Copyright Adam Schlosser
Contact:
aschloss@gmail.com


Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser


Posted by Pip

MT2- It Was Made For the Charleston

Nobody ever has anything cool in their pockets these days. He could at least had some explosives, ancient yet oddly advanced pocket-sized machinery, or some toffee. Is that really so much to ask for?
That answers one question so far. At least one of those ne'er-do-wells is possessed. And is that dude a grown up gauntlet holder? Past experience has shown those always work out well.
Yes, that was the lamest dance name I could think of that didn't sound dirty in some way by itself.


Long, I am a cold, heartless monster Review: A Boy and His Blob (Wii)- There's no denying that this game at least LOOKS good. How it plays... The art is bright and colorful and the animation is smooth and cartoony. Despite how terrible the game actually was, I always liked the concept of the original aBaHB and it carries through and is improved upon in this version. Unfortunately, outside of the concept and fantastic art, the game feels half finished and is loaded with problems. As nice as they are, the animations drag on. Every time you want to use the parachute you have to throw the jelly bean, watch the blob eat it, watch the blob transform, walk over, and watch the boy fold up the parachute. It's cute the first few times but after seeing it a dozen or so times, you have a real "get on with it!" vibe. The blob keeps getting lost or stuck behind obstacles. You always have the option to call him to you, but to do so you have to call out three or four times. Much like the repeated animations, having to watch/listen to the Boy call out for the Blob then wait for the Blob to float over then calling to the Blob again to get him to change back gets tedious. If they had simply made it that you have to hold the button down for three seconds to get him to float back to you, it would have made the game infinitely more tolerable. The best way to describe the Blob is to have you picture the computer controlled Tails from Sonic 2. Remember what a blithering moron he was? He'd jump off cliffs, run into enemies, throw himself onto spikes, wander off and then randomly reappear later on, and get caught on simple objects he could have easily jumped over or just walked around. Now, instead of just being able to laugh at how stupid he is and keep on playing, imagine a game that relied on you to use Tails to complete every puzzle and every ten seconds you had to call out to him three times to get him to return to you. That's this game. You always need the Blob to do something but he's never with you and he won't listen. You'll frequently die not due to your own actions, but because the Blob wouldn't come over and transform in time or he transformed in the wrong spot. If the Blob is jumping when he eats the jelly bean, he'll transform at the end of his jump instead of where you told him to and he frequently falls down platforms or takes so long that an enemy shows up. If he was a human being, he'd be flopping around on the floor suffocating on his own drool. One of the few things the original aBaHB game got right, outside of the basic concept, was the distinction between the Boy's world and the Blob's world. The Boy lived in a dingy city while the Blob came from a bright candy-filled world. In the new version, you move from a beautiful world to ... another beautiful world. There's nothing to distinguish the Blob's home from Earth except for the different backgrounds and reskinned objects. And one of the other things the original did right was the music, which gets a rather nice remix here. Every boss battle in the game is terrible. EVERY one of them. Again, you're completely reliant on how the Blob acts and if the Boy gets touched once, he dies and you have to start the battle all over again. No check points at all. Some aspects of battles just seem random and if it goes one way, you die without question, but if it goes the other way, you're in the clear. In one battle, the boss starts the fight by either howling or attacking. If it howls, you have enough time to transform and you're fine. If it attacks, you're probably going to die. You have to get just far enough away from the boss that its swipe won't hit you but not so far away that the Blob wanders away or lags behind, making him take too long to transform and allowing the boss to kill you. If the boss takes a step forward and then attacks, you're dead no matter how close the Blob is. That's not fun. The boss battles and some levels rely heavily on the vehicle forms the Blob has and they control horribly. Any time you so much as touch a wall while in one, even while moving at almost no speed, you go flying away, so it's incredibly hard to control at times. Levels change between well designed and having clever puzzles to navigating through precise minefields and sometimes the objective is random and you just find it out by dying a dozen times. For instance, to damage the first boss, you have to turn the Blob into an anvil and then the boss will bash its head against the Blob. Why? I could understand having to trick the boss into bashing something (which you do have to do later during the battle) but why does the boss feel the need to bash its skull against an anvil for no reason whatsoever and how would you know to do that without trial and error? Then later in the battle when the boss is bashing up and down, if you trick into landing on an anvil, nothing happens. There's no real thought involved, you just do a bunch of random stuff and eventually something works. The game is also very buggy. There are many instances where you can get stuck or the game acts in a manner that causes you to restart a level all the way from the beginning, lose your progress, and lose all the treasures you collected in that stage. For instance, to get on the rocket the Boy takes a few steps and then climbs on, but if there's a block or object next to the rocket, the Boy will get stuck in a walking or pushing animation and never get on the rocket. You can't cancel out of the rocket form because you haven't gotten on it yet so all you can do is hope that an enemy shows up and kills you but in all likelihood, you're going to have to reset. NEVER have your Blob in his balloon form or have him far off screen when you complete a stage. When he floats over to you to complete the stage finishing animation, he'll get stuck in the balloon form and endlessly circle around you. You can't finish the level because the Blob won't form the door and you can't call him out of his balloon form because the Boy is in his "level over" animation and you can't control him. The game also doesn't react well when objects are close to each other. Enemies are normally stopped by a rock or your anvil, but in some cases the game will freak out and the enemy will be forced through the rock and typically into you. When exiting transformations, the same thing can happen to you. I must have been too close to the ceiling when I reverted back because the Boy was forced up into the ceiling, jerked to the side of the stage, and then just kept falling. Since it wasn't an official pit and there was nothing to kill him, there was nothing I could do except reset. The later stages aren't short either. Having to get back to where you were and recollect the treasures can really pile on the time after you've had to repeat the same stage two or three times. The game seems to have a problem in finding who its audience is. The controls, minefields, vehicles, and boss battles are a sea of frustration and anger but the levels are typically a piece of cake when they don't involve the really annoying bits. The game goes so far as to post billboards around stages telling you what you need to use to solve a puzzle. Given how frustrating it is, I imagine I'm in the age group it's shooting for, but about 3/4 of the stages offer no challenge outside of the problems in the engine. You're simply going through the motions and repeating the same puzzle solutions or doing some minor platforming, so it feels like it's a game designed for little kids. The only thing that makes the unlockable levels difficult is that there aren't any checkpoints, so when the Blob screws you over, the controls get messy, you made a leap of faith incorrectly, or you get killed by an enemy that you couldn't see, you have to do the entire stage all over again, making it more of a fight between wanting to see what that stage unlocks versus how much frustration you can take before you decide that a low resolution piece of concept art just isn't worth the stress you're putting yourself through. Then you have the incredibly difficult and annoying boss fights and times when it will spring something illogical on you that a little kid wouldn't get. I went through the entire game up until the last level just using the ladder to climb things and not being able to start climbing from a running jump, then on the last level, I was stuck. After checking online, it turns out that if you jump onto a ladder from above it, you CAN climb it from a running jump and use it as a platform. The Boy goes from having no agility, being slow, can't duck, and can't jump more than two inches off the ground to being able to make a running climb, swing, and a leap with no notice whatsoever. The Blob never learns or grows as the game continues. It would have been nice for the Blob to have learned to change on its own after you encounter the same obstacle a dozen times. Every time you see a manhole, you have to use the jack to move it. Surely even a creature that simple can eventually make the connection between the two and act on its own after you've shown it what to do over and over. Perhaps it's the lack of a real story or maybe it's just my cold, black heart, but I never found myself forming a relationship with the Blob. Any creature THAT brainless isn't something I'd want to love, it's just a tool. A Boy and His Blob is beautifully drawn and great to look at, but is so frustrating and poorly made, that it's not worth a buy. Way Forward is a good company and I'd expect better from them.
Sins Committed: Bad controls, Bad camera, Buggy, Bad AI
Virtues Acted: Good art, Good animation, Good music, Good concept, Shantae makes a minor cameo