August 16, 2012

Review – Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 1:04 pm

Review Mutant Blobs Attack
Drinkbox Studio’s critically adored Vita launch title has set out to absorb a larger audience with a release on Steam, offering those beyond the handheld set a chance to roll the irritable blob across twenty-four stages while consuming everything from hamburgers to space cattle.

Escaping from a sinister science lab, players allude authorities while finding the means to grow, eventually turning the tables on terrified citizens and soldiers through a campaign that becomes less about escaping humanity in favor of destroying it. However, the blobageddon doesn’t quite involve simply rolling around and devouring increasingly larger items like a rampaging katamari.

Review Mutant Blobs Attack
Mutant Blobs Attack is a platformer at heart, presenting players with the lasers, spikes, and other hazards one expects from that genre. Overcoming these obstacles opens the way to consuming a plethora of objects, creating an interesting reward system wherein players are occasionally let loose to spread terror across the countryside with an increasing amount of weight that soon allows the blob to smash military forces and devour helpless farmers. Such flights are always a welcome break from platforming situations that can often raise blood temperatures with a mix of puzzle solving and challenges that necessitate a higher level of dexterity to survive.

Your spiky blob has several powers that assist in this regard, which is worth the bulk of words here. The game’s humor and physics crosses platforms with ease, but since Mutant Blobs Attack was a showcase for Vita controls, how all of this translates to your keyboard is rather important. The short story is that the controls certainly work here, but at the same time lack a bit of the tactile ease and delight showcased by the Vita release.

Review Mutant Blobs Attack
Standard keystrokes allow players to move the blob from left to right, as well as handle jumping and the blob’s jump smash attack. The blob also possesses telekinetic abilities, which allows players to turn and pull certain platforms. Doing so can simply open a path forward, knock items toward the blob, shield the blob from environmental dangers, and even help hurl the blob forward. This power is assigned to the mouse, with players clicking on the platform and moving the mouse to turn or move it. The result can prove slightly awkward at times, with one hand still moving the blob with keystrokes while the other moves the object. The control design never proves disastrous to the gameplay however, owing to the fact that the majority of these situations abide by a slower puzzle-solving pace that doesn’t demand quick action from the player.

The blob can also attract itself to or repel itself from certain metals, an additional task assigned to the left and right shift keys. While this is often used to hold the blob against an object to move forward over dangers, the game is keen on creating faster sequences where players will need to attract and repel rapidly to avoid spiky death. And once again this doesn’t create a complete bottleneck, but it does necessitate dexterity from the fingers, and a good memory wouldn’t hurt either because it took a few stages before I stopped confusing the two shift keys.

Both abilities work well, but certainly require quick hands as situations change and dictate different powers. Again, the slower puzzle bits don’t raise any issue here, but the faster portions of play definitely require some repeat performances. None of this is a game breaker, but does present some frustration along the way.

Review Mutant Blobs Attack
Simply moving around, or in many situations flying around as a jet propelled blob eases the sting, and while several stages offer a straightforward course to travel, there are some rather fantastic level designs on display, particularly when the blob has to redirect the course of a rocket to the moon.

Stages will offer blob buddies for players to find and rescue, but the far greater treat are the five mini-game stages. Each of these offers a top down view of the blob, and eventually offers players a chance to roll through a Grand Theft Auto parody.

These five stages offer something missing through the campaign, with an immediate sense of growth as the blob absorbs smaller objects before circling around for people and cars. During the campaign, players will find themselves fleeing situations and engaging in puzzles to then be rewarded with objects to consume and suddenly emerging to cast a fearsome new shadow over the city. But during the top-down mini-games, there is more of a katamari joy to be found in watching the growth take place on a singular map.

Long story short, I’d take a hundred of these mini-game levels any day of the week. Don’t take that as a dig at the main campaign however, which manages to shake up platforming conventions with a mix of challenges and humor worth the visit and leading toward a delightful ending and one of the sweetest end credit songs to date – though it is also worth mentioning that the visit can be paid with only a few hours of playtime.

Drinkbox Studios

Drinkbox Studios

Windows PC (Steam), PlayStation Vita (PC Reviewed)


Release Date
August 15, 2012


*A copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review

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