Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack Review
Posted by Corbie Dillard
When the first Tales from Space: About a Blob hit the PlayStation 3, it caught most people off guard with its wild 50's sci-fi theme and engaging puzzle-platformer gameplay. Now with the release of the PlayStation Vita, developer Drinkbox Studios has crafted a sequel that not only features every ounce of playability and charm of the original release, but also adds a wealth of new play control twists courtesy of the Vita's impressive arsenal of control capabilities.
When you keep blobs locked up and expose them to a never-ending barrage of experiments, you can pretty much be assured of one thing — they'll eventually get fed up and take matters into their own hands. This is where you come into play. Your job in Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack is to take control of one such blob and exact your revenge on the evil humans. To do this, you'll have to gobble up everything in sight — including those vile humans — and make your way through six worlds, each filled to the brim with dangers and enough junk to satisfy even the hungriest blob.
Since you start out rather tiny, you'll only be able to swallow smaller items at first. Once you've eaten enough items you'll grow in size, letting you eat larger objects, specifically the corks that block passages you'll need to access to complete the levels. The larger the cork, the larger you'll need to be to eat it.
While eating up everything that isn't tied down will play a major role in your progression, it's the platforming elements that take centre stage. You can roll around and jump, but it's going to take much more than this to navigate your way through trickier sections. One move at your disposal is the ability to repel and attract metallic objects using the L and R shoulder buttons respectively, allowing you to climb metal pipes and other similar objects, as well as propel yourself off them in order to reach areas normally out of range of your standard jump. You'll even hit certain power-up spots that will give your blob a rocket boost that will allow you to fly him around freely and at high speeds using the super boost executed with the shoulder buttons.
Since this is a Vita release, there are also a host of gameplay twists that take advantage of the system's touch screen. These range from dragging moveable platforms around to pulling back a giant boot that will kick your blob safely across hazards that normally couldn't be avoided. To make things even more challenging, there'll also be times when you'll need to use a devious combination of the analogue stick, button controls and touch screen simultaneously. You'll soon find that the puzzles can be extremely tricky in design and you'll find yourself scratching your head at times trying to figure out the solution. It's these puzzle elements that give the game its engaging edge.
Completing levels can be challenging enough in and of itself, but you're also going to be graded on how well you perform, rating how much you consumed and whether or not you saved the two blobs carefully hidden in each level. You'll see your points and ranking at the end of each level and even be given an online leaderboard ranking to see where you stack up against other players. As you unlock new levels in each world, you'll also find a unique Tilt-a-Blob bonus level that makes use of the Vita's motion sensors. These levels are not only extremely challenging, but also offer up a nice change of pace from the regular levels.
Not only are the controls themselves extremely responsive, but they're also very well thought-out. Even the touch screen and motion controls perform well and actually feel essential to the experience rather than just something tacked on for good measure. There's tons of variety as well, and the developer has done a wonderful job of spreading the different mechanics out, as to give you a steady flow of new techniques to make use of as you progress through the game. When you combine all of this with an online leaderboard and medal system, there's plenty of incentive to go back and attempt to better your original scores and ranking.
It's tough to put a definitive label on the visual presentation of Mutant Blobs Attack, other than it's comparable to an old 1950's science fiction movie poster. The attention to detail in the backdrops is quite impressive and the mixture of vivid and muted colours, used in conjunction with the deep blacks of the OLED screen, really make the visuals spring to life on-screen. The scrolling and animations are all very fluid and you won't see a hint of a frame rate drop or ghosting, even when the action intensifies. It's nice to see such an attention to detail in a download release and it pays off, carrying the quirky humour the game employs perfectly.
While there's quite a lot of orchestral elements, the overall upbeat vibe has a very Mission Impossible style to it. Of course as the worlds change, so too do the melodies, with tracks that sound like they were pulled straight out of a 50's horror movie and some that belong on a carousel. You never know what you're going to hear next, but it always seems to fit the current situation like a glove.
Mutant Blobs Attack is one of those games that absolutely hooks you from the moment you begin playing it and doesn't let go until the credits roll. The sheer level of charm, personality and playability found throughout the game is staggering and will easily keep you coming back for more. As amazing as the original PlayStation 3 PSN release was, Mutant Blobs Attack basically improves upon just about every facet of that game and produces an extremely enjoyable Vita gaming experience. With its extremely affordable price tag, you're getting a lot of blob for your buck.