Edmund McMillen has worked on two of my favourite games of all time in the form of The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth and Super Meat Boy. Both of those hooked me real bad and I’ve spent hundreds of hours between both of them on multiple platforms. When he announced a new title with Tyler Glaiel, I was all ears. The End Is Nigh released earlier this year on Steam and has finally made it to the Nintendo Switch. In my time with it on the Switch, I’ve found more enjoyment than the Steam version for many reasons but it has a few drawbacks when playing docked.
The End Is Nigh is a platforming adventure game and will look just like Super Meat Boy at a glance. While it does have some parallels, this plays quite differently and has a lot to love. You play as Ash who is a small blob as the story begins with you trying to play a retro version of The End Is Nigh on a live stream. The game eventually crashes and you decide to get out and make a friend. Thus begins your journey into rage quit hell also known as hundreds of levels in The End Is Nigh.
While I have played a lot of this on Steam, I always enjoy games that have short levels and ones that require multiple attempts with quick restarts on handhelds. While I played and enjoyed Super Meat Boy on Xbox and eventually Mac, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it the most on the late PS Vita port even with the music change. The End Is Nigh is another “perfect on Switch” release on the handheld side of things.
The core gameplay here involves a lot of trial and error. This will no doubt turn some people off but you need to know this going in. A good portion of the levels later on will require you to time jumps in succession with the utmost precision just to complete a level. For some this maybe a challenge to be taken in stride but I can see even some Super Meat Boy fans put off by some of the later levels. Speaking of the levels, they are all connected to each other giving this a sort of open world feel even though it obviously isn’t. There’s a decent amount of secrets for you to find through hidden areas in levels as well. I’ve barely scratched the surface of this aspect with my time.
Visually this is a pure Edmund game. It has some Gish in it along with some Meat Boy but just like the gameplay, it actually has more going on than it would have you believe initially. I love the animations in the environment and with the various enemies here. The rain effect early on looks really nice. If you do want to play this on the Switch docked, the image quality isn’t great. It looks noticeably worse compared to the Steam version on my laptop and even the AA setting doesn’t really help. On handheld, it is mostly fine because you can overlook some of the rough edges on the smaller screen but docked the combination of a not so great AA with a sub native resolution result in a non ideal situation. This is basically my biggest complaint with the Switch port and I hope they can address this in a patch.
Ridiculon’s music is once again superb and the score here actually features his renditions of some classic music. If you’ve ever wanted to play a game with kickass classical music covers playing along as you collect tumors and play as a black blob, The End Is Nigh is waiting for you. It is shocking how well the remixes and arrangements of classical tunes works with the aesthetic and gameplay. It feels like an Edmund game.
If you loved Super Meat Boy, this is an easy recommendation. If you’ve never played that, I recommend getting this first. Don’t expect this to be a sequel but more of a new take on a formula that worked well in the past. There’s a lot to love with the precision gameplay, humour, and the superb soundtrack. I just wish it looked better while docked. That’s the only thing holding this from being the best version of The End Is Nigh.