A Boy and His Blob (Wii)
Virtual Console | Majesco Entertainment / WayForward | 1 Player | Out Now
21st October 2010; By KnucklesSonic8
Every time you boot up the game and start your save file, the main character will strap on his backpack as if he were getting ready to walk to the nearby schoolyard. No, he'll be ready to start a new day and go on an adventure with Blob, his energetic, shape-shifting friend. Not more than an hour's play and the gameplay will reel you in, pushing you to press forward to see what happens next.
You control a cute little brown-haired boy by using either the Wii Remote and Nunchuk combo, or the Classic Controller. Under the default control scheme, you use the Nunchuk's analog stick to get him walking about, and pressing the A Button to get him to jump. Moving the Control Stick upwards will allow you to enter doors and glittery passages. The D-Pad is used for simple functions such as re-centering and advancing the camera, or interacting with your alien friend. Hearing the little boy yell "Calm down!" or "Quit it!" helps solidify the relationship the two have, and it's something you can well relate to even in real life with a beloved pet. While not adopting an NES-style system of play, the game still carries a pick-up-and-play feel that should be rather appealing to many.
The jellybeans each correspond to a different transformation that Blob will undergo once they've been consumed. Your shape-shifting pal can double as a parachute, a jack, or even a bouncy ball - whatever you need to get past a certain point. Part of the game involves experimenting with different combinations to arrive at a solution that will get you from Point A to Point B. And thankfully, it's very clear-cut as to what each of the jellybeans do. When you hold down the C Button, a menu will pop up that will show you what effect will transpire as its highlighted with the Nunchuk.
Interestingly enough, you don't need to go out and search for these magical beans, as they're all at your disposal. Which ones you're given depends on the stage you select. Once you've selected an active jellybean, you can hold the B Button to initiate a sequence that will show your character ready to throw the jellybean to the spot shown on-screen. You can adjust the angle of trajectory by moving the Nunchuk, but once you've finalized on how far to throw it, let go and watch as Blob chases after it. Nothing is set in stone, however: you can press the Z Button to cancel the transformation, forcing him to return to normal.
The platforming aspect of the game is actually very linear, with little room for experimentation or creativity. There's a good chunk of levels that have some areas that will require a degree of exploration on the part of the player, and to encourage this, there are hidden passageways to discover and secret treasure chests collect. But overall, this isn't the type of game that innovates with highly-impressive platforming elements or clever puzzles. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, though. The original NES title was extremely rooted in the principle of trial and error, but here, there are clear indications on what you need to do and where you need to go. Sure it brings down the amount of brain power you're putting forth to get through the game, but it also takes away from the incredible frustrating aspects of the original. And that is definitely worth writing home about.
Going through the motions of clearing levels does not feel monotonous at all. In fact, on many occasions, you'll actually feel very compelled to keep playing. As the pair gallivants to dark caverns, grassy lands, and other well-decorated fantasy worlds, you'll encounter enemies in addition to the normal platforming elements. Most of these resemble animals, such as frogs, or bulls, but there are some deformed creatures and burly beasts that will make you want to run crying to your mommy. At the end of each world you'll also come face-to-face with more ferocious enemies in the form of boss fights. They're pretty straight-forward, and with the exception of the last few fights, they're not exactly memorable.
Further on the matter of presentation, you'll encounter a variety of different settings with each area you visit. From wind, to rain, to sunny skies, each time I observed a new weather pattern, I felt as though another day had passed in their journey. I especially enjoyed the latter-half of the game where I found myself more drawn to what was presented in the various stages I encountered (especially when I spotted the planet Earth up in the night sky). There were times when the execution was a little glitchy, but for the most part, the game is nice to look at.
21/30 - Good
Gameplay 7/10 - Nice puzzle-platforming elements, linear level design, jellybean concept is creative and well fleshed out, less about trial and error
Presentation 8/10 - Nicely-decorated visuals and environments with some variety, contains mostly soft, engaging music, glitchy in a small number of areas
Enjoyment 3/5 - Somewhat challenging in some areas, contains some truly heart-warming moments, charm helps tie everything together
Extra Content 3/5 - A good number of levels to complete, can look for secret jellybeans in all levels, additional bonuses to unlock and places to explore
Equivalent to a score of 70% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)