Tales From Space: About A Blob combines Katamari Damacy with 2D platforming in the PlayStation Network debut for Drinkbox Studios.
What’s It About?
Tales From Space: About A Blob begins as a group of blobs launch themselves off of a planet into space towards the Earth. A mysterious scientist notices the group of blobs and fires some missiles to stop them, which results in knocking out a smaller orange blob that he captures and brings to the laboratory in his home. You take control of this lonely orange blob to help him escape from the clutch of his captor and find freedom.
The most interesting part of the platforming is that your blob needs to absorb the objects around you to grow and progress through the level, which gives it a Katamari Damacy vibe despite being a linear 2D platformer. There aren’t a ton of items around for you to absorb, but just enough to reach the goal size needed to get to the next area and a little bit more than can help you reach collectibles that may be out of reach since you can jump higher as you grow in size. You have more abilities than just absorbing stuff, as you can expel the objects you've eaten to destroy turrets and other hazards along with some magnetic and electric abilities that you’ll gain later on to help you get past new obstacles and solve puzzles along the way to freedom.
Why Should I Care?
About A Blob is simply a fun platformer that manages to have a lot of variety in level design in conjunction with the abilities that are rolled out that keeps the experience fresh throughout the campaign’s seventeen levels. The magnetic ability adds a lot to the platforming mechanics as pulling towards and repelling away from metallic parts of the level is a nice change of pace from the basic mechanics. The electricity ability is more of a puzzle mechanic since you’re generally absorbing electricity to put into a device that activates some machine to let you into the next part of the level. At the heart of the game is the need to absorb objects and grow in size, as getting big enough to eat people and other creatures evokes a similar feeling as it did in Katamari Damacy when you could stop messing around with scraps and start grabbing the big stuff in a growing frenzy.
There is a decent amount of replay value in About A Blob with co-op and various collectibles and goals that can facilitate replaying levels. The local co-op lets you and a friend work together to get through the same levels as in the single-player. Besides just getting through the game, there are three blob friends and a ton of dots to collect in each level along with par times that encourage you to get through the levels as efficiently as possible. They may not be the deepest reasons for replay value, but the pure fun of the game made me replay a number of levels even after I had beaten the game. There isn’t much in the way of downsides to About a Blob, though the game is relatively short at just under five hours to complete the campaign and it wasn't ever all that hard to get through outside of one or two areas. The other minor issue I had is that there are a few of the collectibles that seemed like they either required a lot of backtracking or a second player to make long and high jumps possible, which seems to clash with the way the levels are designed for one or two players to be able to get through.
About A Blob has a great art style that was reminiscent of Genndy Tartakovsky’s style that works really well for this 2D platformer, especially with the way the blob’s eyes change depending on what you’re doing. Since you’re usually a small blob escaping from your prison, it was nice to see lots of activity in the background with bigger humans roaming around to give you an idea of how big or small your blob is at the moment. The soundtrack is also terrific with a nice retro sci-fi style that is very catchy and complimentary to the fun vibe that the game exudes.
Why Is It Worth My Time And Money?
At $15, Tales From Space: About A Blob is pure fun in the form of a platformer that is definitely worth the price of admission. Though it may be a bit short, the ride is a great experience. If you’re still hesitant, there is a demo to try it out first.