Brief Impressions: Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack

By Craig Pearson on August 17th, 2012 at 11:00 am.

STARING EYE!
Gosh! No, wait. Gish! That’s better. If there’s an obvious inspiration for Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack, Drinkbox Studios’ cute 2D side-scrolling platformer, it’s that oddly timeless IGF winner. That and Katamari Damacy. But that’s not to say Mutant Blobs Attack doesn’t have its own strengths. It certainly brings a lot to the mutant blob physics puzzler 2d platform genre.

After a morning of playing it and grinning like a loon I know this: you are a space blob. Blobs from space are known for their evil approach to humanity and their special powers of movement and such, so in the space blob world you are a cliche. As a blob, you hop around the levels, absorbing everything you can to grow big enough to eventually eat the people. Initially you are weeny, just a blob the size of a fingernail. You escape from a lab and hop around the levels looking for things to absorb, as all blobs must do. It is blob law, and if you don’t believe me you can contact my lawyer Bob Loblaw, who will tell you all about blob law on his blog: “Bob Loblaw’s Gobbling Blob Law Blog”.

Bounding around absorbing things is hindered by your size and physics puzzles. Some just involve growing large enough to knock down barriers. While others involve using the mouse to grab sliding platforms and move them around the screen to give you somewhere to land. There are surprising combinations from this that really stretch the ideas, so even the most basic framework is constantly churning up neat little surprises: a level that used the sliding platform to stop my blob from floating up into a laser grid, moving the platform along as he was pushed up, inverted all I was doing up to that point and demonstrated how smartly designed it is. Then, in a later level, it was angled and used as a catapult to bypass a floor full of spikes: a blob lobber. Just like World of Goo, there’s always something interesting around the u-bend.

Eventually you’ll be introduced to two new powers, flying and magnetising, and levels built around those powers. Again, these are used in a variety of situations, particularly the magnetism where you’ll use it to push and pull objects, as well as using it to stick to walls as you wall-hop up to higher platforms, or pulse the power on and off to float over deadly spikes.

But it’s not just the puzzles that brought me joy: the world is delightful. Gorgeous animated backdrop are distractingly full of detail: walking people and witty posters grab your attention. If it wasn’t for some slightly iffy controls that occasionally seem both unresponsive and overly-complicated, which partly a result of the game’s PS Vita touchscreen origins requireing a few mangled fingers to get around certain points, it would be the best space blob based game on the PC. It’s under £5 on Steam right now, and totally worth grabbing.

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13 Comments »

  1. HexagonalBolts says:

    While we’re on the blob games – Whatever happened to that game in development where you ping blobs about various scenes and they explode and there’s lots of points and explosions/fireworks coming out of the screen at you?

    • westyfield says:

      The one where the blobs have googly eyes and are filled with coloured paint which you have to splatter over targets? I’ve been wondering about that one too.

    • Alien426 says:

      The Splatters from Spiky Snail? It’s out on XBLA and the site says “Coming also to PC, Mac and Linux!”.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Craig Pearson says:

    It ended up on the Xbox360, renamed ‘The Splatters’: http://spikysnail.com/

    It is coming to the PC.

    • magnus says:

      ‘The Splatters’, isn’t isn’t that something you get from holidaying at exotic locales?

  3. mckertis says:

    I’d expect this to be the game where eventually you get to grow to seventy meters and snack on skyscrapers…but no. Should have called it “Mutant Blobs Slightly Annoy Your Housekeeper.”

    • Brad Grenz says:

      Not so fast. You get very big in the end. I’ll not say more to avoid spoiling a fantastic ending.

      • mckertis says:

        I’ve actually already happened to see it, but it’s not something i personally would call fantastic or…satisfying, i guess ?

        • kazriko says:

          I thought the ending was quite satisfying… And explosive.

          • Brad Grenz says:

            I thought it was a delightful conclusion. Especially if you’ve played the game and not merely YouTube’d the ending.

  4. Feferuco says:

    Not rarely, physics puzzle games manage to perfectly emulate the experience of maneuvering a couch through a narrow door. Gish gave me that, never managed to get into the game.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      Once you get good at Gish, the experience of fluidly bouncing and sliding around the levels is an utter joy. I was going to illustrate this with a link to a speedrun, but there fucking aren’t any. What the hell, internet? (There’s like two videos that claim to be speedruns but are mainly pathetic flopping about, and several for the mobile version which I hadn’t known existed and now wish I still didn’t.)

  5. Bluefox says:

    From the trailer, it looks like Tasty Planet, which also had a PC self-executable version not too long ago. That was top-down, this is a sidescroller, but it looks essentially the same.

    That’s not a bad thing; I had a lot of fun with Tasty Planet, and SMBA looks like it has that same vibe. I look forward to a “Wot I Think” later down the road, but I’ve tentatively placed it on my Steam wishlist.