Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: A Boy and His Blob

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            Remakes of videogames from yesteryear are hardly scarce in the modern videogame industry, and revivals of franchises long-thought dead are becoming more commonplace also. Coming from David Crane, the developer accredited with the original Pitfall titles, A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia was released in 1991 across Europe on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and was met with a welcoming response at retail. A sequel followed later in that same year for the Game Boy, known as David Crane’s The Rescue of Princess Blobette, and now in 2009, Nintendo’s Wii receives it’s own A Boy and His Blob release.

            Blobolonia is under threat from an evil emperor, and the blob has come to earth looking for help. That help comes in the form of a young boy, and asElectronic Theatre Image that boy you must help the blob take down the emperor’s wicked minions, dethrone the emperor and free Blobolonia. This introduction is demonstrated through an animated sequence that has the impressive quality of a Saturday morning cartoon, and a triumphant soundtrack echoes that finesse. The storyline is then rarely referred back to in-game, though to many it will be simply irrelevant once the addictive puzzling gameplay has been experienced.

            As a modernisation of the formula, developer WayForward has kept the original gameplay design largely intact, whilst heaping upon it inventive puzzles with the new range of abilities available to your blob. The game plays as a puzzle-based Platform adventure, where the pace is more often slow and considered than a headlong rush through each of the levels. The player must feed his blob jellybeans in order to overcome obstacles and reach new areas. These could be a simple as feeding it a black jellybean to take the form of a ladder, or a gold jellybean to form a door at the end of each level, to more complicated actions such as trapping large enemies by making them fall through a blob-shaped hole. Though the game introduces each newElectronic Theatre Image jellybean with the clear intention thoroughly confirming its’ unique properties, experienced videogame players will rush through the early levels eventually finding themselves with fifteen different jellybeans to experiment with, accessed via a wheel menu on the C Button.

            The game features forty levels, divided into four different worlds and accessed through a map in the Treehouse Hideout. The map also documents the number of treasure chests found in each level, with the player unlocking new challenge levels through collecting complete sets of three – doubling the total number of levels available, in addition to unlocking bonus content such as artwork. Most of the early levels are fairly brief and can be completed in less than five minutes, however it’s the Challenge Levels that manage to provide that which their name suggests, holding the interest of more experienced gamers.

            The game can be played with either a Wii Remote and Nunchuk or the Wii Classic Controller, and both have a small amount of awkwardness involved in their respective schemes. With different jellybeans available for puzzle solving on each level, and their position on the wheel frequently changing, there is a degree of unnecessary irritation as you constantly find yourself dishing-out the wrong colour, and watching your blob float away instead of forming a ladder. The aiming arc presented when throwing the jellybeans is a nice touch, but is occasionally too fiddly and imprecise.

A Boy and His Blob features some stunning artwork, rivalling even Rising Star Games’ Muramasa: The Demon Blade for the most intricately detailed unique art scheme on Wii. The hand-drawn environments are brimming with life and present depthElectronic Theatre Image in the form of parallax scrolling. Real-time lighting effects compliment the unique atmosphere of certain worlds and the changing environments, as do the ambient sound effects.

A Boy and His Blob appears to be taking great steps to ensure that gamers of all skill levels will be able to enjoy the game, with a very steady introduction and almost unfeasibly common checkpointing mid-level. The later levels will provide a taxing experience for seasoned gamers, but it’s undoubtedly the additional Challenge Levels that will absorb the greatest amount of time. With A Boy and His Blob, WayForward have developed an absorbing modern 2D title, proving that not all videogame franchise revivals need be limited by their source material.

 

 

 

 

 

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