Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack (PC) Review

By Jordan Hurst 14.05.2016

Review for Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack on PC

Gamers are a misanthropic lot. That's the simplest explanation for the success of games like 'Splosion Man, Alien Hominid, or Destroy All Humans! - titles featuring playable sci-fi antagonists laying waste to crowds of human cannon fodder. Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack is another entry in this oddly specific category, although it feels more like a pastiche of existing products than its own entity. It takes the 2D side-scrolling action of the first two aforementioned games, coats it in the Cold War-era pulp style of the third, and adds an unexpected helping of Katamari Damacy's "absorption" gameplay. The result is unfortunately less interesting than it sounds: a functional, but inconsequential, release that barely realises any of its potential.

If the game was just Katamari Damacy as a 2D platformer, it would actually be more enjoyable. Instead, the concept of growing in size by consuming bigger and bigger objects is so rigidly implemented that it's more of a glorified door-and-key system. After a promising opening in which you sneak through the nooks of a college dorm picking up beer cans and stationery, the level design frequently falls victim to this same artificiality. Much of the game takes place in underground tunnels inexplicably filled with lasers and floating blue orbs, removed from any appreciable sense of scale or reality. Similarly, oversized corks are used to wall off future areas - a bit of visual humour that also lazily avoids the need to think of more appropriate obstacles.

Visual humour is a specialty of Mutant Blobs Attack - the playable blob's permanently surly eyeball is a particular favourite - but it's not enough to distract from the feeling that the game evolved from a student project. It's not broken or unpolished, as that label usually connotes, but it has many of the trappings of a creation designed to cut corners while showing off a specific skill set. The previously discussed unimaginative obstacles and environments are the corners, while the skill set is physics programming. As impressive as said programming is, realistic physics are usually the downfall of any game requiring precision, and having them govern the gelatinous protagonist's movement so heavily, while uniquely appropriate, also gives the controls an uncooperative viscous feel.

Screenshot for Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack on PC

Mutant Blobs Attack is also in a similar predicament to Rocket League, in that it seems totally original until realising that it's a sequel to a game that actually did even more with the concept. For starters, despite the title, there's only one mutant blob available, because the multiplayer component of Tales from Space: About a Blob has been excised entirely, as has the ability to launch objects. The old electricity manipulation mechanic has been largely replaced with limited telekinesis (which almost certainly controlled better with the touch capabilities of the original Vita release), while the only truly new feature is the use of flight within designated areas. At least the magnetism function, which allows players to latch on to or launch off of metal objects, has been retained.

This review probably sounds more negative than intended, because the enjoyable qualities of Mutant Blobs Attack simply provide very little substance to talk about. The puzzles are mildly satisfying, and thanks to frequent checkpoints, the platforming is never frustrating and can even be entertaining when the magnetism mechanic is used in inventive ways. The music is catchy and fun, if a little overwhelmingly bombastic, and the sound effects range from funny to annoying to just…there.

Screenshot for Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

"Just there" is an appropriate summary of the experience as a whole. It's a passable way to eat up a few hours. Cartoonish dark comedy aside, it's a completely inoffensive product that doesn't make any huge mis-steps, mainly because it barely takes any steps at all. Its most interesting mechanics are all holdovers from other titles, including its own predecessor, and they are merely arranged into a fairly slow, straightforward puzzle-platformer. Coming from the developer that would go on to make the stellar Guacamelee!, that's quite a disappointment.

Developer

DrinkBox

Publisher

DrinkBox

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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