Published on August 8th, 2014 | by Ben Rueter0
Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack
Not much has changed in the Xbox Live Arcade release of Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack from the Playstation Vita version, which is both good and bad. Bottom line, the slimy platform is just as enjoyable as its handheld counterpart.
Players assume the role of the Blob where your goal is to eat all the things in sight. The Blob hops and wiggles its way through humorous 2D stages. Each set of stages is bookended with simplistic cartoon news reports chronicling the Blob’s growing size and chaos upon the world.
It’s not entirely clear why the Blob grows in size when he eats or why it wants to go home. Nevertheless, it is never dwelled on and the lack of a narrative makes random moments, like an early trip to the moon, a funny detour.
Basically, the Blob will eat until it is big enough to slide its way to the end of the stage. Think Katamari Damacy, but in a 2D plan and less tight pants. Some areas are literally “corked” off with a large cork. Players will then be forced to explore a little in order to find enough people, animals, radioactive material to eat and grow large enough to swallow the cork and progress.
Each set of stages includes one-time bonus stages that are more akin to time trials or speed run puzzles. The stages are 2D top-down collect-a-thons that diverge from the 2D platforming regular. Short and simple stages that once I completed the game I would return to these stages to see if I could better any of my times.
The Blob is not as limited in its ability to move as you may think. It can only hop at first, but soon it discovers the ability to fly and attract and detract to metal objects, among other abilities. Each ability is mapped to one button on the controller. The later stages combine these abilities in challenging and creative puzzles.
Mutant Blobs Attack is composed of 24 stages set across six different locations taking players through an invasion on Earth to sliding around on the Moon. The levels are small inventive physic puzzles.
The best stages combine the game’s the pseudo-1950s art with unique platforming puzzles. Stages never drag and are mostly there to keep the momentum moving forward. Even when players are tasked with a puzzle or forced to eat more things, the game keeps the player hoping and squeezing into the most bizarre scenarios.
The art just pops and it looks great on the big screen. The cartoony aesthetic could have been pushed a little further especially with the limited animations. It’s definitely an eye-catching game in the end.
Most of the puzzles are physic based in an attempt to put the Blob’s elastictically to the test.
Some puzzles seem to be better suited for the Vita’s touch controls. An example being when the Blob learns how to control and move special blocks with telekinesis. These blocks are usually used to platform, but also to manipulate objects. You use the triggers to cycle through these moveable platforms until you select the one you need. It becomes annoying to go through the process when more than two movable platforms are on screen.
In that same sense, the Blob will encounter rotating wheels that will change direction when select them. On the Vita, you would slide your finger or tap to move the rotating rings. However, on the Xbox, you’ll need to rotate the joystick, where I found myself over rotating more often than not and squishing myself. It unfortunately is a hiccup in the games momentum, but thankfully, these puzzles are never too frustrating.
Developer Drinkbox Studios knows what kind of game they are making. The self-referential humor along with some jabs at indie video game luminaries like Fez creator Phil Fish as well as B-rated sci-fi films are funny enough in passing, but the game never retreads over the same joke more than once.
I never felt frustrated while playing through the stages. Each one was short, but the game never felt easy. It was a fantastic mix of clever puzzles and level design.
The most important aspect is that it feels good to play. All the mistakes I made felt like my fault. It becomes a blast to use all of the abilities the Blob learns in succession during puzzles.
The downside is that if you have played Mutant Blobs Attack on Vita already, there is nothing new here. And that soundtrack can really get on your nerves after awhile.
The game took me about four hours to finish and little reason to replay the stages outside of the mini-stages, which are short time trial eat-em-ups.
The game feature no co-op or multiplayer and the price tag reflects that. It’s affordable.
I’d recommend this to anyone despite their familiarity with platformers. The game is not very difficult and can be completed in one sitting, but its style and creative puzzles stick with you. The attractive price tag ($7.99) is also a great reason to gobble this creative platformer up.
4 out of 5