Platforms: PlayStation Vita (reviewed), Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as gobbling up an entire city consisting of skyscrapers, vehicles and even citizens. This is something you’ll eventually be able to do in Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack and it feels good, but getting to that point can be a bit of a slog.
You start from humble beginnings in Mutant Blobs Attack as a small, lowly creature who finds itself in a college dorm room. At the start you’ll begin consuming things such as dice and erasers to increase your size and this becomes key to your progress in the game because as you grow larger in size, you’ll gain access to new areas. Sucking up various items in the environment is only a portion of what you’ll be doing in the game though.
At its core, Mutant Blobs Attack is a platformer. As a platformer, it is passable, if a little awkward. There are some sections where precision is necessary to max out your score or escape various hazards in a level and that precision just isn’t there. Luckily the game is very forgiving with its checkpoints, so the frustration is kept to a minimum, in most cases. As the game progresses you’ll be given a magnetic ability that attracts metal, as well as the ability to push metal away. These are used by holding the left and right bumpers, respectively. This can take a bit to get used to, but the game eases you into its use. Eventually it becomes second nature and allows you to pull off some pretty crazy maneuvers. Outside of the platforming, there will also be sections where you become a “rocket-propelled blob.” These parts are fine, but offer even less precision than you had while doing the standard platforming, so avoiding certain hazards in the environment can be a little awkward at times.
While you’re in control of your blob by using the buttons on the Vita, Mutant Blobs Attack can be an entertaining game, but once touch and motion controls are thrown in, things can get frustrating. Let’s start with the touch control because this was biggest issue with the game. It should be noted that I’m left-handed, so that may be some of the reason I have issue here. With that said, there are times when you need to use a touch feature and move your blob at the same time. I ended up having to use my right hand, which felt awkward and imprecise (even more so than the platforming). This is more of an annoyance than a real game breaker, as I was eventually able to pull it off, but it still led to some less than enjoyable sections. When I could use my left hand things felt more comfortable, but still a bit strange, so if you’re right-handed, these things may not even be an issue. There are also “Tilt-o-Blob” levels that rely solely on the Vita’s motion sensor, but thankfully these are optional.
Outside of gameplay, Mutant Blobs Attack is presented to the player quite nicely. The game offers up some funny level design, so if you decide to give it a try, be sure to pay attention to the background whenever possible. There are also some humorous cartoon cutscences to be seen as well, and the music and sound design fits the game perfectly, but can be a bit repetitive at times. To put it simply, from a design perspective, Mutant Blobs Attack is well polished for an $8 game.
As nice as the design is, don’t go in expecting a meaty gaming experience. The game will have you visiting 6 different areas and each area will offer up 4 to 6 levels, so it’s a little on the short side if you’re just trying to see it to the end. If you’re into getting gold medals on every level, chasing leaderboard scores, or finding secrets, you’ll get a more lengthy experience.
I wanted to love Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack, if for nothing more than its charm, but with only passable platforming and questionable touchscreen implementation, the gameplay just wasn’t there for me. I have no doubt that this game has an audience out there. However, I felt it wound up being a somewhat enjoyable, but mostly awkward experience in the end.