Sawbuck Gamer

Skullface

Familiar Face

Skullface crazies up the already crazy Super Meat Boy.

By Steve Heisler • February 15, 2013

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.

Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Skullface is a whole lot like Super Meat Boy, a dizzying game that requires you to jump at just the right time, at just the right angle, lest you be turned into a bloody mess by whirling saw blades. In that game, you’re a fleshless cube of meat; in this one, you are a little man with a skull face. The differences pretty much end there. The levels are frantic and unforgiving, with walls that are covered with spikes except for a little sliver from which you must bounce. Perfection is still the elusive goal.

But while Super Meat Boy also stripped down the run-and-jump formula for parts, Skullface takes those parts and fleshes out its own distinct contraption. Perfect runs sometimes result from patience, like one level where the floor falls, and Skullface runs from side-to-side avoiding the labyrinth of dangerous objects scrolling from the bottom. Sometimes those whirling blades stop all together. It can get eerily quiet in Skullface, like there’s a malevolent deity toying with you before throwing yet another mace to the face.

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  • GaryX

    I thought that said Skullfuck at first and thought, “Huh, yeah, I guess that would demand precision of a sort.”

    I don’t want to think about what this says about me.

  • lokimotive

    One tiny thing this review doesn’t mention is that the protagonist can slide, which seems to add a surprising amount to the game… Super Meat Boy didn’t have sliding did it?

    However, and maybe it’s just this work computer, but the control response of this is rather atrocious. It’s possible that I just really suck, but I’m pretty sure the controls actually just suck.

  • LoadRanPimp420

    this is embarrassing. Why would you guys cover such a blatant ripoff of an extremely beloved and popular game? I’d thought you were more interested in showcasing games worthy of attention with underexposure. stuff like this should be considered as nothing more than exercises on the programer/developer’s end and then buried in obscurity

  • ChicaneryTheYounger

    Yeah, this is a far inferior version of Super Meat Boy. It’s worse than the original Newgrounds Meat Boy.

  • Eco1970

    I think my youth spent playing Spectrum 48k platformers like manic miner  has ruined me for games like this. Whenever i see an old-school game like this i think ‘Jeez, haven’t we moved on from this?’. Playing it, I got to like the fourth screen or something, and after trying a few times to get over some spikes after doing one of those wall-to-wall multiple jumps, I succeded. Then after  about 20 seconds, i died on some other spikes, and reppeared right back at the screen start position of course, with that wall-to-wall-avoid-spikes bit to do over.  Immediate quit lol.

    I know it’s free, but even so…

    Not my cup of tea at all.

  • Aaron Riccio

    I’m confused regarding some of the negative comments here. There’s actually a surprising amount of stuff in here that Super Meat Boy *doesn’t* use, from the ability to roll/slide to on/off buttons, sliding platforms, and the ability to use homing mines to trigger switches. Yes, SMB is the better game, and it’s a lot more challenging, but Skullface was an entertaining hour of gameplay, and I’m certainly glad it was showcased.