Invasion of the Alien Blobs!
DSiWare | G-STYLE | 1 Player | Out Now (North America) | 200 Nintendo Points
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21st December 2012; By KnucklesSonic8
It's a story you've heard so many times, your eyes are bound to behave instinctively with an eye roll at the mere mention of anything similar: Invasion of the Alien Blobs is about, well, an invasion of alien blobs. Couldn't get any simpler if you tried. Elimination of these monsters is even simpler than the premise: just tap on them with your stylus. Right about now, all I can think about is a TV spot with a line that signifies the ease of a product, relating it to an elderly person's apparently limited capacity to grasp new concepts. "It's so easy..." Yeah, I'm sure you can finish the rest.
The game has you venturing to (well... it's more that you're pasted into) different, randomized locations around the world to rid environments of the despicable substance that's multiplied to become a sheer nuisance. The simply-drawn backgrounds show identifiable, international landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty and The Great Wall of China, but since there's a transparent screen covering them, it's not like you'll be literally picking and scraping these scummy entities off actual objects and structures. No, they are instead often arranged in clusters, with little, if any direction being applied to their positions and movements, ultimately relating little to the settings that serve as a backdrop for the experience. Truth be told, if they just had backgrounds with a solid colour, it would've done the game just as well.
Different enemy types are present besides the usual green folk, and these include viral blobs that spread seeds of reproduction once they explode, eater blobs that consume other allies to turn into one large force, and metal blobs that require more than one tap to burst open. Not having a strong form, these creatures can also be pushed around by a quick drag -- something that may result even when not intended, given the pace at which you'll likely be moving the stylus back and forth. Occasionally, you'll find one of two item pick-ups lying on the playing field, one of which creates a large, swirling pool of fire, while the other is a timed explosive. Yet in a highly disgraceful display, absolutely none of these elements do anything to apply anything residual or in the name of civility.
Let me be the first to disappoint your hopes in saying this is all there is. Well, that's not exactly accurate, since there is a bonus round that appears from time to time. But this is practically a misnomer, as it's not a diversion whatsoever and results in the same meaningless task of tapping blobs. There is a Time Attack mode present also, but the gameplay remains as stagnant as ever. No other measures are taken. No other layers are added to divert attention or amplify the simplicity into a less primitive space. And to put things into proper perspective, it's almost like someone coming into a trading card battle with only two, semi-mangled cards, against a full, pristine, well-kept deck on the opposing side. What could they possibly be thinking?
Being completely see-through might be a positive tick for the development team, as it seems it was their objective to design something anyone of any age could play and not have to get accustomed to at all. But in reality, the fact that it's so blatantly and laughably primitive to the point of causing misery is pretty far from a shining attribute. This is a perfect case of accessibility gone in the wrong direction, where not establishing anything secondary (or even primary, for that matter!) has essentially been a statement of pretending not to be aware of a sickly condition. It's both baffling and insulting, irreconcilably so.
Just to reference something easy to point to for going about things the right way: When Nnooo developed the first iteration of Pop, there was, in all the pure simplicity, a layer of relaxation that was rather mysterious in the way it managed to capture your interest for more than a few minutes at a time. While never being a deep exercise (relatively so, at least not until Pop Plus: Solo came around), it was very validating to see that that basic idea could have an endearing quality to it. In no way does Invasion of the Alien Blobs come even close to replicating the techniques used in this or any other game that is perhaps conceptually basic yet still good in quality. Subordination to a drastic extent is not a good look for the game at all, you can be sure of that.
I'd say the game was caught up in trying to prove a point or that it dug a hole for itself by trying to be clever in a scaled-back approach, but the evidence doesn't even line up to those suggestions. It is more that it wasn't capable of doing anything smart with what little it churned out and decided to forego even the most basic of principles.
If you need any support for an argument that game developers are running out of ideas or are blinded by their own devices to the needs of the very players they cater to, Invasion of the Alien Blobs could easily be used as an irrefutable example. There are ways to please the masses without coming off so moronic, and judging by how foreign the concepts of fun and good design are to Invasion of the Alien Blobs, it clearly has absolutely no clue as to how to go about doing that. Even if you were to stretch your outlook, this isn't designed but is rather a case of delusion, thinking there's some innate thrill that can function as its own best support mechanism, and that by throwing a single scrap of material in the air, it'll somehow, on its lonesome, transform into the shape of something worthwhile. It's a very bad, bad state of affairs and it's not something I intend to discuss any further.
07/30 - Simply Awful
Gameplay 2/10 - Extremely bare principles at work, elements do nothing to elevate, attempts for accessibility foiled by bad support of a poor idea
Presentation 4/10 - Backgrounds aren't too bad but other attributes such as the music, colour scheme, and font choice aren't pleasing
Enjoyment 0/5 - Absolutely nothing to be taken in by, insultingly primitive, not even the so-called "Bonus Round" offers variation from the pointless affair
Extra Content 1/5 - Time Attack mode present but the stagnation continues there as well, should be completely avoided and not paid for
Equivalent to a score of 23% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System