Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack
Developer: Drinkbox Studios
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack is a fun side-scrolling pluzzle platforming game that makes good use of some of the Vita specific hardware without it feeling gimmicky. A wonderful art style with a great sense of humor, this game is a strong addition to the Vita launch.
The story opens with a sinister looking blob escaping from its cage within a science lab and stowing away in a college student’s book bag, but not before freeing his blob friends.
Mutant Blobs Attack is a puzzle platforming game with a lot of physics based challenges. The player controls the main blob, which needs to grow larger in order to progress through the stage. Rolling over and absorbing objects is how the blob grows, similar to that of the Katamari games. The blob size is persistent throughout the levels and as I progressed through the story I would always excitedly await to see what objects I would be able to absorb next.
Absorbing objects isn’t the only thing the blob knows how to do; it also has the ability to attract or repel certain environmental objects. The magnet gameplay is signified by a purple glow around the object, and in which the player presses the right shoulder button to repel from the object or left to attract. It took a few levels before I got comfortable with the magnet mechanics, but felt really rewarding once I had mastered jumping and repelling objects at the same time.
In addition to magnetic powers, the blob can also move designated objects to circumvent traps and solve the level. These objects are signified by a green glow, and a dotted line to show the movable path. To move them the player must use the touch screen and drag the objects to a desired location. Most of these sections are miniature puzzles in the level, figuring out where to move what.
The platforming mechanics feel tight, with wall jumping made easy thanks to the blob sticking to surfaces, causing him to slowly slide down surfaces.
In some sections of the levels, the blob gains flying abilities, where the blob gains some sort of rocket and traverses the level by propelling around instead of jumping. Momentum plays a big part in these segments and a booster rocket can be used by pressing either shoulder buttons or pressing the middle of the rear touchpad to give the blob the speed it needs. This was another great way to break up the gameplay and make players play in a different style.
The puzzles start out simple, but grow in difficulty as more enemies are introduced to the player and complexity of the levels increases. In the later levels the player dies much more frequently and the game puts a larger emphasis on timing while doing multiple things at once. Dying however is no big deal. The game has a frequent and automatic checkpoint system, and reloads virtually instantly after death. This makes for failing the same difficult maneuver multiple times in a row not a big deal, because it could span over the course of just a few seconds.
The game has five worlds that range from a college frat house to the moon. Each world has three to five levels in them and each level has two hidden blob friends to find within. These hidden blobs add to the score and are necessary if a gold medal rating is desired.
The worlds have an optional bonus level which is controlled entirely using Sixaxis motion. The top down maze levels often have a different art style from the rest of the game. These bonus levels are a great addition to the game, and it offers a good change of style. The tilt controlled levels are a lot of fun and make good use of the motion sensors in the Vita. The goal is still to find the exit and absorb and grow as much as possible. One thing I noticed while playing these levels is the Vita screen would dim due to no buttons being pushed. This can be changed by adjusting the screen settings in the Vita and is only a slight annoyance as the levels aren’t too long and pushing a button or moving a stick brings the brightness back up to full.
The biggest fault of this game is that it is too short, and can be completed in around four hours. I was having a great time playing the game, and I completed it in one night. It has some replay value if you’re interested in going back through the levels to get a better score and rank higher on the leaderboards and has a trophy for making sure to collect all of the hidden blobs.
Mutant Blobs Attack has a charming sense of humor which is illustrated through the colorful and cleaver art style. Signs throughout the background are full of puns of video game references and pop culture. Beer cans clearly designed to look like Pabst Blue Ribbon are labeled hipster juice and I saw a billboard for a music shop with the tag line “All your bass are belong to us.” I found myself constantly admiring the background art and reading every sign that I could find trying to figure out what part of Internet culture, or which existing video game they were acknowledging.
At the end of each world stage is a quirky video segment which progresses the story about this mutant blob.
The Final Word:The charming humor combined with the dynamic puzzle solving is what makes Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack one of the best games currently available on the Vita. It makes use of some of the Vitas hardware without feeling like features were just shoehorned into it. The different game modes make it easy to pick up and play through without getting tired of a certain level mechanic.
MonsterVine Rating: 4.5 – Great