Who would have thought that one of the downloadable games for the PS Vita would hold my attention more than some of the actual launch titles. Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack!!! is a fun little platforming game that features a very hungry mutant blob in a quest for world domination. If you've played PSN's Tales from Space: About a Blob, you already know what to expect.
You start off as a miniature blob, as you pick up random objects littered around a college campus such as nails, coins and loose teeth. Each time you devour any of these items, your blob grows larger and larger. The game has you going through various levels that loosely connect the story, as you start as a small blob that fits into a backpack pocket, to eventually getting shot off to the moon and then making your way back with a vengeance as a city devouring giant. It's all good fun.
In this respect, you could look at the game as a sidescrolling version of Katamari Damaci, and in a way you'd almost be correct, but the game does feature some nifty level puzzle solving. You won't always find yourself hopping around from place to place. In certain spots of some levels, you get the ability to fly your blob around, with the X button propelling you in the air. Your blob also has a 'repel and attract metal' skill, which can be done with the L and R buttons respectively. This allows for you to scale pipes or float above various hazards. Though the game starts off relatively easy, the later levels get much harder. I don't want to say they ever reach the difficulty of Super Meat Boy, but hey, there are giant buzz saws trying to chop you in half.
The key to completing levels is that you have to keep growing in order to access corked off areas. Much of the charm lies in the fact that even when your blob grows, he stays a relatively similar size, but the level around you gets smaller. It's great to see the level you started off in as a small blob, scale down as your grow to giant proportions.
It's the game's level design that takes the cake here. Even though there is usually a clear cut way from start to finish, the game has enough nooks and crannies to discover, with extra point pellets to pick up, as well as blob friends to find that boost your overall score. For the competitive types, leaderboards are present for every level which means getting all those blue point pellets and friend blobs is necessary if you want to be high on the charts.
The 1950's science fiction movie aesthetic rounds out the complete package, complete with a funky soundtrack. Believe me when I say you'll have a grin on your face while playing. Though it doesn't in any way push the graphical capabilities of the Vita, it's the minimalistic art style that gives Blobs its charm.
The game puts almost all of the Vita's new features to use, sans the camera. The touch screen is used to manipulate various objects, whether they need to be rotated, or moved around in order to get your blob from point A to B. The rear touchpad can also be used to give you a boost when rocketing your way around the anti-grav parts of levels. The built in gyroscope gets some action as well, and has you tilting your Vita to guide the blob through bonus levels, as well as the game's final level.
It just goes to show that you don't need a plastic box and a $40 price tag to be considered one of the must play games for Sony's new handheld.