Review – A Boy and His Blob (Switch)
Even though I had a NES growing up and had heard of A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia when it first released in 1989, it was one game that I never got around to playing. Then in 2009, it got a full reimagining from developer WayForward, but I still didn’t get around to it. Well now it’s finally become available on the Nintendo Switch, so I couldn’t put it off any longer. Time to play A Boy and His Blob and see what all the fuss was about.
There’s not too deep of a story in A Boy and His Blob. Facing trouble on his home world of Blobolonia, the titular blob travels to Earth and encounters a young boy. The boy and his blob then team up to stop the evil emperor of Blobolonia. They pass certain challenges here on Earth first before eventually heading to Blobolonia to defeat the emperor. Like I said, it’s a very basic plot, but it’s enough to give your actions a sense of reason.
As far as the gameplay, A Boy and His Blob is a classic 2D platformer. However, it does have its own unique gimmick that sets it apart from many others. The boy will be able to feed his blob a variety of jellybeans, with each transforming the blob into some sort of new form. These range from a trampoline, a hole in the ground, a parachute, a ladder, and so on. The boy will need to figure out which form the blob needs to take in order to get past various obstacles.
Each jellybean is color coded for a specific form, so there’s no need to worry about guessing what you’re throwing out of the pouch. As if that didn’t make things clear enough, each obstacle or enemy you need to get past will have a giant wooden sign near it with a picture of the correct form the blob will need to take in order to progress. At first I thought this was just in the first level as tutorial area or something, but strangely, they a part of the whole game. I understand this is a family-friendly game and it needs to appeals to all audiences, but that really takes the challenge out of it. Not that there was much to begin with.
The same can be said for the boss battles. A Boy and His Blob is separated in to four worlds, with each world having ten levels and a boss. While I really enjoyed the boss battles, I didn’t feel like there were enough of them. They were a great way to change up the regular platforming routine, but there are just hardly any. You’re also tipped off as to which jellybean to use so the blob can defeat them easier. Like I said, not much of a challenge is present here.
For the most part though, the game controls well and it’s easy to get through fairly quickly. I was pleasantly surprised by how responsive the controls were, which is always key in any platformer. Any deaths I accumulated were because of my own misses and not because of poor controls. The boy has no health bar and will instantly die if he touches an enemy, a hazardous object, or falls from a great height. Thankfully, he’ll respawn right at the last area he perished, so there’s almost never any backtracking. There’s virtually no loading times in between deaths either, so it’s not terribly frustrating when you do die.
The only annoyance I had with A Boy and His Blob is the fact that the blob will stay stationary in his assigned form until you call him to you. This might not sound too bad, but it more often than not takes several calls to the blob before it registers and it finds its way to you. This greatly kills the flow of an otherwise smooth and fast-paced game.
However, that’s really the only major issue I had with A Boy and His Blob. It’s a beautiful game with a gorgeous hand-drawn art style. The character animations are very smooth as well. I will say that some of the backgrounds and the soundtracks can get a bit repetitive after a while, but that’s a small nitpick. It really is a lovely game. I also loved some of the lighting effects, especially with the fireflies and city lights. The dramatic lighting helped to enhance some already wonderful artwork.
Speaking of artwork, in each level there are three optional chests that you can find. If you find them all, you’ll unlock special challenges. Completing these challenges will reward you with concept art for A Boy and His Blob. Well, that and the pride of completing more challenges of course. I found myself actually rather enjoying the extra glimpse into the designs that shaped A Boy and His Blob. It’s a small reward, but it adds a new layer of fun to the game.
I really enjoyed my time with A Boy and His Blob. I definitely understand now why this adorable little game won the hearts of so many. It might not being the most challenging game on the market, but it’s still a lot of fun. The levels are all very brief, which makes it an ideal game for the Switch. It’s the perfect game to pick up and play on-the-go.
The hand-drawn visuals are beautiful, especially with the lighting effects for some of the various wildlife, such as the fireflies. The backgrounds for each area can look too similar after a while though.
A 2D platformer in which you feed your blob a variety of jellybeans in order to change his form to get past obstacles.
The sound is design is pretty decent. The minimal sound effects are serviceable, as is the only dialogue given by the boy calling his blob. The soundtrack is good, but very repetitive.
Fun Factor: 7.0
A simple game that’s incredibly charming. It’s clear to see why it became so popular over the years. This port offers nothing new to those who have played it before on the Wii, but it’s a great time for newcomers.
Final Verdict: 7.5
A Boy and His Blob is available now on Android, iOS, Linux, OS X, PC, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Switch, Wii, and Xbox One.
Reviewed on Switch.
A copy of A Boy and His Blob was provided by the publisher.