Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack was developed by Drinkbox Studios and published by Midnight City. It was released on June 18, 2014 on Xbox Live Arcade for $7.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.
Guacamelee! may have been their claim to fame, but Drinkbox Studios has been making games long before their luchador adventure. Their previous game, Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack, began its life as a critically-acclaimed PlayStation Vita launch title in 2012. Two years later, and the handheld game has finally made its way to consoles. XBLA players may be a bit late to the mutant blob party, but better late than never. This is a fantastic port of a fantastic game.
Mutant Blobs Attack stars a particularly grumpy mutant blob, who has been the subject of science experiments until it gets the opportunity to break free. Now it’s out to take on the world, saving fellow blobs and consuming everything in sight. This sidescrolling puzzle-platformer is extremely well-executed, mixing a fun-to-control protagonist with impeccable level design. It may seem simple and silly on the surface, but that’s all part of the charm.
Here’s what we liked:
Gelatinous platforming – Mutant Blobs Attack is an amazing platformer. Playing as a blob of goo puts a unique spin on the genre as you roll, squish, and fling yourself through various environments. The blob has its own jiggle physics, but the controls work flawlessly no matter what shape it’s in. The game has you consume various odds and ends smaller than you in order to grow bigger, with food often hiding at the end of an obstacle course or environmental puzzle. The growing mechanic is very fun and rewarding; you begin the game no smaller than a water droplet as the blob’s persistent size increase leads to one huge finale.
Great variety – Over the course of its 24 levels, the game never gets dull. It does an amazing job at layering on new concepts; despite having a relatively small move set, the level design always has you trying new things. There’s also a good checkpoint system; while not being extremely difficult, the times when you do die you’ll respawn in the closest place out of harm’s way. While the majority of the game is platforming, stretches are broken up with segments where the blob becomes rocket-propelled and fly around. Bonus levels switch the game from a sidescroller to a top-down perspective, providing a good spin on the eat-it-all gameplay. The game also has good replay value, with hidden friends and high-scoring gold medals encouraging multiple runs of each level.
Use all the references! – Despite starring a blob that has a vendetta against humanity, the game has a very cheeky attitude. The fun gameplay is complimented with a cute and colorful art style that pops off the screen. The game’s cutscenes are news reports, with anchors mumbling about the growing blob menace. Everything’s made to look and feel fun, but what sticks out most is this game’s love of other games. Almost every sign and poster in the game contains a sly reference to something. Always keep your eyes on the background, especially if you’re a fan of indie games or cheesy puns.
Here’s what we didn’t like:
I want to touch it – Mutant Blobs Attack began as a Vita game, but for the most part you’d never guess. The bonus stages that once used tilt controls now use the analog stick, and that feels very natural. However, in some levels there are movable platforms with mechanics that were originally meant for touch controls. On Xbox, these platforms are moved with the right stick, and you can target different platforms using the left and right bumpers. Unfortunately, you automatically target the platform closest to you, and the targeting automatically resets every time your blobs move. This can slow you down or mess you up when there are multiple platforms on-screen. Luckily, these awkward moments are few and far between.
Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack is a spectacular game. It’s a near-perfect puzzle-platformer with charm coming out of every charm-hole. It’s a silly ride that will keep you entertained from start to finish. Very rarely does it feel like the game was better suited for handheld, because it’s such a joy to play on the big screen with a controller in your hand. If only this game was ported sooner.
Score: Buy it