I remember playing Trouble on Blobolonia on my NES when I was a kid. Two decades later, it came to my surprise that it was completely re-imagined for Wii. Now that it's available for current generation consoles, is the blob just as huggable in HD?
A Boy and His Blob tells the tale of a nameless boy who finds a crash-landed blob in a forest near his tree house. Around the area, dark minions of the evil emperor start to gather. So, it's time to journey with the blob back to his home planet of Blobolonia to put an end to the dastardly overlord once and for all. As you can already tell by looking at the screenshots, the hand-drawn characters are beautifully rendered. Thankfully, their animations are just as lovely. Watching the boy run and jump and the blob transform is quite the eye candy. There's even a button that allows you to hug the blob whenever your heart desires which is one of the cutest features ever implemented in a video game. In contrast, the enemies appear menacing as their dark aura pops off the screen. Overall, everything still holds up and it looks absolutely stunning even in this day and age.
You control the boy by running and jumping. He can't jump very high, but he can toss varieties of jelly beans that the blob gobbles up to transform into different helpful objects. He can turn into ladders, trampolines, rockets, a mech, a clone of the boy, and even holes (which doesn't really make any logical sense). Switching between the types of beans is easy with a quick pop-up menu. You can imagine the assortment of situations that arise to test your jelly bean tossing skills. The difficulty ramps up slowly throughout the campaign with simple puzzles at the beginning and complex scenarios unfolding near the end. It's rather impressive what this little blob is capable of.
The gameplay may be simple, but the controls can get fussy. For example, when you descend a ladder all the way then try to dismount, sometimes you can't unless you climb up a little bit. Seemingly insignificant problems like these can result in your demise if enemies are near. As I've already mentioned, the final parts of the adventure are quite tough. This may be expected yet certain situations are downright infuriating because the gameplay doesn't always complement each situation. Considering you have to wait for the blob to transform or return to your side, you eventually have to hone your timing abilities to perfection. If you don't, you'll regularly be caught off guard then have to start all over again. Because of all this, there is way too much trial and error required in the later levels. Additionally, the boss battles will surely test your patience. They're not particularly difficult, they just require you to slowly figure out exactly what to do. You could always use a guide although doing so shouldn't be necessary. In the end, these situations are simply frustrating.
On a more positive note, A Boy and His Blob's campaign consists of 40 main levels. Just making your way through all of them will take hours on its own, but there's a lot more content to explore afterwards. Each level contains a few hidden treasure chests that unlock a bonus level whenever you discover all three of them. Upon completing each bonus level, you unlock extras such as artwork and videos which are great incentives to master the entire game. Finding all of the treasures and completing every bonus level will take a lot of effort without the help of a guide so there's certainly nothing to complain about when it comes to replay value.
Although I have nothing but fond memories of A Boy and His Blob, replaying it made me remember how maddening it is. That being said, the fabulous visuals, variety of gameplay mechanics, and impressive amount of content definitely make this blob worthy of a hug.
- + Beautifully heartwarming animation
- + Array of blob transformations makes for plenty of interesting situations
- + Tons of rewarding content to unlock
- - Controls can be finicky at times
- - The final few levels are frustrating to an unprecedented degree
- - Trial and error plays too much of a role