Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

A Boy And His Blob (Wii) Review

Review for A Boy And His Blob on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

2009 is the 20th anniversary of A Boy and His Blob, a cute little platform game with a heap of puzzle goodness mixed in for good measure. The original was released on the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System and quickly garnered a cult following, one clearly large enough to warrant WayForward Technologies stepping up and teaming with Majesco Entertainment to remake the game for Wii. But has the original game’s charm been successfully transferred across to a new format and has WayForward managed to have the same magic touch it had with Shantae on GBC and Contra 4 on DS?

The world of Blobonia has been attacked by an evil Emperor, leaving the extremely cute Blob protagonist to retreat from its home land and escape to planet Earth in search of help. Interestingly enough, rather than enlisting the aid of the armed forces, Blob ends up befriending none other than a young boy...hence the ‘does what it says on the tin’ title of ‘A Boy and his Blob’! The unlikely duo make one heck of a devastating team, though, with any deficiencies in the boy’s repertoire of moves more than compensated by the range of abilities the blob has up its figurative sleeve. You see this may appear to be a run-of-the-mill platform romp, but in reality what has been crafted is a finely balanced mix of traditional running-and-jumping, with a wide range of clever puzzles.

The titular blob just loves its jellybeans and the boy conveniently has a seemingly endless supply of them, in all sorts of different flavours. Since all the boy can do is slowly trot along, jump short distances and cry out for the blob’s help, it is quite fortunate that each variety of jellybean not only keeps the round, white alien happy, but also has the ability to transform it into useful objects to ensure the boy can progress through the forty main levels on offer. The stages are spread equally across four separate locations, each stunningly hand-drawn and bursting with style and charisma. The game’s charm comes not only from the aesthetically pleasing background setting, but also the main characters themselves, with the little boy voiced by the son of one of the developers, while motion capture is used to mimic the child-like movements exactly.

Screenshot for A Boy And His Blob on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

In terms of how a standard level works, the boy will generally wander along and come across a particular obstacle, with the key to overcoming it being the appropriate use of jellybean / blob ability. At the start of the game it comes down a simple case of turning the blob into a ladder to climb up to platforms above or below that cannot be reached, or making it into a trampoline to bounce upwards to scale even larger heights. However, further down the line it becomes a case of knowing how to use a mixture of manoeuvres to figure out situations - for instance, having to make a hole in the ground so a large monster can drop to your level and charge at the stones blocking your path. Then a trampoline needs to be quickly despatched so the boy can jump over the on-coming beast. The blob can also become an anvil, to weigh switches down or kill beasties, a parachute for gliding down / across large gaps and chasms, or even a small ball that can be thrown through tight gaps or swallowed by some enemies, only then to burst through their stomachs. There are fifteen abilities in total and playing around with the moves on offer in a particular stage is enjoyable in general, but there are normally a few different ways to reach the golden jellybean at the end of a stage (which turns blob into an exit door), which only adds to the fun factor.

Many developers try their hardest to strike a decent balance between making their game appeal to a wider audience, whilst not completely alienating that dedicated core base of gamers that are likely to come back for future releases no matter what. Sadly, though, achieving such an equilibrium state is easier said than done, and more often than not, games will heavily slew one way or the other. WayForward, however, has done an absolutely superb job of hitting the target in this respect. Working through the standard courses is not exactly an overwhelming challenge, thanks to the numerous check-points across a stage and the fact that there are infinite lives for the boy. However, there is added incentive for veteran gamers to take the time to slowly scour the surroundings to find the three hidden treasure chests per level. That incentive? Well, for each three collected, a special challenge stage opens up, some of which can be agonisingly tough. Then, if that was not enough, as a reward for being so painstakingly diligent, knuckling down and grinding through, there is a great selection of extras, such as concept art and development video clips. It is very difficult to find any flaws with A Boy and his Blob. Sure, it would have been nice to have some IR and motion controls in places (such as pointer control for throwing beans, or tilting the Wii remote whilst on its side when gliding with the parachute), but the omission of such features hardly warrants any major negativity toward the game. To overlook this would be an extremely foolhardy act!

Screenshot for A Boy And His Blob on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Pure platforming fun, clever puzzles and a great range of uses for the Blob. Everything is masterfully executed, showing WayForward’s class.

Graphics

Wonderfully animated, gorgeously hand-drawn and vibrantly coloured 2D visuals that put the majority of other Wii games on the market to shame.

Sound

Peaceful, melodic tunes, complete with cute voice work for the boy, make A Boy and his Blob a pleasure to play through.

Value

Whilst the forty main stages may not offer enough challenge for some, finding all three treasures on each, then completing the subsequent extra tough stages that are unlocked to open up the game’s secrets will keep even the most seasoned gamer busy for a long time to come.

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

About this score
Rated 9 out of 10

WayForward has pulled off what Good Feel was unable to with Wario Land: The Shake Dimension - they've crafted a 2D platform title that looks stunning, keeps the gamer hooked throughout thanks to its perfectly executed gameplay and clever mix of puzzles, as well as offering a wealth of extras to unlock along the way. A Boy and His Blob is in the upper echelon of Wii titles in terms of quality and is a must buy for anyone looking for a fantastic gaming experience. An unforgettable experience.

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30.11.2009

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Developer

WayForward Technologies

Publisher

Majesco

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (7 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date TBA   Australian release date Out now   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?
Senior ModeratorCubed3 Member

Sweet, I'll have to pic this up an some point, been keeping my eye on it for some time. Won't be till next year untill I've gotten through my current games though.
Though, hopefull will pick it up before it dissapears off shop shelves.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I've had an eye on this title for a while, the graphics are really gorgeous indeed.

However, I wasn't sure that this would be worth the full price as a Wii game. After reading this review though I do have to admit I found WarioLand worth the price (moreso than NSMBW even...)

So my interest in this game just shot up from "Intriguing" to "I'll probably get this soon!!". Great review guys! Smilie

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery

It's a shame this probably won't sell too well. It's probably better than New Super Mario Bros Wii. It certainly looks better, to me.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

SuperLink said:
...I do have to admit I found WarioLand worth the price...

Wow, you mean the Wii version? Then you'll love this - I was able to get through the main adventure without too much trouble, but then a lot of the fun came from finding all three treasure chests per stage and then tackling the trickier 'challenge' levels.

(By the way Marzy, Echoes and Stulaw, Jorge will email you at some point soon about helping with the news Smilie )

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

This came out of nowhere for me, but I just looked at the trailer and another gameplay vid and yes it does look great!
One to remember. *programs memory*

I wish this was episodic/wiiware.
I just have too many full games I haven't started yet to contemplate buying another.

Please give our little random review show a try;
http://randomreviewshow.com/index.html
We have special effects and umm...stuff...

this is a nice surprise to me... I might check it out later Smilie

Adam C3 (guest) 03.12.2009 03:19#8

I'm glad to see people are seriously considering picking this up after reading this review! The game definitely needs more sales Smilie

Binny (guest) 04.12.2009 18:42#9

It really is a brilliant game. for me it's up there with the charm of Mario Galaxy.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I certainly hope that it sells well enough to warrant a sequel. From the answers to an interview I just did with WayForward, it's clear that they want to do another game featuring Blobette...It all depends on how well this one does first, though.

I was surprised to see two copies of this in GAME in Warrington last week, yet no copies of Muramasa. At least it's being stocked at the big retailers then!

Have any C3'ers picked it up yet?

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

jesusraz said:
I was surprised to see two copies of this in GAME in Warrington last week, yet no copies of Muramasa. At least it's being stocked at the big retailers then!

I think GAME chose to not stock Muramasa because it was a new niche IP. HMV and other indie shops have been selling Muramasa though. I got it in HMV quite easily.

Have any C3'ers picked it up yet?

I might be getting it for my birthday, so I'll let you know how I find it if I do Smilie

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

SuperLink said:
I think GAME chose to not stock Muramasa because it was a new niche IP. HMV and other indie shops have been selling Muramasa though. I got it in HMV quite easily.

Yeah, Martin DeFries, COO of RSG, went on record to complain about how GAME refused to stock Muramasa. Since GAME accounts for about 80% of all retail game sales, it pretty much screwed the game here in the UK from Day One.

I might be getting it for my birthday, so I'll let you know how I find it if I do Smilie

Ah, let's hope it doesn't disappoint you Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Well I did get it for my birthday afterall as some of you may know. Smilie I've been stuck on Muramasa but today I thought I'd take a break from fast paced katana action and play some of this.

So far it's a little slow paced, but it's incredibly charming and has great music and graphics. Some of the puzzles have had me grinning already. Thanks for the recommendation C3. Smilie

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Oh yeah, very slow-paced. I liked how there was no major pressure. I think if there had been pressure, it may well have turned into quite a frustrating experience overall.

I'm sad to see it didn't set the charts on fire, but at least the people who have given it a go are enjoying it. Glad you're pleased with the recommendation Smilie

Anyone else decided to pick this up yet?

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Oh God this is amazing. Smilie

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