Last year DrinkBox Studios released a game on the PlayStation Network called Tales From Space: About a Blob. The game was received with above average review scores, and as a result, they have decided to release a new installment on the PS Vita. Unlike their first attempt, this Tales from Space game attempts to fully utilise the Vita's touch controls, and on the whole, it succeeds.
The story in Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack follows a single blob (which looks like the same blob from the first game). Blob and his blob friends have been captured and are being held in a college research lab. After many horrendous experiments are done on them, the blobs decide to revolt and escape. Your blob is loose and looking for sweet revenge, and it's your job to help him realise it. It's worth noting the humor in the game can be pretty funny with it taking shots at oil companies, Facebook, Angry Birds, and more.
The gameplay in TFS:MBA is the same as its predecessor. It's a 2D platformer that begins very simply with moving left/right, jumping, and absorbing certain objects to make yourself bigger. Like the original game, there is a mechanic where the blob can either attract or repel itself from magnetic surfaces which plays a big role in the puzzle solving. However, the big addition this time around comes with the touchscreen on the Vita. There are certain platforms, mazes, and blocks that can be controlled by the touch screen. The commands can range from moving platforms around to helping you traverse a section, blocking lasers, or changing the direction a platform moves. The controls actually worked well and help to add a layer of complexity to the puzzles. None of said puzzles were impossible to get through, but every once in a while puzzle might leave you scratching your head for a second or two.
In addition, TFS:MBA added in little side stages that made use of the tilt controls on the Vita. There were two different kinds of stages. The first deals with a maze to navigate without falling into the holes. The other involved floating around absorbing materials to grow bigger in order to absorb bigger items, rinse and repeat, until you're big enough to absorb the final item blocking the exit. Strictly speaking, the levels weren't necessary to the story, but neither did they feel forced or contrived. If you don't want to play them, you canskip them entirely.
Like its bigger brother, TFS:MBA has 2 collectibles to find in each level: two different blob buddies (a reduction from three blobs in the original game) and glowing blue orbs that effect the score you receive at the end of the level. Neither are necessary to finishing the game, but if you're going for 100% completion, you can bet your sweet blob buns that you're gonna have to collect them all.
The original game offered a local co-op mode which this installment does not have. While that may seem like a negative, the co-op mode was rather poor, but they could have tried to improve it this time around. Having said that, you can post your level scores onto a leaderboard and compare where you stand with other players.
The presentation of the game is pretty much the same as it was for the original which isn't necessarily a bad thing; it just lacks some originality. The art style is cute and the music is fun/catchy. However, if you've played the original, don't expect much in the way of new music; almost everything is the same. It does have a goofy song in the credits that's reminiscent of some of the music from Comic Jumper. One issue I had is that after playing for a while, the audio would glitch out completely. It's possible to quickly fix it by pressing the PS button on the Vita and then go right back into the game, but it was only a temporary fix and the glitch would happen again a few seconds later. Only quitting the game and restarting would fix it. Be aware.
Where the original game fell short was replay value as it's initial play-through only took about 2-3 hours and maxing out collectables would take about 5-6 additional hours. TFS:MBA falls in the same range. However, a huge plus is the price this time around. TFS:MBA is about a half the price the original was. It's a shame there is no way to rent PSN games, but the lower price definitely helps.
Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack is very similar to the original, but has some fun additions to the gameplay by way of the motion/tilt controls and touch screen on the Vita. It's a fun puzzle game even though it's relatively short. Even though it's similar to the original, the lower price makes this a better bang for your buck. The price is what held the original back in the end. That being the case, if you've got a little extra money lying around, definitely give this a shot; this is a great example of how the Vita controls should work.
|» Good use of the PS Vita's controls.|
|» Quirky sense of humour.|
|» Much better value for money than the original.|
|» Much of the presentation is the same.|
|» The extra stages don't add a great deal.|
|» Co-op was removed completely, instead of being re-worked.|