Wii

North America

A Boy and His Blob

by Andy Goergen - November 22, 2009, 9:56 pm PST
Total comments: 22

9

A character with many shapes shines in a game that stands alone.

In 1989, Absolute Entertainment released a unique title called A Boy and His Blob: Trouble in Blobolonia for the NES. The game featured a boy armed with an arsenal of flavored jellybeans he fed to an amorphous blob, who changed into one of many different useful objects upon eating a particular flavor. The game came and went quickly without much fanfare, as it was not a particularly great game, even if it was unique. Fast-forwarding to 2009, Majesco has published a WayForward-developed re-imagination of that classic NES title which captures the spirit of the original game but wraps it in a fantastic new package. Lush, hand-drawn 2D graphics and clever puzzle design give the game a style unto its own.

From the moment you step into the game's world, you'll find yourself feeling your way through the environment with no hand holding, clunky tutorial, or on-screen guide. The game lets you make mistakes, but does not punish you for them. Much like a game from the original Blob title's era, the story is shown, not told, to you. The visuals draw a vivid and clear narrative that pulls you through the levels, one after another.

Electronic Entertainment Expo 2009:

Taking a cue from Saturday-morning cartoons, the game contains mainly hand-drawn sprites and environments. The backgrounds are lush static landscapes, and in the foreground there are vines hanging from trees that sway as you walk past, insects that crawl on the ground completely unaware of your presence, and occasionally weather effects like rain or wind. This is a game that visually succeeds by not trying to do too much, and emphasizing what it does well.

The game features a very small but effective amount of voice acting. After you use the jellybeans to transform the Blob into an object, a press of the C button calls the Blob back to his native form. Depending on how far away you are from the Blob, and how many times you press it, the boy will call out an expression such as "Blob!" or "This way!" with various levels of urgency. It feels very natural, as if the boy really is communicating with the Blob. There seems to be a tangible relationship between the two characters. A press of the D-Pad causes the boy to give the Blob a hug and illustrates well the charm of the game.

The world has four hub worlds, each of which contains ten stages. Each world is composed of a different environment, from lush woods to the Dr. Seuss-inspired home planet of the Blob. The levels steadily get more difficult, but rarely reach the point of frustration until near the very end of the game. The difficulty level in the final stages is pretty high, but that’s to be expected near the end of any 2D platformer. The game is very forgiving with checkpoints; most of the time, an untimely death will merely bring you back to the last bit of solid ground you stood on. As the game progresses, there are some interesting flying and aiming gameplay segments that can be challenging. The bosses are also fairly challenging, requiring trial-and-error to determine the best strategy. Some of the bosses do feel a bit cheap, and they are probably the most frustrating part of the game. Luckily, there are no lives in the game, so dying merely sets you back a few seconds or the start of the boss battle at most.

Most of the game consists of trying to figure out which jellybeans you should use to progress. Each stage gives you an unlimited supply of a pre-set selection of jellybeans, so you don't need to worry about running out. There are fifteen different flavors of jellybean, and each one transforms the Blob into a unique object, such as a ladder, parachute, cannon, or rocket ship. In some areas you need to use the Blob as a parachute to avoid landing on a spiked floor; in other areas you may use the Blob as a bowling ball to detonate some bombs before jumping to the next platform. If you've played a game where you have to push a block onto a switch to open a door, you'll feel right at home here.

A Boy and His Blob is fairly lengthy, but half of the content is completely optional. Each of the forty stages contains three treasure chests that you can have the Blob collect. If you collect all three, a corresponding challenge stage is unlocked. Each challenge stage in turn unlocks a bit of concept art, or in some cases developer videos. The challenge stages are generally shorter, focusing on one specific jellybean. The biggest difference, however, is that unlike the regular stages, dying in a challenge stage puts you back at the start of the level.

The game comes preset with two options for control: the Classic Controller and the Wii Remote and Nunchuk combination, both of which work essentially the same way. One oversight is that although the game is very old-school in its 2D platforming design, the player is not given the option to use the D-Pad. This isn't a problem most of the time, but when trying to climb a ladder, having to use the less-precise analog stick can be a bit frustrating. The bigger control problem occurs when trying to select a jellybean. The game asks that you hold down the Z button to bring up a dial of jellybeans and push the analog stick in the direction of one of the jellybeans. The game seems to be very picky about where on that dial the analog stick lies, which means that sometimes it feels unresponsive. Luckily, the game is paused when you are selecting a new jellybean, so this doesn't cause unexpected deaths.

A Boy and His Blob looks and plays great, and at forty stages it doesn't wear out its welcome. The main game is just long enough to be satisfying, but there's enough bonus content that you'll be coming back to unlock extra stages and concept art. It's truly meant for all ages and is a must-own title for the Wii.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
9.5 8 7.5 8.5 8.5 9
Graphics
9.5

Quite possibly the best use of 2D visuals on the Wii. The hand-drawn sprite animations are very, very charming, and the character designs are brimming with personality. A little more variety in the environments would have been nice, but in a game like this, that’s nitpicking.

Sound
8

The game makes effective use of voice acting over a decent, but not great, original score. The Blob doesn't make much noise, but the ambient sounds such as rainfall are well done.

Control
7.5

There are a few minor problems due to the lack of D-Pad support, but the analog stick doesn't get in the way too often. The menu interface for selecting a jellybean occasionally feels unresponsive. The platform jumping is easy to pull off with the control scheme.

Gameplay
8.5

The puzzles in the game will force you to think without giving you a headache. On levels when you have eight or nine jellybeans to choose from, you will need to try a few potential solutions before you find the one that works best. By the time you're four or five hours in, however, you'll have seen almost all of the puzzles this game has to offer.

Lastability
8.5

The game is a bit short, but it gives you plenty of reason to go back and replay old levels, such as a total of forty unlockable challenge stages.

Final
9

A Boy and His Blob is a game that does almost everything right, and serves as a shining example of how to make an all-ages game.

Summary

Pros
  • Beautiful hand-drawn 2D graphics
  • Hug button
  • Lots of unlockable content
  • Understated story that is shown, not told
Cons
  • Doesn’t support the D-Pad
  • Frustrating Bosses
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

D_AverageNovember 23, 2009

Good review.  I really want to play this.  I might pick it up on black friday.  I see a lot of myself in that blob.

BlackNMild2k1November 23, 2009

Would the d-pad really work with the analog jelly-bean selection?

N-WorldNovember 23, 2009

This is about #3564 on my list of things to purchase, but I still hope to get it someday.

I don't think the D-Pad would work better than what they already have set up, unless you were using it to just cycle through a list. 

KDR_11kNovember 23, 2009

I also noticed that the volume of the call depends on the distance to the blob.

This game is adorable. And awesome.

I love it.

Killer_Man_JaroTom Malina, Associate Editor (Europe)November 23, 2009

I wish I had A Boy And His Blob, but I've been buying a lot more games than usual, so I think I'll work through a backlog I'm starting to build up before getting this. Still though, it sounds like WayForward has done a stellar job on this revival.

Quote from: N-World

This is about #3564 on my list of things to purchase, but I still hope to get it someday.

I really hope that you buy it soon enough that your dollars are counted when they're deciding if they should make a sequel.

MoronSonOfBoronGarnet Red, Contributing WriterNovember 23, 2009

Quote:

A press of the D-Pad causes the boy to give the Blob a hug

Best. Gameplay Feature. Ever.

StratosNovember 23, 2009

Think this game was listed on one of the major retailers Black Friday deals so I hope to snag it then.

I really want this game. If there's a Black Friday sale on Wii games in my area, I'm definately picking it up. I love platformers, and I also love high-res, hand-drawn, 2D graphics.

This game seems like it's full of win.

Mop it upNovember 23, 2009

I'm kind of iffy about this game because of how much I didn't like the NES one... but it looks like this one is much different and better. I guess I'll just have to take a chance on it.

TJ SpykeNovember 23, 2009

I love the fact that there is a button just for hugging your blob. A lack of money and too many games may put this purchase on hold though. I really hope there is a good Black Friday sale for it.

StratosNovember 24, 2009

And here is the Black Friday deal.

Quote from: BlackNMild2k1

Quote from: BlackNMild2k1

BLACK FRIDAY DEALS

Kmart

Friday Doorbusters: Friday, November 27, 4 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Saturday Doorbusters: Saturday, November 28, 7 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Nintendo Wii & DS
DSi handheld - $169.99 (Free $25 Nintendo Gaming Coupon) Friday Doorbuster
DS handheld - $129.99 (Free $25 Nintendo Gaming Coupon) Saturday Doorbuster
Need for Speed: Nitro (Wii) - $29.99 (Save $20) Friday Doorbuster
Spore Hero (Wii) - $29.99 (Save $20) Friday Doorbuster
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash Up - $29.99 (Save $20)
Game Party - $9.99 (Save $10)
Game Party 2 - $9.99 (Save $10)
Sponge Bob's Truth or Square (Wii) - $29.99 (Save $10)
Cars Race O Rama (Wii) - $29.99 (Save $10)
World of Zoo (Wii) - $29.99 (Save $10)
Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter (Wii) - $39.99 (Save $10)
Ben 10 Alien Force: Vilgax Attacks - $19.99 (Save $20)
Lego Star Wars: Complete Saga (Wii) - $14.99 (Save $5)
Lego Batman (DS) - $14.99 (Save $5)
My Sims Kingdom (Wii) - $14.99 (Save $5)


Sears

Doorbusters: Friday, November 27, 4 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Nintendo Wii & DS
A Boy and his Blob - $29.99 (Save $10)
Biggest Loser - $29.99 (Save $10)
Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum - $29.99 (Save $10)
Drawn to Life (DS) - $19.99 (Save $10) Doorbuster
World of Zoo (DS) - $19.99 (Save $10) Doorbuster
Guitar Hero World Tour Guitar Kit - $49.99 (Save $20) Doorbuster
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash Up - $29.99 (Save $20) Doorbuster

Mop it upNovember 24, 2009

I have to work on Black Friday, it's going to be hell. Not that I would actually dare to venture out into the pandemonium if I didn't. It's too bad it doesn't look like there will be any deals on any online stores...

kraken613November 24, 2009

I feel for you Mop....

I don't ever leave the house on Black Friday.

TJ SpykeNovember 24, 2009

I might head out in the afternoon ad see if there is anything left. There are only a few game deals I want thought, and I expect them to sell out quickly (the complete bundle for the original Rock Band for $50, and the Xbox 360 version of Grand Theft Auto IV for $10; both at Walmart). One thing I do want though is from Walmart as well, a 8GB iPod Touch with a $50 iTunes gift card for $195. My iPod Touch got stolen in early September, so this would be great for me. When I went out last year though, it was hell. It wouldn't be so bad if people weren't slow and idiotic, you shouldn't go out to a store if you are gonna stand still and get in the way of people who are actually shopping.

StratosNovember 24, 2009

Quote from: TJ

I might head out in the afternoon ad see if there is anything left. There are only a few game deals I want thought, and I expect them to sell out quickly (the complete bundle for the original Rock Band for $50, and the Xbox 360 version of Grand Theft Auto IV for $10; both at Walmart). One thing I do want though is from Walmart as well, a 8GB iPod Touch with a $50 iTunes gift card for $195. My iPod Touch got stolen in early September, so this would be great for me. When I went out last year though, it was hell. It wouldn't be so bad if people weren't slow and idiotic, you shouldn't go out to a store if you are gonna stand still and get in the way of people who are actually shopping.

Oh! Tell me more about this deal. Is it time sensitive or can I get it any time that day? My GF and I are going to foray out into the wild that day for fun and I need a new, bigger iPod since mine is broken.

I'm picking this game up tonight with birfday money. Exciting!

NinGurl69 *hugglesNovember 24, 2009

Will Cthulhu join the family dinner table for Turkey Night festivities?

Cthulhu likes turkey.

Cthulhu likes children's souls.

NinGurl69 *hugglesNovember 25, 2009

Cthulhu probably lacks table manners.  If you put the Turkey in front of him, he'll absorb it by lowering his chin.

Share + Bookmark





A Boy and His Blob Box Art

Genre Adventure
Developer WayForward Technologies
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: A Boy and His Blob
Release Oct 13, 2009
PublisherMajesco
RatingEveryone
Got a news tip? Send it in!
Advertisement
Advertisement