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Tales from Space: About a Blob review


As a game about absorbing small objects in ordinary surroundings to make your spheroid character bigger, Tales from Space: About a Blob ventures into dangerous territory. Any game with such a premise is inevitably, and unconsciously, drawn into comparison with Katamari Damacy, which is pretty much universally beloved. Having to be measured against something like that makes any game seem worse. And from that perspective, the not-bad About a Blob seems bland.

Gallery: Tales from Space: About a Blob | 9 Photos

In Tales from Space, you play the role of an adorable little orange blob who mysteriously lands on Earth and begins doing what blobs tend to do, namely devouring objects and growing ever larger. At first, your blob works its way out of the lab where it's being studied by oblivious scientists; eventually, as you wander around and blobs terrorize the world elsewhere (behind the scenes), the humans realize what a threat you are, and your environments become riddled with anti-blob missile launchers, lasers, and even blob warning signs in your surroundings. It's a pretty good justification for having tiny laser traps in a school.

At first, the goals are merely to (1) eat enough stuff to get large enough to eat the cork-type objects impeding your progress and (2) regurgitate objects as projectiles to hit switches and destroy enemies. Later, the game introduces electricity and magnetism powers, and almost immediately seems to lose interest in the eating/growth mechanic in favor of puzzles based on those abilities. In a few cases, you'll just happen onto piles of junk literally right in front of the exit, as if the game's just getting that part out of the way.

Those powers are interesting, to be sure -- particularly the magnetism, which allows you to stick to metal pipes and also repel yourself away from metal. But the overreliance on those abilities, and the puzzles that result, can be a bit tedious, and distract from the main event -- growing ever larger and devouring all manner of objects. Also distracting is the occasional bit of semi-challenging platforming, which would be welcome, except that the blob controls like you'd expect a blob to. The lack of precision in movement is especially annoying when you're facing a boss and risk being killed or severely weakened with a single hit.

At its best -- when you're exploring a new level, solving a few switch puzzles, and searching for more billiard balls, pencils, and jars of glue (not mayo, as the labels warn you!), About a Blob is pretty enjoyable. That's thanks in part to a cutesy sense of humor (which finally won me over with a billboard for "Two Grills, One Cop") and a vibrant 2D art style reminiscent of '50s/'60s animation.

At its worst, you're dying twenty times in a row because you can't switch back from magnetism to electricity quickly enough, or forget which of the shoulder buttons attracts or repels. Sadly, those annoying bits absorb much of the impact of the good parts.

Do you see what I did there?

This review is based on the PSN version of Tales from Space: About a Blob provided by Drinkbox Studios.

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