Dr. Fetus’ Mean Meat Machine – Review
Follow Genre: Puzzle, Arcade
Developer: Team Meat, Headup Development
Publisher: Thunderful Group, Headup Games
Platform: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Switch
Tested On: Switch

Dr. Fetus’ Mean Meat Machine – Review

Site Score
Good: Stage hazard gameplay offers a unique twist to the genre
Bad: Lacks modes other than story
User Score
(1 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

It’s been a while since we last got a glimpse into the Meat Boy universe, with 2021’s Super Meat Boy Forever. The series now makes its triumphant return, with Dr. Fetus’ Mean Meat Machine. With both the gameplay and story perspective shifted away from Meat Boy himself, can this third game convince long-time fans and newcomers alike, or should Team Meat and Headup Development have stuck to the gameplay that made the first game so beloved in the first place?


Following a very simple premise, Dr. Fetus’ Mean Meat Machine puts players in the robotic body of the titular villain. For those unfamiliar with the Meat Boy universe, Dr. Fetus is the adversary of Meat Boy, and his latest nefarious scheme forms the backstory for the game. The dastardly villain’s aim is to create a Meat Boy clone, but it does require quite a bit of trial and error before perfection can be achieved. This means that there are a couple of… thousands of imperfect clone rejects that need to be disposed of. The best way to do this is to send the rejects through an increasingly elaborate gauntlet so that only the best one survives. It’s trial by literal elimination!


With its thick outlines, saturated colors, and over-the-top gore, the Meat Boy series has a distinct, instantly recognizable art style. Of course, Dr. Fetus’ Mean Meat Machine sticks to the established aesthetics. While we wouldn’t go as far as to call this a pretty game, the cartoon art style works well enough, especially combined with the blood splatters that gradually paint the stage as more clones become the victim of the gauntlet they are being sent through. The game looks very polished, and the clean and simplistic style allows for the game to run buttery smooth, without any sort of performance issues.


Unsurprisingly, metal band RIDICULON, who have provided the OST for previous games in the series as well as for sister game The Binding of Isaac return to provide music for Dr. Fetus’ Mean Meat Machine. It would be easy to assume this means just more of the same, but the band went for a spookier vibe here, which gives the game a unique audio identity. The music is the highlight here, as the game doesn’t really have a lot to offer in terms of sound effects, and voice acting is non-existent.


It’s interesting to see how the Meat Boy games tackle a different genre with each entry. 2010’s Super Meat Boy gave us a hardcore platformer, and its sequel, Super Meat Boy Forever was an endless runner game. For the third entry in the series, Headup Development and Team Meat went for a Tetris-style puzzle game. The core idea is simple: pairs of clone rejects will descend to the bottom of the screen. Connect four or more same-colored clones and they’ll disappear. The twist is that there are stage hazards that you’ll need to avoid as you send the clones down. These become increasingly elaborate, and suffice to say that Dr. Fetus’ Mean Meat Machine is the most difficult Tetris clone that we’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. Whenever one of your clones falls victim to a stage hazard, you’re taken back to the last checkpoint so that you can continue trying until you successfully clear the stage. You’ll receive a score according to how quickly the stage is cleared, and the aim is of course to get an A+ rating on every single one. The stages are divided across different worlds, with each world offering 20 levels bookended by a boss battle.

Because there is a very limited number of clone variants present in the game and these all take on the same shape, the usual gameplay dynamics are completely different compared to other competitors in the genre. Usually, your main concern is to set up combos, but here the aim is to survive the onslaught of buzzsaws, ghosts, and throwing stars that stand between you and the bottom of the screen. Compared to something like Dr. Mario or Puyo Puyo Tetris, Dr. Fetus’ Mean Meat Machine feels fast-paced and brutally difficult. Fortunately, it’s also very, very fun. For the faint of heart, there are a handful of settings that can be adjusted so that the game is more forgiving, like an Invicibility Mode or a mode that slows down the default drop speed of clones, but in all honesty, this game is at its best when you’re facing down the gauntlet in all its unforgiving glory. The Meat Boy games are known for being difficult, of course, and Dr. Fetus’ Mean Meat Machine certainly delivers on this front, even if the game occasionally feels like victory depends more on dumb luck than on skill. Boss battles fare slightly better in this regard, as they actually require some strategic thinking rather than quick reflexes and hoping that stage hazards line up just right so that your clones can reach their goal scot-free.

If there is one area where Dr. Fetus’ Mean Meat Machine comes up short, it’s the amount of content present here. The game only has a story mode, which admittedly offers a large number of levels, but these have limited replay value. Online leaderboards, a boss rush mode, some kind of multiplayer mode, or an endless gauntlet would have been very welcome additions. The game’s €9.99 price tag isn’t excessive by any means, given how fun and addictive it is, but we did feel like the experience was over all too soon.


A highly unique take on an otherwise oversaturated genre, Dr. Fetus’ Mean Meat Machine is a joy to play from start to end. From the fantastic audiovisual presentation to the unforgiving level design, this is a game that fans of block puzzle games can really sink their teeth into. The main downside is that the game feels a bit light on content, as it only offers a story mode but fortunately, the lack of other modes is compensated by the relatively low price tag. We can’t wait to see where Team Meat takes the series next.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Dr. Fetus' Mean Meat Machine - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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