The release of the PlayStation Vita hit with an impressive variety of genres, sizes, franchise and styles. From the blockbuster action-adventure Uncharted: Golden Abyss, to the simply wonderful platformer Rayman Origins, to the class outing provided by FIFA Football; there’s a something for everyone. So, the fact that Drinkbox Studios has not only managed to released a game that oozes quality, but also bring a game entirely unique to the Vita is mightily impressive one.
Making a first impression is always an important facet or any media, and Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack makes a resoundingly good one. A visual appearance as striking as any other, the sequel to About A Blob is an unequivocal treat for your eyes. There isn’t a frame misplaced or a graphic that isn’t crisp and smooth, with each and every animation beautifully rendering via the impressive physics engine.
Led forth with a shining art direction, the retro vibe infuses the game with a zest of personality. A 90s style cartoon aesthetic to the backgrounds blended with an art-deco palette that exudes a classic horror twist gives Mutant Blobs Attack an incredibly powerful graphical presence. Mr. Blob, the character you will helm, and his flubber-esque physique contracts and expands with fluid precision as you jump and land, allowing you to squeeze him through thin spaces. Smoothness and grace are certainly suitable descriptions for the output of the physics engine which is brings a fantastic finish to a glorious appearance.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Mutant Blobs Attack is the underlying flow of a story that you ride throughout your progression from level to level. Placed in the role of a green spherical mutant blob who has arrived on Earth to wreak havoc, you must eat – or more aptly, absorb – items of an appropriate size to grow bigger and bigger, thus causing more destruction. In the early stages of the 24 strong levels, you are tiny, small enough to fit in pipes, absorbing items of minuscule statue, but before long you’re gobbling up tanks and buildings preceding a cosmic climax.
The absorbing of items acts as the one of the puzzle elements within the platformer, as you must engulf enough to grow to a certain size, thus allowing you to absorb bigger items. It’s this Tower of Hanoi style approach that adds a brilliant level of complexity, that whilst never being overly challenging, ensures that its solving is rather satisfying.
Platforming sections, flying moments, magnetism, spikes, lasers and against-the-clock aspects all help to inject variety so that monotony can be avoided. There’s nothing overly taxing and you’ll rarely get stuck as the difficulty level is certainly on the more generous side, as you’ll see a single playthough clock in at around four or five hours. There are, of course, a few collectibles to be found and highscores to be earned but nothing that will extend the lifespan massively. Not that it matters though as this downloadable title provides enough quantity along with its top-rate quality to entertain you.
As a Vita specific title, Mutant Blobs Attack makes good use of the handheld’s control mechanics. The touch screen is used to manipulate platforms within levels, whilst the rear touch pad is used for boosting during the flying sections and the tilt controls in mini bonus levels. Each of their usages are well implemented and felt appropriate – often as one of two options – rather than unnecessarily bolted on.
The soundtrack is whimsical and memorable but was marred by some awful glitches in the final levels that plagued my final hour or so. Aside from that though, Mutant Blobs Attack is a wonderful release for a new and exciting handheld that excels in so many ways. Checkpoints are frequent enough to avoid any frustration, whilst the use of leaderboards gives you an incentive to go back and do even better.
There’s a mildly entertaining story that engulfs a fabulous series of gameplay mechanics, wrapped in an art style of utter delight. It may not be one of the big blockbuster releases during the launch period, but it’s clearly one of the most polished and enjoyable ones.