Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack preview

The PlayStation Vita's North American launch is right around the corner, and one of the titles set to hit alongside the new handheld device is Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack by DrinkBox Studios. I stopped by to check out a few levels of the new platformer that combines some traditional elements of the genre with some new gameplay concepts, and was pleasantly surprised by its interesting level design and cheerful presentation.

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Mutant Blobs Attack is a sort of spiritual successor to DrinkBox's Tales from Space: About a Blob for the PlayStation 3. As in the previous outing, players take control of a gelatinous blob that must consume food and grow in size, and wreak havoc in traditional monster movie fashion. This time, however, the squishy hero is a genetically engineered creation with some extra abilities, rather than straight from space like About a Blob's protagonist.

Being a different sort of blob grants the players some new powers. Players can still jump and slam with reckless abandon, but the addition of new abilities--like being able to attract and repel one's self from magnetic surfaces, or rocket around in zero-g using jet propulsion--add even more variety to the types of puzzles and obstacles to surmount.

The Vita's front and rear touchscreens are also utilized, albeit with varying degrees of success. The front touchscreen allows players to interact with various puzzles, such as in one level about a third of the way through the game where I had to swipe a series of gates to deliver the precious food that would allow my blob to grow big enough to consume the plug blocking the exit. The rear touchscreen was a bit less useful. Relegated as an alternate way to activate my booster while in zero-gravity, I found myself pressing it inadvertently unless I was extra conscious of how I gripped the device. Gameplay-wise, the alternate control scheme for this ability wasn't a problem, but it really didn't seem to benefit from rear-touch functionality.

The game's art-style is fantastically cartoonish, and levels are often punctuated by humorous cut-scenes. It's clear that the Toronto-based developer is in good with its fellow indies, as represented by some humorous billboards I saw in the background which made humorous references to other local developers like Superbrothers and Capybara. A handful of bonus levels also permeate the experience, complete with some alternative gameplay and graphical styling.

Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack is a mechanically-solid and entertaining platformer made even more attractive by its $7.99 price-point. Mutant Blobs Attack hits the North American PlayStation Store on February 21, 2012.

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