Been a while since I've talked about a video game on this here blog. This is partly due to my relatively infrequent gaming (which means I wouldn't be discussing new games) and partly due to the fact that I have many friends in the video gaming industry and thus feel hopelessly unqualified to offer my own pedestrian opinions. But I finished A Boy And His Blob on the Wii last week, so what the hell.
In this game, you're, well, a boy. You navigate four worlds, trying to rid them of a dark force. Joining you is, er, a blob, which can eat a variety of beans you offer it. Each type of bean transforms the blob into a different useful item, such as a trampoline, an anvil, a parachute, and lots more. Your goal is simply to navigate each level, making your way past obstacles and enemies through creative use of whatever capabilities you have at your disposal for that level. (It's never explained how exactly you've been deprived of most of the beans for each level, nor how you're always so fortunate to have the subset you need to clear the level, but I'm overthinking things here.) The optional replay-value feature is each level's three hidden treasure chests, which your blob can swallow if you get it close enough. Collecting all three chests opens up a bonus level; clearing that lets you see art drafts and other behind-the-scenes stuff.
So yes, it's a puzzle game. There are many things that can kill you if you touch them, but, aside from each world's boss, most of the enemies just hang out and do very little that could be construed as an active attack. Plus, death on a regular level will deposit you right back at the start of that puzzle. (Bonus levels require a successful run from beginning to end, but are shorter.) Thus, you can usually try your ideas with relative impunity.
For the most part, I found the puzzles pretty easy. There were too many with signs depicting the ability needed for that puzzle. I could understand one such sign for every new ability as a sort of tutorial, but they appeared more often than that. That said, progressing was still satisfying, and I could at least appreciate the cleverness behind the problem. Plus, the boss fights were very engaging, requiring wits as well as a big additional dose of skill. Strangely, I found the second world's boss the hardest; I felt I got a little lucky when I finally defeated it.
Without question, the most annoying part of A Boy And His Blob is when the boy has to wait for the blob. After using the blob to move on, you'll need to call it back to your side for the next puzzle. Sometimes, calling for it once is sufficient, but very often, you'll need to beckon it three times in succession to make it transform into a landscape-ignoring balloon so it can float back to you... slowly. (For some reason, the balloon bean is always in your inventory, even though there's only one occasion when you actually have to throw it.) The wait is maddening when you have to do it so often. Also, there are some places where you'll throw a bean somewhere you can't reach, but your blob can due to its superior jumping ability. It isn't always so simple, though. Sometimes your blob will stubbornly attempt to reach the bean in the same way, from the same position, and it's quite fiddly to get it to start from the right spot. (I gave up on the last bonus level I unlocked for this very reason; it was no fun to mess with that, die on the next part, and have to do it all over again.) My last nit concerns the post-demise restarting points for the last two bosses. One requires you to run down a long hallway every time you attempt the battle, and the other has a short scene that always plays out before you regain control of your character. Since these baddies will likely best you at least a few times before you figure it all out, this is frustrating.
Overall, though, I'd recommend A Boy And His Blob. It may disappoint you if you're looking for a real brain-breaker, but I thought it was good fun all the same. Pleasing art complements the gameplay nicely as well. So, if you're still interested in games from a few years ago, check it out!