A Boy and His Blob

A Boy and His Blob
A Boy and His Blob Cover
Platforms Wii
Genre An Adolescent Adventurer and his Amorphous Adaptable Acquaintance
MtAMinutes to Action 0
Keep Playing? Sure
Buy from Amazon

I’ve been on a bit of a Wii fix lately. Perhaps all the Wii U buzz inspired me to check out B-List Wii games that initially flew under my radar. Whatever the cause, my little white waggle box had a busy month, thanks to Lost in Shadow, Link’s Crossbow Training, and FlingSmash.

Up next, A Boy and His Blob. This 2D puzzle platformer is a modern take on the original Trouble on Blobolonia, one of many quirky NES games I remember seeing at the rental store as a kid. But I took home Super Mario Bros. 3 every single time.

In a way, picking up the new Boy and His Blob feels like atonement for Young Nate’s disinterest in anything without “Mario” in the title. But I also wanted it because it looks adorable. Seriously, you feed the blob a jellybean and it happily forms into a ladder. I probably had an imaginary friend just like that when I was six and couldn’t reach a tree branch.

- I have to say I’m impressed with the clean presentation. There are no menus in the game, other than the wheel you bring up to switch beans. The soft yet adventurous music fits like a glove, and it looks great too. I didn't expect such dynamic visuals, with lighting and shade effects grounding the character sprites in the beautifully drawn forests.

- The puzzle-platforming is incredibly simple thus far. Can’t reach the floor above? Ladder. Need to jump high? Trampoline. Kids shouldn't have much trouble with it, at least. But the process is protracted with the constant need to manage beans and Blob. If you want a ladder, you have to switch to the black jellybean, toss it to the spot, call Blob to come eat it, climb the ladder, then call Blob again to snap him out of it. It’s cute, but it might wear out before long.

- Going into Blob, I figured the whole jellybeans-for-transormations spiel meant there would be Metroidvania style ability acquisition in an open-world style. Nope, it’s all linear stages so far, with the jellybean-abilities in each level predetermined and culled only to those necessary. That’s fine, I guess, but it seems strange to just start a stage and suddenly have a brand new jellybean in my bag while others have disappeared.

- Each stage has three treasure chests to find, though they’ve all been in plain sight so far. Acquiring all three unlocks some fancy swag for your treehouse and a challenge stage. Completing the challenge stage unlocks concept art. I like how none of this is spelled out in tutorials or shoved into menus, it’s all right there to check out at your home base.

- An adolescent boy living with his adaptable nonhuman best friend in an awesome treehouse...this game reminds me of Adventure Time, but subdued and genuine. Coincidentally (or is it?) WayForward Technologies is developing an Adventure Time game for 3DS; I really hope it lives up to the subversive and bombastic TV show.

Minutes to Action: 5

Would I Keep Playing? Sure. Blob is about as tough as it looks on the cover, but it's also twice as enchanting. The game looks fantastic in motion, though maybe I'm just loving it with Lost in Shadow's bleary shadows still fresh in mind. Hopefully Blob's excellence is more than just skin deep.

a boy and his Blob Parachute

Comments

I wonder if this game would

I wonder if this game would be suited for an 8-year-old, as I've been trying to get such games (the textures and colors are amazing in my opinion). Escorting Blob might add complexity to the game and perhaps it's not the point. The visuals look like watercolors, reminding me of the old arcade games I used to love before :-)
Escort agency
Thank you for the suggestion

Mark

Looks fun, but slow

I wonder if limiting the number of jelly beans you have would have made it more puzzle-y. Maybe having to worry about the safety of the blob a little more would increase the challenge (or frustration).

Perhaps

As is, I don't think the game would benefit from a bean limit or having to escort Blob. Bean placement is crucial, to the point where you may have to toss the same bean three or four times before getting it pixel perfect. And Blob is a bit dumb, so having to worry for his safety in addition to making sure he follows would be among the worst escort missions.

The later levels are pretty satisfying. A good combo of head-scratchers and decent platforming challenges. If Blob didn't need so much hand-holding, it would be a top notch puzzle platformer.

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