A BOY AND HIS BLOB (REVIEW)

Nov 18, 2021

by

It’s a tale as old as time. A tale of a boy, all alone in the world. Until one night the heavens open up and send someone, or more accurately something that will change his life forever. Together the two must use their brains and a stash of jellybeans to overthrow the evil Emperor. WayForward’s A Boy and His Blob reimagining of David Crane’s NES classic is now available to play on the Nintendo Switch.

A Boy and His Blob

Available on: Nintendo Switch
Published by: Ziggurat
Developed by: WayForward
Release Date: November 4, 2021

STORY

As the boy slumbers one evening he is awakened by a crash. Venturing into the night he discovers a rocket. Emerging from the craft a traumatized creature confronts the startled child. Then like something from a classic film the extra terrestrial discovers a love for an earth candy and a bond is forged. Players experience the games storybook colored levels as the Boy works with his new friend to stop the evil invading Blots. Eventually they return and attempt to restore peace to Blobolonia.

PLAYING TOGETHER

The game mechanics of A Boy and His Blob are very reminiscent to the era (and controller options) the game it reimagines comes from. The player controls the Boy portion of the team and moves are limited. Most of the time you are either using the control pad to move or an action button to jump as you navigate the environment. The other three action buttons are for interactions between the Boy and Blob. The first brings up a selection wheel indicating which jellybeans are available for that level. After selecting a jellybean another action button allows you to control the toss of the treat. After playing a while I realized the boy was able to direct and angle the toss. This trick gives you the option to lead the Blob to a location before its transformation.

Upon receiving his treat the Blob undergoes one of several transformations. Depending on the jellybean the Blob can become a hole, trampoline, parachute or several other items that help the friends locate treasures and collect the levels golden jellybean to progress through each of the games 40+ levels. In order to transform the Blob back the player calls out using the final action button.

I think it’s safe to say that despite receiving second billing in the title Blob is the star of this game. This makes the players routine at times just that a routine. The typical sequence involves throwing a jellybean and performing an operation. Then you call Blob to have him return to his gelatinous form and follow along. When all this happens right the first time it’s great. Unfortunately accidentally selecting the wrong jellybean or placing it in the wrong place for Blob’s transformation to be useful requires repeating the sequence. This can hamper the enjoyment of the game a bit.

design and details

Every aspect of A Boy and His Blob reminds me of a children’s bedtime story. From the game’s beautiful hand drawn style and to it’s soothing soundtrack. The boy’s limited attack option also help keep the game PG. The Blots you encounter during your journey are usually handled by dropping them in a hole or an anvil on their head (via Blob’s transformation), nothing too graphic. But don’t let the game’s youthful nature lull you into a sense of simplicity. While each levels main path (and even the Blob’s required transformation) are laid out via signs there are hidden areas. These paths lead to most levels hidden treasures. Collecting treasures not only decorates the Boy’s treehouse and home, it also unlocks hidden levels. Add in an annoying jellybean stealing bird and some boss battles against larger and more creative Blots and this fun adventure casual gamers will enjoy.

Wayforward wisely left the story from the original in place, the updated graphics and sounds transform this game beyond the limits of it’s 8 bit predecessor. It took playing this newer version to realize how much Crane’s original title influenced later games. Looking at how the Boy and Blob operate this team is clearly a forerunner for modern game partnerships/power-ups such as Ratchet and Clank or Mario and Cappy. However all it takes is witnessing Blob turn blue as he struggles to catch up to Boy to wonder if there has been a stronger bond in games than a Boy and His Blob.

Score 8.2

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