Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack! Review

I’m so glad the downloadable game market exists. Whether it’s the Xbox Live Arcade, Playstation Store or Steam, there’s no shortage of small, quirky games out there for around $10 that likely would have never been made if it weren’t for those marketplaces existing.  Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack is such a game – costing a mere $8, this 2D puzzle-platformer available for download on the Playstation Vita that oozes quirkiness.

  • Developer: DrinkBox Studios
  • Publisher: DrinkBox Studios
  • Reviewed On: PS Vita (Downloadable Only)
  • Release Date: Available Now

In Mutant Blobs Attack you play as a spiky, one-eyed blob who has been experimented on by humans and has just had enough of being poked and prodded. As you’re a distinctly cheesed-off mutant blob, the game starts with you attacking one of those pesky scientists who opens your cell door, allowing for an opportunistic escape from captivity and making a break for freedom in a college student’s bag.  Once free, you, as the mutant blob, can start planning your revenge on the human race.

At the beginning of the game, the blob is tiny; absorbing screws and coins to grow bigger and navigating through drain pipes to get through the college it’s ended up in. That sets up the main premise for the game, which is: grow bigger. You’re constantly absorbing things that range from screws to pesky humans or, later in the game, the artillery units that have been given the futile task of taking you down.

As a game, Mutant Blobs Attack feels absolutely perfect. While the blob’s move set is pretty standard (wall jumps, ground pound, etc.), it all has a… squishy feel to it.  I wish there was a better way to put that into words, but there isn’t. Basically, the blob moves and jumps exactly as you would expect a blob to do – thankfully it feels great and doesn’t even get in the way of some pretty agile and tight platforming as the game progresses.

The blob does have some powers at his disposal, and one of the first ones introduced to you is its magnetism. You’ll find objects in the environment that have a purple glow around them – hitting the left trigger attracts you to them, whereas the right trigger repels you from them. At first, this is used very simply to scale pipes by magnetizing to them or to make huge jumps by repelling away from a metal floor. In later levels, this mechanic gets used in some pretty awesome and creative ways.

The game makes use of the Vita’s touch screen by as the interface through which the blob can move specific objects with its mind. Objects that are amenable to telekinesis are strewn throughout the environment and are handily marked with green dots. This ability is largely used to control platforms to help the blob move around – sadly, this mechanic isn’t utilised nearly as well as the magnetism does in the game. It can also be a little iffy at times, which sticks out like a sore thumb considering everything else feels so tight in the game. Sometimes you’re asked to rotate a circular room or object with the touch, or do some precision moving of platforms; it simply doesn’t feel as as accurate as it should and is a stark contrast against the tight controls present in rest of the game.

The last of the blob’s abilities is being able to fly in certain areas of the game. This is where the rear touch panel gets used, though it make no sense since it’s mapped to the same ability as the triggers. When you’re flying around, you can press the X button to get a little bit of thrust. If you’re holding down a trigger or touching the rear touch panel, the blob turns green, and you’ll get a rocket boost instead.

The areas in which you use the blob’s power of flight give rise to some of the most fun – but also the most frustrating – sequences in the game. Whilst flying around as a blob feels pretty much like you’d expect flying around as a blob to be, the floaty momentum can make the flying experience imprecise at times. Yes, it makes sense and feels right when you consider you’re a flying ball of ominous goo, it just lacks the precision of the rest of the game.

Luckily for those sequences, the checkpointing in Mutant Blobs Attack is very forgiving. Almost too forgiving, in fact. While I hate having to do a level over again as much as the next person, the fact that I restarted practically in front of the obstacle that killed me whenever I died seemed to be taking things a little too far. In all fairness, the game is pretty easy for the most part – but the checkpointing made it feel more like a cakewalk.

The checkpointing is somewhat more helpful in the motion-controlled levels of the game, which are all completely optional. These games play like the labyrinth games of old, where you’re tilting a wooden maze around trying to navigate a ball around holes. Only instead of a wooden maze, it’s a $250 game system, and instead of a ball, it’s a rolling blob of death. These are actually quite fun to play, and every level in this mode feels sufficiently different from the others to provide some real variety. It’s great these are optional – if you’re lying down while playing or on public transportation, moving your device around might not be the best idea. However, the first section of the final level of the game relies on non-optional utilisation of motion-controls, but since there’s no way to die in that part of the sequence, that’s probably not too big of a deal in the grand scheme of things.

There’s also a distinct lack of enemies for most of the game. Those pesky humans will bring out attack helicopters and tanks to stop you every now and then but, frankly, they aren’t a threat once you grow bigger than them. Though there’s something satisfying about jumping up and absorbing an attack helicopter in mid-air.

The major downside to Mutant Blobs Attack is the length, as my first playthrough only took me a little over 3 hours to complete it. That being said, I’m not sure how much longer they could have made the game before it would have started to wear out its welcome. For the price, though, three hours doesn’t seem that bad for a platformer of this quality, and there are secret blobs to be found in each level that could add another hour or so of time if you were so inclined to go searching them out. The game also awards you medals based on your performance and also gives you an online ranking, though leaderboards sadly seem to be missing. It’s still neat to see how you’re stacked up against the other players, but it doesn’t truly mean anything in the end.

All in all, I think fans of the puzzle platformer will have a lot of fun with Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack, and for the cheap price, it could be well worth it for anyone who finds it interesting. Drinkbox nailed everything they needed to with this title by making it incredibly fun to play, and the basic mechanic of absorbing people and things is pretty satisfying, as is watching your blob grow. While the game’s short, it doesn’t get old and the mechanics continue being creative right up to the very end.

Tight platforming that feels great.
Creative and interesting puzzles that stay fresh to the end.
Great price.
Very short, lasting just over 3 hours.
Touch controls can be iffy and frustrating.
Low difficulty combined with generous checkpointing make the game feel a bit too easy.
DrinkBox Studios – Official Site
The review copy of the game was purchased by the author.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments

  1. Chubbaluphigous

    The first Tales From Space game on the PSN is really good too, and I highly recommend it to anyone who like charming platformers.

Leave a Reply

BRB UK 582: A Tale of Two Kongs

Finally we are, here for you. It's the latest show, with the Podcast crew

Tabletop Tuesday

BRB Weekly Events; Tabletop Tuesday   You may have seen...

Big Red Barrelcast 43: RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman

On this week's episode, Dave, Kev and PacManPolarBear are joined by Yoshifett to blabber on about Philip Seymour Hoffman, Nintendo, and Gears Of War.

BRB UK 470: 12 Inches of Christmas

Here's your first gift while the team are away, let's take a look at this year's best games

BRB Boom 95: LeBron’s Groin Band-Aid

Don't call it a comeback, it's a new episode of the Boom

Element Gaming Palladium Keyboard

Richard reviews a gaming keyboard with an elegant design and pretty lights - What more could you want?

© Big Red Barrel 2011 - 2024