Official Nintendo Magazine

Log in to access exclusive Nintendo content, win prizes and post on our forums. Not a member yet? Join for free

A Boy And His Blob Review

Cuddly on the outside, ruthless on the inside

We're not quite sure why developer WayForward decided to make a sequel to a 20-year-old NES game that most people have forgotten about. The original A Boy And His Blob didn't exactly set the gaming world on fire back in 1989 and as a result we're not entirely convinced how successful the name will be in attracting extra sales for this re-imagining. So it's fortunate that it doesn't have to rely on the series' heritage, because it's actually an impressive game in its own right.

The plot is simple stuff. Boy meets blob, boy befriends blob, boy feeds blob jellybeans, blob turns into different objects, boy decides to help blob return to its home planet and usurp its evil emperor. You know, that sort of thing. A Boy And His Blob isn't really about the plot, though. It's more about the classic gameplay and the relationship between the two lead characters. Playing as the boy, you'll quickly begin to feel a sense of companionship with the blob and the whole thing does eventually become more than a little heart warming, due in part to the famed 'hug' button (Up on the D-Pad) which serves no purpose whatsoever other than to make the player go "awwww".

Click to view larger image

Boy, This Looks Good

We'd be the first to tell you that graphics don't make or break a game, but we'd also be lying through our teeth if we said that A Boy And His Blob's visuals didn't contribute greatly to the game's overall atmosphere and mood. The hand-drawn 2D sprites and backgrounds are nothing short of breathtaking at times, especially when lighting effects come into play (the short night section with the glowbugs at the start of the game is incredibly atmospheric). Both boy and blob are expertly animated throughout.

What the game offers in sights, it certainly doesn't skimp in sounds. The musical score is at times epic and subtle in equal measure, and the in-game effects - which mostly consist of the boy shouting at the blob to either come follow him or wait somewhere - are varied enough to not become annoying too quickly. This combination of beautiful 2D hand-drawn graphics and a lovely orchestral soundtrack make for one of the most atmospheric games available on the Wii.

Beware The Blob

It's slightly unfortunate then that despite the unblemished presentation there are a few slight cracks in the actual gameplay. Most notable of these imperfections is the blob's occasional tendency to not go where you ask it to. If you chuck a jellybean down onto a lower platform, you'd hope it would jump down and eat it.

Click to view larger image
Sometimes it'll be more than happy to hop down and scoff away, whereas other times it'll just stand next to you, bemused. It's a frustrating glitch and one that isn't exactly reassuring when trying to plan out a successful route through a level. Also on the irritant list is the need to constantly ensure that the blob is still with you. Any time you reach a high platform (usually by turning the blob into a trampoline and jumping up), it's likely that the blob won't be able to jump up and join you.

This means you have to chuck a bean down to turn it into a balloon so it can float up. While this clearly adds to the realism of the game (if you want to call a blob eating a jellybean and turning into a balloon realism), it becomes irritating very quickly and slows down your progress significantly.

It gets even more frustrating if, after jumping to the high platform, you walk on further and then realise you've forgotten to bring blob with you. Now you're too far ahead to turn back and throw the balloon bean, leaving you with no option but to kill your poor blobless lad and restart the level. Grrrr. Still, such frustration is the nature of many puzzle games and while A Boy And His Blob may appear at face value to be a straightforward platformer, it's a puzzler at heart. Every single move has to be thought out, tried, rethought, retried and so on until you figure out how to proceed. Admittedly, as frustrating as the blob is to command, this does add to the feeling of accomplishment whenever a particularly tricky section is successfully navigated. The game gets exceptionally difficult fairly quickly however, so anyone who gets easily frustrated may be wise to stay away. We're generally laid back types but the air at ONM Towers turned blue on many an occasion over the course of this review.

A Boy And His Blob is without doubt one of the most artistically accomplished games on the Wii. A few frustrations prevent us from recommending it wholeheartedly but if you're willing to see past its irritating little quirks you'll still be in for a treat.

Comments

10 comments so far...
Add a comment

  1. ShadowofPain Friday 6th Nov 2009 at 16:47

    I saw the score in the mag and I was like WTF? I know the average for this game is 81% but really it deserves to be higher. But then again I haven't played it. Does the Blob AI really kick the score down THAT much?

  2. Nelsonator15 Friday 6th Nov 2009 at 16:48

    It really annoys me when ONM create so much hype about a game and then give it a score in the low 80s. They did it with Spyborgs AND Scribblenauts and now they've done it with this game.

    Don't get me wrong, they still look like good games to me but from the way they put it I thought they'd reach the very high 80s if not a Gold Award. It justs makes me wonder why they never mentioned the poor AI of the blob in any of the previews. :roll: But oh well.

  3. ChrisONM Friday 6th Nov 2009 at 19:13

    It really annoys me when ONM create so much hype about a game and then give it a score in the low 80s. They did it with Spyborgs AND Scribblenauts and now they've done it with this game.

    Don't get me wrong, they still look like good games to me but from the way they put it I thought they'd reach the very high 80s if not a Gold Award. It justs makes me wonder why they never mentioned the poor AI of the blob in any of the previews. :roll: But oh well.


    It's because usually stuff like AI is the last thing to be fixed before the game's ready. Since the AI's one of the most important aspects of a game it's constantly being tweaked right up until the last minute.

    It would have been unfair to criticise the AI in ABAHB at preview stage because there's a very good chance the annoyances would have been fixed before it got to review stage. Usually this is the case with 90% of games, but unfortunately in this case it wasn't.

  4. Andy88 Saturday 7th Nov 2009 at 11:20

    I'm quite interested in this. I loved Wario Land Shake Dimension, especially the graphical style, and this looks quite similar. It reminds me of Yoshi's Island back on the SNES.

  5. Tekkonkinkreet Saturday 7th Nov 2009 at 15:25

    very nice review! it's a shame that the only companion you've got to rely on has poor AI, nevertheless I think the game looks amazing. that's the magic of hand drawn backrounds, it always feel "nostalgic", crafted with a lot of effort, if you know what I mean :)

  6. Nelsonator15 Saturday 7th Nov 2009 at 23:16

    It really annoys me when ONM create so much hype about a game and then give it a score in the low 80s. They did it with Spyborgs AND Scribblenauts and now they've done it with this game.

    Don't get me wrong, they still look like good games to me but from the way they put it I thought they'd reach the very high 80s if not a Gold Award. It justs makes me wonder why they never mentioned the poor AI of the blob in any of the previews. :roll: But oh well.


    It's because usually stuff like AI is the last thing to be fixed before the game's ready. Since the AI's one of the most important aspects of a game it's constantly being tweaked right up until the last minute.

    It would have been unfair to criticise the AI in ABAHB at preview stage because there's a very good chance the annoyances would have been fixed before it got to review stage. Usually this is the case with 90% of games, but unfortunately in this case it wasn't.

    Oh OK, that's fair enough :wink: . I guess it's the same case with the combat in Spyborgs and the controls in Scribblenauts as well.

  7. nintendo_guy Tuesday 10th Nov 2009 at 17:18

    I wish I was a blob...

  8. DragonOnSteroids Friday 13th Nov 2009 at 12:43

    I wish I was a blob...

    What you didn't realize nintendo_guy is that you were a blob all along.

    *Cheesy happy ending music plays*

    Anyway, I have to admit, this game looks pretty, but unfortunately, bad AI is the only thing that annoys me about games.

  9. tibo Tuesday 17th Nov 2009 at 11:52

    It gets even more frustrating if, after jumping to the high platform, you walk on further and then realise you've forgotten to bring blob with you. Now you're too far ahead to turn back and throw the balloon bean, leaving you with no option but to kill your poor blobless lad and restart the level. Grrrr.

    This remark is incorrect and the game should be defended here. The control hints in the documentation that comes with the game clearly state "If the blob isn't coming back to you, just call him three times."

    You don't need to be able to get a balloon jelly bean to the blob in order to retrieve him in the situation described in the review. If you call him three times he will automatically transform into the balloon and return to your side.

  10. Andy88 Friday 8th Jan 2010 at 15:53

    It gets even more frustrating if, after jumping to the high platform, you walk on further and then realise you've forgotten to bring blob with you. Now you're too far ahead to turn back and throw the balloon bean, leaving you with no option but to kill your poor blobless lad and restart the level. Grrrr.

    This remark is incorrect and the game should be defended here. The control hints in the documentation that comes with the game clearly state "If the blob isn't coming back to you, just call him three times."

    You don't need to be able to get a balloon jelly bean to the blob in order to retrieve him in the situation described in the review. If you call him three times he will automatically transform into the balloon and return to your side.

    This is 100% true. Makes me wonder if ONM reviewed an incomplete version of the game? (Not criticising, just wondering)

Register or log in to commment
Add a comment
Nintendo Co., Ltd. is the owner of certain copyright which subsists and trade marks and other intellectual property rights in certain content, characters, artwork, logos, scripts and representations used in this publication. All rights are expressly recognised and they are used by Future Publishing Limited under licence © 2006 Nintendo Co., Ltd. All rights reserved. "Nintendo", "International Nintendo Licensed Product" "Nintendo DS", "Nintendo DS Lite", "Nintendo DSi", "Nintendo 3DS", "Nintendo DSi XL", "Nintendo 3DS XL", "Wii" and "Wii U" and the associated logos are the trademarks of Nintendo Co. Ltd. All rights reserved.