Tuesday, August 7, 2012

REVIEW - Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack!!!


Drinkbox Studios are creeping up on being a noteworthy studio.  2011 brought us the interesting Tales From Space: About a Blob, and Mutant Blobs Attack!!! - an easy-on-the-wallet, breezy little puzzle platformer (and Vita launch title) - gives one yet more hope for their upcoming third effort, Guacamelee.

If they keep this up, one can expect them to start making flat-out great games - but they're not quite there, yet.  They're just pleasantly, comfortably close.

There's very little wrong with Mutant Blobs Attack - it's a charming game that's not too charming, a fun game that's not too fun, and occasionally challenging while never too challenging.  It's nice.  It's good.

Once upon a time, there are some blobs in the Humane Blob Torture Research Center.  There, they are tortured.


And so, filled to the brim with a patient, seething hatred of mankind, once they make good their escape there's only one thing on the docket - revenge, on a global scale.

The total annihilation of humanity doesn't happen overnight, though - things start off small.


With a touch of Katamari Damacy, your one-eyed, spiked little blob will absorb and digest anything that's small enough.  It begins with cheezies and peanuts - a gentle introduction to basic mechanics - and by midway through the game you're feeding on cows, attack choppers and those pathetically solid humans.  The name of the game is often the same - you enter an area with a plug you are too small to absorb.  You negotiate the environment - often solving (gentle, never-too-hard) puzzles in the process, and once you reach your target girth you can absorb the plug and proceed.

Mutant Blobs Attack has charming presentation - all bold lines and slightly muted pastels, with an omnipresent "tube" effect on your sleek Vita screen.  It's very cool to absorb a guy and see him floating around inside your gooey body, the music is suitably enthralled by the silly 50s horror vibe, and load times zip by like a blob caught in a vacuum chute.


Both pleasing and strangely uncomfortable is the physicality of the titular blob.  When you impact a surface, "he" suitably deforms into it - his boneless being threatens to drip off edges, his very-grippy body allowing him an extra moment to leap to safety where simple two-legged climbers might falter.

At the same time - while it's very cool to have such precise visual feedback when he hits a surface, you're denied it when he leaves it.  We're so used to animations that remind us of how much effort our heroes are putting in to their epic climbs, it's a bit strange to receive no such feedback here.

And that's the worst thing I can say about Mutant Blobs Attack.


It's a lean game, with around twenty levels, and it does force motion controls on you from time to time - but fortunately, they were no impass to a gamer as entirely alergic to touchscreens and tilting as I am.  They permit you to flip switches and manipulate objects in the environment - but crucially never really demand you multitask between analog controls and motion in order to win the day.

Mutant Blobs Attack is a cheap game - eight dollars - and for its price, it's a fine little addition to your Vita's downloadable library.  A breezy, charming, comfortable way to spend an afternoon, Mutant Blobs Attack won't redefine your expectations of a genre and won't make you a lifelong fan of Drinkbox Studios - but it's easy to like, and makes it difficult to not be a little hopeful about the studio's future.


THE GOOD
  • eight bucks!
  • fun presentation
  • nice music!
  • comfortable, easygoing mechanics
  • puzzles that are never too hard
  • You can totally absorb and digest people.  And cows and stuff. 
  • an easy-like-Sunday-morning, breezy little nosh of a game
  • I love the way your blob will deform - from squishing in to tight spaces to slapping in to an edge
  • the handful of mechanics which are added throughout the game are well thought-out, with a lot of mileage
  • that last level was pretty awesome
  • makes one hopeful about what Drinkbox will put out next
THE BAD
  • I find it weird to be playing a platformer without a jump animation.  Is that like, the worst negative point I could possibly come up with?  I think it might be.
  • your motion controls aren't bad, Drinkbox - but that doesn't mean I have to like them
  • never really transcends "pretty good."  It's good.  It's fine.  It's fun.  No biggie. 
THE VERDICT
A breezy, pleasant little nosh of a game.  Check it out. 

3 comments:

  1. Is it terrible that watching you play this game for a few minutes the other night made me want a Vita? Oh bank account, I am sorry for what I am considering doing to you...

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  2. Flying girls and Rayman Origins? No sale. Sentient, carnivorous jellyfish?

    Now we're talkin'.

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  3. Gravity Rush (I assume that's the flying girls) was beautiful but not really something I'd play and I have Rayman Origins for the PS3 so there wasn't much of a draw for me to want to play it on the Vita. Just think, I'll get a Vita and you can recommend a whole other set of games for me to try!

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