It's a game, all right.
Extra Life is a weekly column focused on giving games a first, second, or third chance. Each article, someone will look at a game they missed, remember fondly from their childhood, or just thought was passed over. It could be a game that received universal appraisal, or one that seemingly nobody played.
The Rescue of Princess Blobette is the Game Boy sequel to the NES A Boy and His Blob game. I'm not actually a fan of the series per se. Blobette was one of those games I had when I was younger that I definitely didn't buy and probably didn't receive as a gift; it was just lying around in my house. The game doesn't play like anything I would ever buy for myself, either.
The story goes that the protagonist from the first game and his alien blob friend are trapped in the castle tower of a crazy alchemist. Meanwhile, Princess Blobette sits captured and caged above a pot of boiling water. It's the job of the two protagonists to save her, escape the tower, and pick up some valuable treasure along the way. That's what the Internet told me—I couldn't actually gather that information on my own by playing. This is actually a running theme in Blobette. Having only the cartridge and without any kind of tutorial, I had to learn everything through action and experimentation. Of course, this is not always the best situation to be in when playing A Boy and His Blob.
The gameplay is sort of like an adventure game, but with a strong puzzle influence. You play as the boy, who carries a limited number of jelly beans of various flavors (like tangerine, vanilla, and apple), which he can feed to the blob to turn it into things like trampolines (to reach higher places) and keys (to get through doors). The flavors are listed but the resulting forms are not (until the action is taking place), so it's a game of guessing and sampling each option. There isn't a ton of room for experimentation, however, as one of the ways of losing occurs when you deplete your jelly bean supply, and since no ability to save or checkpoints are available, losing is as good as resetting your Game Boy. Making matters worse, the controls are terrible and imprecise, making some jelly bean tosses completely inaccurate for little reason at all.
Thankfully, the game length can be incredibly short if you understand what you're doing (with minor glitching, a speed run can go through the game in under two minutes). Of course, that playtime can also be extended by spending hours in front of the first doors, where the key isn't immediately available and the game doesn't tell you how to use the trampoline to get the jelly bean that makes the key accessible. I'd be lying if I said getting the puzzle-completion rush from accomplishing a basic game mechanic wasn't part of the fun, though. Of course, the impreciseness can be infuriating too, like when the stiff falling controls cause you to miss a platform and pull a Donkey Kong by accidentally landing on a much lower level, which kills you.
Like many Game Boy games, Blobette's technical stuff is nothing especially significant. The graphics are simplistic and the music—almost exactly the same as the original A Boy and His Blob—is equally limited.
So, this may not be the warmest Extra Life ever, but there is also a reason why Blobette gets one. If you already own this game, and want to dust it off for a good nostalgia trek, I recommend giving it another try. If you're a fan of the other games in the series, or just intrigued by the mechanics, you could very well have a blast with this. It's certainly interesting, and is not without its enjoyable aspects. Amidst the frustration, the game still has plenty of those "Oh! Now I get it!" moments.
Images from The Video Game Museum and Wikipedia