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Brief Impressions: Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack

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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Craig Pearson

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