Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Review: Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack (PC)

Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack debuted on the Playstation Vita in the early part of 2012 to much critical praise. Since it was essentially a launch title for the system it put to use some of the touchscreen/pad capabilities of the system. While such support on PC might have made the game more "Visceral!" it still fares quite well as an action puzzler.

As one of the titular mutant blobs, who is strangely endearing for a gelatinous thing, the player moves it around the environment absorbing items to engorge itself and then consume the cork that blocks access to the next area.

Each area is basically setup as a "puzzle room" with the consumable items locked away behind something or placed behind a series of obstacles.

The variety of puzzles is good and many of them, especially later on in the game put all of the blob's powers to use.

Besides rolling and jumping the blob can also change the polarity of his body to stick to metal objects or repel itself away from metal objects. The blob also has the ability to use telekinesis to move certain platforms. It can also slam itself into objects and in certain areas propel himself around like the most dangerous balloon ever. And the final benefit of being a blob is the ability to squeeze into tight spots.

Mutant Blobs Attack isn't an easy game by any stretch. The puzzles can be little taxing, but it's the action parts -- trying to float through a long tube of killer spikes or "slighshoting" around objects -- that can result in the most hair pulling. Getting through those sections ellicits relief more than anything else. Unlike the puzzles which ring the bell of satisfaction once the puzzle is completed.

If players follow the indie gaming scene at all, there are plenty of nods in the background to other indie developers. Sometimes it's a more vigorous nod such as when the blob jumps into a fan and is fired at a stick house at the other side of the screen.

This all seems strangely familiar...

The big knock against Mutant Blobs is that there's no escaping using the mouse, even if you have a gamepad plugged in. For some reason, telekinesis must be used via the mouse. It makes some of the quick action required for a few of the puzzles that much more difficult. Although it's not perfect, keyboard and mouse may be your best bet because holding the controller then dropping it to grab the mouse and use telekinesis sure as hell feels horrible. Unless I'm missing something, there's no option to reassign keys.

With it's great sense of style and creative puzzles -- and easily digested price of $7.99 on Steam -- it's an easy title to recommend.

- Aaron Simmer

The Good:
- Awesome style
- Good puzzles, both environmental and physics/logic

The Bad:
- There must have been a control solution for telekinesis!

Score: 8.0 / 10