A Boy and His Blob was originally released back in 2009 for the Nintendo Wii, and it arrived to high acclaim, especially by fans of the old NES game ‘A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia’. They were in fact overjoyed with the rebirth of this cult classic game. Six years have passed since the Wii release and now it’s time for the adventures of A Boy and His Blob to arrive onto Xbox One, with pretty much a simple port from the Wii.
A Boy and His Blob is a 2D puzzle platformer that follows the adventures of a boy and his alien blob. The Boy and Blob meet each other after Blob crashes on Earth while looking for help to save his planet of Blobolonia from the evil ruler and his army of oily creatures. From the moment they meet each other, they became practically inseparable, fighting together to stop evil from spreading throughout each other’s planet. The game’s plot is simple, like with the vast majority of puzzle adventure titles, which in turn allows us to focus on the actual gameplay.
You control the Boy and Blob will follow along, constantly listening for your commands. When Blob gets out of the screen in a place below or above you, you can call it to your position. You can also order it to stay in a place at any time or even give him a big passionate hug. The main feature in A Boy and His Blob relies on the transforming abilities of Blob, which can be used to either defeat enemies or navigate through the environments of the levels. The abilities are used by feeding Blob with various jellybeans which will morph him into ladders, parachutes, trampolines, holes, balls, etc. This new concept is used to overcome the various problems and puzzles of the game, and you’ll have a freer way of solving them, as opposed to being limited to just the one solution.
While progressing through the various levels, you’ll encounter switches, enemies and lots of deadly pits. Although the majority of the levels don’t require more than just a few transformations, there are some levels where you will have eight options of transformations to choose from and these are super helpful in order to reach the Golden Jellybean at the end of each level. There are always various factors to consider and these usually involve a mixture of problem-solving and well-timed actions in order to progress. Figuring out the best sequence of events is extremely satisfying, especially in the latter worlds.
Although A Boy and His Blob is a damn good, enjoyable game, there are some aspects of it that let things down slightly. One of them is the fact that the movements are restricted to the left analog stick instead of the D-Pad, which doesn’t give that precise kind of movement characteristic found in many platform games. For example, on some occasions you will feel the need to look up or down in order to get a peek of what lays above and below you and the result will see your character move slightly forward or backward. Don’t get me wrong the controls aren’t exactly bad but D-pad movements would have been much better.
Another downside comes about when you are required to run through a quick sequence of actions with very little margin for error. Admittedly, this doesn’t happen much, but the slight delay that results from calling Blob and waiting for the sometimes long transformation animations make it seem nearly impossible to complete the task. This is definitely seen in the third boss battle, where you need to dodge a series of projectiles in a small area while ordering Blob to transform itself in order to damage the enemy boss.
There’s another little issue regarding the gameplay of A Boy and His Blob and this is related to the brief performance hiccups. Framerate drops unfortunately appear and whilst these are usually presented in open world games where the loading between some areas are made in the background, thankfully they don’t occur too much but when they do, they tend to lead you to an undesirable death or two. Fortunately, the game features a lot of background checkpoints and an infinite life system, which usually seems to occur right before the place where you died, giving no more than brief seconds until you get back in action.
The art style used on A Boy and His Blob is deeply inspired by children’s books, which grants the game a fantastic visual style. The hand-drawn characters, their animations and the environments in general are lovely, but there are other aspects that lack a bit of oomph. This is especially down to the lack of detail in some areas, like the design of the terrain which is entirely filled with unnatural right angles, which gives it a bit of an archaic look. This doesn’t affect the gameplay neither the experience of the game but it would have been nice to see a bit more effort go in.
A Boy and His Blob may look an easy game to play due to its childish inspiration and inoffensive visuals but the truth is that even once you are a few levels in, you’ll notice that the difficulty gradually increases. Although the game is rated for a young audience, I fear that some of the puzzles aren’t exactly easy to solve by a 6-year-old kid, although some of the more experienced puzzle gamers won’t have too much trouble solving them.
A Boy and His Blob features a total of 40 levels divided into four worlds, five boss battles, and an extra 40 challenge levels that are unlocked by collecting the three treasure chests on each level. It can be a quite enjoyable platformer puzzle game. Knowing when and where to use the various shape-shifting abilities of Blob are the key in the game, but even with the few issues that I’ve described earlier it is something I fully recommended, especially if you are a fan of the genre.