Genre: 2-D Puzzle/Adventure
Players: Single player only
Nintendo Wifi: None
In “Way Forward Technologies’ ” re-imagining of the NES original, you once again play as a young boy, who upon being awoke by an earth shaking crash; goes out to investigate. Upon investigating the source of the calamity, he finds the blob; puzzle-solving adventures ensue.
Graphics and Animation: The 1980’s story book visual style and animation lend the title an instant charm. Hand drawn sprites and backgrounds add a nice touch, as do the the many small animated inhabitants of the games levels (I especially liked the “Angler Fish”).
“Blob” also makes nice use of light and darkness, especially when the boy and his blob are beautifully silhouetted against the lights of a city background. In some of the subterranean levels, the blob itself becomes the source of light which adds a nice visual appeal to the games look.
Blob Transformations: The different objects that the blob is able to transform into through ingesting jelly-beans is inventive and fun for a time. A few of the transformations manage to add some different, and very familiar game play mechanics to the title; offering players some game play variety.
Check Point System: This game offers players an amazing check point system. Once a player dies they’re returned to nearly the same exact location of the level that they left off at, not the beginning of it. This was a great move on the part of the developers as it alleviates a lot of the player frustration that would’ve make this game completely unbearable. The unlimited lives are also a nice touch as well.
The Boy: Or perhaps more specifically, his voice. During the game you’ll have to “call out” to the blob in order for him to return to his regular “blob” form or to get it to join you when you need it. The boys voice can range from soft and subtle to completely intolerable; as he rudely yells to the blob in the brattiest of tones, “Come On!” or “Let’s Go!”. It’s at these times when the player will start to wonder how desperate for help the blob really is to tolerate such a pain. The tone of the boy’s voice can become so annoying that you’ll wish for the blob to turn against him and lead him to his demise. The absence of an option for controlling the volume of the boys voice in the game is mind boggling.
Level and Puzzle Design: “Blob” offers players 40 “puzzle packed levels” with an additional 40 challenge levels, for a total of 80 levels. But don’t let the numbers fool you; players will quickly realize “Way Forward” definitely chose the quantity over quality model for the game as most of the levels and its puzzles become tedious and boring. The lack of challenge in the puzzles themselves is also disheartening as I had no problem traversing 99% of the games levels. Some of other flaws these levels present are those in which the player is at the mercy of the level itself. Point in case: the “parachute sequences”, where you have to fall for a short time and open your chute, while avoiding enemies. You’ll find yourself repeating these sections of the game too often, as the pattern in which the baddies move, make them nearly impossible to avoid which makes getting through these areas, a crap shoot.
The Score: While the score is affectionate and light-hearted, (which perfectly suits the visual style) it quickly becomes repetitive sounding as it loops through out the games 80 levels. Players will then search for the “Sound Options” in the game’s “Option Menu” only to realize neither exist.
No Options: The game completely lacks any options menu! This is a shame because the players can’t silence the looping score or the annoying boy. I would’ve also appreciated the option to customize the button mapping as well.
No Auto-Save Confirmation: The game will notify you upon start that it uses an auto-save feature which is a nice, but when the game never notifies the player (via onscreen message) when it does auto-save, it can make exiting the title for the first time a bit confusing, leaving players wondering where they’ve left off in the game.
Long Level Loads: Loading times in this title are surprisingly long, especially since you would assume (from the simple visuals and lack of polygons to be rendered) this game to be a very light burden on the Wii’s hardware; if a burden at all.
More Polish, Please: “Blob” lacks polish, in the sense that it needed more time in development and better puzzle/level designers, so that it could’ve lived up to its obvious potential. If there is to be a sequel, I would hope to see puzzles that actually challenge my thinking ability, and make solving them a satisfying and addicting experience instead of a means to an end. The other obvious fixes the game, or it’s sequel need can be found under “Dislikes”.
“A Boy and his Blob” is a definite upgrade from the NES original, but still suffers from over simplistic and childish puzzle designs. The title does manage to show some flash of genius within the first two stages, but as the game progresses, these clever moments are so few and far in between that the weight of the games initial appeal quickly collapses under its flaws and suffocates any semblance of fun that had once existed. It’s at this point that the game turns to the blobs transformations as its main gameplay attraction instead of well thought out and enjoyable puzzles. By the time players are able to man the “Blob-mech”, (which looked so cool in the games trailer) it ends up being too little, too late.
“Blob’s” other substantial flaw is its constant reuse of the same transformations in game play. These mechanics are used so often and in such a similar manner, that they quickly lose their novelty and leave the player with what’s left: a few glimmers in a sea of tedium and monotony.
The game retails for $39.99 and after finishing the title I can honestly say that despite the cute graphics, “A Boy and His Blob” is a low budget title being sold at a high price. But even if the game sold for $19.99, half the price, (which is what it will sell at before long) I couldn’t recommend it. If you absolutely must give this game a go; if not just to experience the potential it had to be a huge success, then I would recommend renting the game or perhaps borrowing it from a friend; I’m sure they’d gladly lend it to you, I would.
The Verdict: Not Worth It (Don’t let the visuals fool you)
About the Author: Jason Tanner is life-long video game enthusiast and a new contributor here at Nintendo Everything. He also writes for his own Wii game review site at: Wiivolution Now.