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Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack

People think it’s easy being a blob—all you do is consume a few teenagers making out on Lover’s Lane and pretty soon you’re big enough to terrorize an entire movie theater. The harsh reality is that being one isn’t easy. You have to start small before you even begin to think about taking over the world, and practically everything poses a threat.

Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack (the sequel to Tales From Space: About a Blob) details the exploits of one tiny blob as he escapes from the lab at a local university with one goal: to gain mass and terrorize the populace. It’s much easier said than done, as the process of growing takes time and great effort. Rolling over objects allows the blob to consume them, much like Katamari Damacy. The bigger the blob gets, the bigger the objects he can consume. Beyond that, amassing matter allows the blob to consume corks that block further progress in the levels.

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Besides getting bigger, the goal of Mutant Blobs Attack is to navigate the puzzle-laden levels and find the exit. There are twenty-four levels divided among six sections that range from labs, towns, and even outer space as the blob’s war on humanity escalates over the course of the game. Rounding out the game’s length are also a few bonus levels that shift gameplay to a top-down perspective as players tilt the stage, directing the blob around like a pinball to avoid pits and gain a few extra points. It’s a cute distraction from the main game, but doesn’t particularly affect its overall quality one way or the other.

The blob has multiple abilities to deal with the dangers throughout each level beyond jumping and gaining mass. It can bounce off walls, slide through crevices, and smash down when the need arises to break open a new path. Additional abilities include magnetism and telepathically moving certain platforms to deal with a variety of tricky puzzles. The controls are responsive and action between the mouse and keyboard is balanced well, save for a few instances that require a tricky combination of skills.

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As the levels get progressively more difficult more abilities need to be used in tandem for completion. Rarely will completing a level involve using only one ability, and the difficulty progresses at a nice, even pace that never feels either too difficult or too easy, though there are plenty of ways to die including being squashed by one of the game’s many environmental hazards or more likely by red laser beams. Thankfully, the checkpoints are frequent enough that death never becomes frustrating, and the blob has a limited amount of health that can be regenerated should he find something to snack on nearby.

The experience created in Mutant Blobs Attack is one that combines rudimentary puzzle-solving and navigational awareness with a bit of platforming skills. Gameplay demands players answer two questions: what can I do to get bigger and where is the way out? The first almost always leads into the second in a logical fashion, and levels are designed to leave no confusion about what to do or where to go.

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Visually, Mutant Blobs Attack doesn’t sport top-of-the-line graphics and wouldn’t look out of place on a mobile device, but for its asking price there’s little to complain about. The cartoon aesthetics mesh well with the kitschy ’50s B-movie vibe of the whole production, with a suitably zany soundtrack that’s quite catchy even if it is a tad repetitive. The best visual element in the whole game is the blob himself—its every movement from consuming screaming pedestrians to squeezing through tight areas captures the blubbery quality of playing as a blob. You really do feel like a gelatinous mass of protoplasm rolling around the landscape.

There are leaderboards for those that are hellbent on obtaining the highest score possible as well as seeing who is currently the biggest and best blob on the block. Plenty of hidden areas are in every level for those looking to get some extra points and a bit of replay value out of the experience. Levels don’t usually take very long, so some players may find it worthwhile to go scavenging before they decide to take the exit.

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If there’s anything to complain about in Mutant Blobs Attack, it’s that the keys used for controlling the blob are spread out a bit too wide and the option to arrange them to the player’s liking would’ve been greatly appreciated. Mutant Blobs Attack has the right amount of charm and variety of gameplay elements especially considering its price. Any gamer looking to embrace their inner blob should seriously consider picking up this fun, cheap puzzle title now on Steam.

9 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in March 2010.

Gentle persuasion

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