One of the first downloadable titles available for the PlayStation Vita, Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack is a 2D puzzle platformer and a follow-up to last year’s Tales From Space: About a Blob. This title focuses on a lot of the same basic gameplay found in that original title, but it also utilizes some of the Vita’s features in an engaging way.
You play as, well, a mutant blob that escapes from a science facility to wreck havoc among the scientists. The basic mechanic is not unlike what you would find in a Katamari Damacy game. As you move through levels, you absorb objects that are smaller than you and slowly grow in size. Certain rooms have you grow to a certain size in order to proceed to the next section, and some of the items you need to absorb may be hidden away, forcing you to solve a small puzzle before proceeding. The core of Mutant Blobs Attack is genuinely amusing, thanks to some interesting puzzles and the sheer enjoyment of watching your blob grow as you progress.
Puzzles are not difficult, but they utilize the Vita’s touch screen in simple ways that don’t interfere with the game’s mechanics. Certain objects, such as rotating panels or sliding platforms, can be moved using the touch screen. These small areas are well implemented and work well with the platforming in order to create some enjoyable moments. For instance, one section has you safely guiding a ball over to a button that opens the next area. You use the touch screen to move certain platforms in such a way to block anything from destroying the ball as well as making sure it stays on its path. You’ll also need to keep following the ball yourself through a series of platforming sections. It never gets complicated, and you always feel in control of both the character and the objects you need to move with the touch screen.
As you progress, the blob gains different abilities as well, such as the power to magnetize to certain objects. You can also push yourself away from these magnetic objects in order to get to higher platforms. Many of the later sections have you bouncing from one magnetized object to another to avoid spikes while being pushed through a pipe by an air current. The timing can be tricky, but you find yourself adjusting to the speed rather quickly. Thankfully, checkpoints are generous and you will often respawn right after you die, which allows you to avoid any tedium.
Then there are bonus stages that rely solely on the Vita’s tilt functions to guide the blob from one end of a maze to another while avoiding the many holes he can get stuck in. These sections are infuriating, thanks to tilt controls that barely seem to work. At first I thought these levels were entirely optional (and most of them are), but the final level has a section that is tilt-only. While this is much easier than those bonus levels, it exposes a major flaw in the design of these sections. And, when it comes down to it, they simply aren’t fun.
If you’re looking for a fun, cheap puzzle platformer for your Vita, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack. It’s a charming little 2D platfomer with some unique ideas and plenty of engaging puzzles. Certain sections don’t work as well as others, but the package as a whole will provide you with a good 3-4 hours of enjoyable content.
Pros: Fun platforming and puzzles, good use of the Vita’s touch screen
Cons: Tilt control levels are horrid