There is a large amount of joy that can be garnered from playing a game that you thought wasn’t going to be that great, but finding out that it is actually kind of amazing. That was exactly the case with Tales from Space: Mutant Blob Attacks—mainly that it simply showed up for review; also the odd title didn’t really help promote confidence in the unknown. The game ended up being some kind of odd mix between a puzzle game, Katamari Damacy, and a platformer—a combination that comes together way better in practice than it ever could on paper.
The game stars some kind of amorphous blob that grows simply through the act of absorbing things that it comes into contact with, a la Katamari. Scattered throughout the levels are random hazards, normally in the way of either spikes or lasers that need to be avoided as to not take damage and be forced to replay that section of the level. Most of the avoidance takes place in the form of some light puzzle solving, moving platforms into place or miscellaneous objects to make jumps possible. Keep in mind that all of this is happening on a 2D plane.
The most interesting aspect of the puzzle solving revolves around the frequent use of the mouse to move objects around in the environment, most interestingly to turn the blob into a projectile that flies across giant gaps. The downside to this interesting interaction is that it makes the game go from something that can be played with a controller to something that involves sitting up and playing around with a mouse every couple of minutes or so.
What really drives this game from something that would be a quick, enjoyable, and probably forgettable gameplay session is the games art style and amazing sense of humor. Pretty much everything from the original Gameboy, with a more classic 16-bit look on the throwback levels, to Portal and more recent games get nods throughout the game—mostly in the form of billboards on the background of the town that the blob is destroying. Probably one of my personal favorite things about the game is that there are no qualms about the fact that every human the blob comes into contact with is eaten and made part of the continuing death machine—something that I always kind of felt was skimmed over with Katamari.
The game sells on Steam for 8 dollars, which is only an issue because it seems like an odd price to ask for something. While the experience might be short there are certain moments in the game, from the news reports of impending doom to the nods at gaming in general, which simply make it enjoyable from start to finish. The game itself is very easy to recommend to anyone who is interested on gaming on a PC. Honestly this game has made it painfully clear that DrinkBox Studios might be a company that can output some rather interesting games in the future, as well as the one that is out right now.