed by the mediocre rally racing of Dakar Desert Rally.


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