Platforms PlayStation 4/Xbox One/PC/Playstation Vita/Wii
Developer WayForward Technologies Publisher Majesco Entertainment
Genre Puzzle/Platformer Platform Played PC
Originally released on the Nintendo Wii roughly seven years ago, A Boy and His Blob has now received a full re-release on current generation consoles as well as the PC via Steam. The game is a puzzle platformer very evidently geared for a younger audience, but how has it held up over the past few years and console changes?
The game follows, as the name suggests, a boy and his small white blob companion. In the name of saving the blob’s home world, the two must venture across Earth and into space to defeat the evil emperor blob. As the protagonist is incredibly young, he is incapable of scaling great heights or defending himself, thus forcing him to work in tandem with his blob to reach their destination. Through an assortment of coloured jellybeans, your blob sidekick can transform into any number of tools or modes of transportation ranging from trampolines to rockets. Each level has a specific selection of jellybeans offered, limiting how you may solve a puzzle or traverse a perilous platforming section. The title follows a youth-friendly difficulty curve in that no main levels are terribly difficult at the start and the most significant difficulty spikes come in the form of boss fights. If you happen to die while attempting one of the main levels, you will respawn a short distance from where you met your demise. There are no formal checkpoints, meaning that you don’t have any concrete idea as to where your body will reappear, but it’s generally within spitting distance of where you last found yourself, minimizing the level of frustration which might be encountered by players.
As previously mentioned, the child you control is relatively young, and therefore isn’t as physically capable as an older character would typically be in a game. Touching an enemy or spike, falling into water, or tumbling from heights are all ways your character will die instantly, meaning that there is very little room for error. This can lead to some incredibly frustrating moments if you are still attempting to adjust to the seemingly awkward character motions after a fall or jump. To faithfully represent a small child of this age, the protagonist isn’t sure of his footing, doesn’t regain his balance immediately, and stumbles around a fair bit. Fortunately for many inexperienced gamers, the majority of lethal threat in this game will come from the environment rather than enemies, unless you happen to be hunting down the additional collectibles to unlock bonus levels. In the case of the latter, there are far more enemies to surpass and more complex puzzles to solve. This choice in level design creates a unique experience as the older, more seasoned gamers will likely be more inclined to chase down collectibles or want to complete 100% of the game, whereas the younger audience may only be fixated on completing the main levels.
The two strongest points in the game are easily the charming characters and variety of blob transformations. Even as an adult gamer, watching a small child run around with a malleable blob will undoubtedly bring a smile to your face, even if you aren’t enjoying the way in which the child moves. Prior to starting a level, you have no way of knowing which transformation options will be made available to you, and even when you are handed a new jellybean to use, the only way to truly figure out what it does is to try it. A large portion of what encourages you forward in the game is simply discovering what your blob will turn into next. This uncertainty and the nurturing of your sense of experimentation only adds to the experience of A Boy and His Blob. It almost puts you alongside the young boy in a foreign environment with an unfamiliar partner.
Like many modern games, A Boy and His Blob rewards players with extras when they complete optional content. Completing the bonus levels which are unlocked from locating hidden treasure chests results in concept art or even behind the scenes video footage being made available to players. A prime example of this content is a video which shows one of the development team members filming a young child (presumably a relative) wearing a backpack and interacting with a bundled up blanket designed to imitate the blob from the title. Seeing how the child interacts with it combined with cuts to how the game’s protagonist moves and behaves shows you precisely how this sort of work translated into the game development and offered insight into why the child moves in a seemingly natural yet awkward manner.
At a very basic level, A Boy and His Blob offers three or four hours of gameplay, multiplied two or three-fold if collectibles and bonus levels are sought out. Adults may find it difficult to continuously return to the title as the gameplay is incredibly linear and most puzzles are solved within a minute or so, but younger gamers will likely adore the game with a main character they can relate to and a difficulty curve which allows them to take their time with levels. The charm of the protagonists is undeniable, but that charm may wear off as more experienced gamers become frustrated with imprecise platforming in the name of staying true to a young child. There may also be times when tossing jellybeans do not result in the blob behaving the way you had hoped, or watching as your blob gets itself stuck somewhere until it finally turns into a balloon and floats over to the boy. Fortunately, the title is not targeting the individuals who will find issue with these details, and cater to those who will likely be more forgiving due to inexperience. Overall, A Boy and His Blob offers a great experience for young children or those looking for a more casual platformer, but seasoned gamers will likely not find a challenge.
- Beautiful art style and level design
- Gentle difficulty increases for inexperienced/younger gamers
- Authentically captures the movement of a young child
- Very little challenge for more experienced gamers
- Clumsy protagonist may become irritating for players
The Score: 7.8
Eric is an Xbox editor for Analog Addiction where you can find all the latest gaming news, previews, reviews, and everything else that rhymes with those words. ‘Like’ Analog Addiction on Facebook to receive all of the updates as they’re posted.