Launch lineups are typically less than stellar (Fantavision and Perfect Dark Zero anyone?), so skepticism is expected. The Vita manages to have a lot of big names attached to it, names like Uncharted and Ninja Gaiden, gearing up to be a full console experience in a handheld. Yet, the highlight of the Vita may just be Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack, the cheapest title available. A hilarious and addictive 2D platformer, Mutant Blobs Attack shows off just how versatile the Vita can be without devolving into gimmick territory.
Story is not a primary piece of Mutant Blobs Attack. Short cut scenes involving gibberish speaking news anchors and clever billboards referencing 1950’s sci-fi clichés and popular video games deliver all the information needed. You control a tiny blob that suffered at the hands of human scientists and now need to consume enough junk to grow and escape the planet. The journey takes you from college frat house to small Midwestern town, from army base to the moon. While the areas you drift to are a part of a larger story, it’s the set up of the level that makes Mutant Blob Attacks special.
Early sections serve to introduce the blobs abilities. The array is simple; jumping, slamming down, wall bouncing, repelling and attracting metal and occasionally flying make up the bulk of your movements. While they flow together perfectly, the way DrinkBox mapped them to the various control points on the Vita is what makes the game so impressive. Use of the back touchpad, front touch screen and motion control are worked in seamlessly. Dragging objects with the touchpad works brilliantly, never putting you in the position of covering up the screen. Puzzles require it, but always in short bursts, never as the primary control. Areas that depend on tilting are dedicated to that, so you aren’t balancing every move in your arsenal while worried you’ll move yourself in the wrong direction. Balancing new controls usually end in disaster, but there is never a point of frustration, probably the most impressive feat of the game.
Part of the balance in gameplay is the steady upwards slope in difficulty. Skills are constantly being taught, and then tested. Early on you simply jump on ledges, fly through pipes and munch on stray garbage. As you progress there are lasers to dodge, catapults to use and shifting machines to solve. Later levels can prove to be brutal, soul-crushingly so at points, but a liberal checkpoint system helps to stymie the frustration, and learning from each mistake provides essential skills and clues for later challenges.
The cyclopean blob may not emote a great deal, but it’s hard not to fall in love with it anyway. Searching for other wayward blobs to rescue and absorbing panicked humans frames a narrative that makes you sympathize with the blob. I wanted to help him get revenge and rampage over the human world. The silliness of the premise and the ridiculous objects you consume and destroy make the story, and kept me engaged throughout waiting to see what happened next, and provided a ridiculous ending that actually elicited laughs. It isn’t essential, but stopping to enjoy the small story elements is worth your time.
Clocking in at around 5 hours, minus the bonus challenge levels, there is a surprising amount of content for the eight dollar price tag, especially when you consider the “Minis” Sony tried to push with the PSP that got upwards of five bucks for 20 minutes of play. Mutant Blobs Attack isn’t just a great game; it acts as a template for the potential success of the Vita. The unique control methods are used to enhance the game instead of being shoehorned in, graphics pop and allow for incredible amounts of detail, and it feels like a game that belongs on XBLA or PSN instead of a typical handheld experience. While not a perfect game, Mutant Blobs Attack stands out as one of, if not the best game on the Vita, and for the low price, it is a must buy for every early adopter.
|Perfect use of various controls.|
Every level builds and improves.
Charming environments and concepts.
|Some levels get a bit frustrating.|