Developer: WayForward Technologies
Platform: Nintendo Wii
What About Blob?
A Boy and His Blob sounds like a film you’d watch in health class, but it’s actually a charming new game for the Wii. Despite it being a remake of a notoriously hard NES game from 1989, the two don’t have much in common aside from the name and the general premise. You're still a boy, you've still got a pet blob, and you still feed him jellybeans that cause him him to morph into various useful shapes you can use to solve platform-based environmental puzzles. The blob has a great variety of potential forms, from a ladder to a trampoline to a parachute, and eventually you’ll be stringing them together in semi-rapid succession to traverse increasingly treacherous levels.
A few major differences make the new game significantly more fun than the original. The NES game was largely about resource allocation. You had limited jellybeans, and it was easy to get fatally stuck if you ran out of a certain flavor. If you needed a ladder to proceed, but didn’t have the right bean, you had to restart at the beginning. It was unnecessarily punitive. The new game removes that frustration by providing an endless supply of jellybeans. You can now experiment without fear, and will always have the solution to any problem on hand.
A Boy and His Blob also replaces the original’s single sprawling world with forty levels spread out throughout four hubs. This makes it easy to pick up and play, which is great if you’ve got adult responsibilities and don’t have time for long, story-driven games like Assassin’s Creed II or Grand Theft Auto. Like a Mario game, you can play A Boy and His Blob in fifteen minute spurts without worrying about losing your place in the story, but it also has enough depth for hours-long marathon sessions.
Although it improves greatly on the original, A Boy and His Blob isn’t perfect. The levels are often too short, the puzzles repetitive, and it’s not much of a challenge until the very end. It gets by on its adorable aesthetic, from the beautiful art design that looks like hand-drawn animation, to the touching relationship between the boy and his weird alien pet. This is a game with a dedicated hug button; push that whenever you like, and the boy will lean over and give the blob a great big hug. That hug is as warm, sweet and comforting as the game itself.