A Boy and His Blob
Being a kid today is tough, and sometimes when you're having a hard time making human friends, you need to open up to things other than people -- things such as blobs
- It feels wholly original while also reminding us of the classic, it looks beautiful and has tonnes of character, its puzzles are both clever and fun
- The blob A.I. can be suspect and getting that sentient goo to transform can interrupt the pace, some might find it too kid-friendly
No-one says that a game has to move fast to be entertaining, and A Boy and His Blob's blemishes are easily made up for by the title's creative use of strategy when attempting to solve its numerous platforming-puzzles.
Price$ 49.95 (AUD)
A Boy and His Blob is widely considered to be a classic but there's no denying that the gameplay was a little unwieldy and disjointed. The concept had tantalising potential though and though it took almost twenty years, it's finally being realized with this fantastic remake.
Being a kid today is tough, and sometimes when you're having a hard time making human friends, you need to open up to things other than people -- things such as blobs. The first documented case of blob-befriending took place in 1990, when Absolute released the classic Nintendo game called A Boy and His Blob. This unique platformer was ahead of its time but it was critically praised and became a cult hit. Unfortunately, blob enthusiasts would have to wait years before they'd be able to feed jelly-beans to an anthropomorphic bundle of goo again.
Finally, 19 years later, Majesco has answered the blob-aficionado call by creating a remake of the timeless classic. But let's face it, while the original still holds a fond place in many of our hearts, its trial and error gameplay left a lot to be desired. So rather than just rehash the original, they took the most interesting aspect -- the morphing abilities of your blob friend -- and made a few tweaks that smooths out any rough patches. You still traverse obstacles and solve puzzles using your blob's unique ability to morph into various useful objects but no longer will you have to randomly guess at what blob-power is needed to clear said impediments, and no longer will some powers go unused due to poor design. Despite the changes, your blob's ability to morph is still the star of the show and in an ironic twist, this unique concept which debuted almost twenty years ago, makes the title play like something totally new and refreshing.
The puzzles themselves are never overly challenging and their difficulty smoothly ramps up over the course of the game, but they do require a little abstract thought. Whenever you come across an obstacle or puzzle, you have to choose the correct blob form to overcome it; gamers who are used to progressing through platformers simply by running and jumping will need to make an adjustment but I never encountered a puzzle that I couldn't eventually figure out.
I also appreciated the game's visual style. It's downright beautiful, with backgrounds that often appear as if they were water colored, and characters animations that are very detailed and rich. It's almost Disney-esque in its visual quality. The interactions between the boy and his blob provide the game with loads of charm and they impart a strong sense of personality. However, one interaction in particular speaks the loudest and it provides a strong indication of the game's target demographic: the ability to hug your blob. I found the action to be pretty heart-warming considering the context but some of the more mature gamers may think that coddling aliens, no matter how cute, only leads to trouble, and that they'd much rather put a bullet into that gelatinous pile of goo.
But regardless of how you feel about the ability to express outward affection, most everyone will feel a little troubled by the blob's occasionally bad A.I. Since the player has no control over the blob, there will be times when he disappears off screen and you have no way of advancing through the stage until the blob returns. This is a small gripe, but it can really slow down the pace after awhile. The rigmarole of feeding the jelly beans to get the blob to transform also slows the gameplay, and the combination of these two aspects makes the action feel sluggish at times.
Yet, no one says that a game has to move fast to be entertaining, and those blemishes are easily made up for by the title's creative use of strategy when attempting to solve its numerous platforming-puzzles. This again is a credit to this game's ingenuity and is something it shares with the original A Boy and His Blob, whose legacy is only strengthened by this great title.
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