A fun lovely beautiful game that offers different levels of challenge

User Rating: 7.5 | A Boy and His Blob WII
As a natural part of the sudden 2-D Renaissance that has been occurring as of late it is expected that a few hidden gems of the past, that perhaps weren't even very polished, would gain another chance in the current generation market. A Boy and His Blob is one of those titles, its first version was a rough around the edges game on the Nintendo Entertainment System that suffered from being too difficult for its own good. The brand new Wii game borrows the original's core mechanic and expands upon it creating a lovely tale that while much more highly produced still features a few hard to ignore flaws.

Reaming loyal to its old-school roots the game features a very simplistic story presentation that is barely noticeable while playing the game, chances are a few extremely reckless gamers will even go through the entire title without accurately grasping what in the world is taking place in the game's universe due to the subtle nature of the story's presentation. The strange colorful planet of Blobolonia has been taken over by an evil emperor and a Blob decides to fly all the way to earth in order to look for a hero that could come to the aid of his wrecked home planet, and so the heart-warming friendship tale between a young boy and a cute blob starts to unravel.

While paired up the boy and his new friend will explore four different dangerous worlds, starting on an earthly forest and wrapping it all up inside the emperor's dark mechanical castle located on Blobolonia. In total there are forty regular stages to go through in order to finish the game and five cleverly designed boss battles. It is important to note that even though the game only features four worlds both the stages and boss battles occur on a wide range of different scenarios since the locations to be explored suffer slight changes as the explorations of the duo advance further into each one of the worlds.

The game controls like every side-scroller out there with the Control Stick being used to move the boy around and the button A for jumping. However, if the game was a solo adventure the quest wouldn't have much of a chance of seeing success since the Boy has a rather limited number of abilities, and even his jumping can't get him far into any of the stages and that is where the Blob comes in. The uniqueness of A Boy and His Blob directly derives from its inventive core gameplay which is the many transformations the Blob presents.

When pressing the Z button players be faced with a variety of differently colored jelly beans, each one of those sweet treats will give the Blob a very helpful power and by holding the B button to aim and throw the beans players will be able to take advantage of the many skills hidden in that white cuddly being. The Blob has fifteen distinct abilities, however not all of them are available on each stage as the choices are usually limited to about eight, a clever decision by developers to make the level design process easier and to fully stop players from taking advantage of a specific transformation to make a section of the level easier than it was supposed to be.

The transformations include: a parachute, an anvil, a hole, a set of stairs, a trampoline, a rocket, a canon and many others. Overall the game's pace is extremely slow because instead of being focused on enemy stomping and jumping from platform to platform, A Boy and His Blob is usually a puzzle solving title disguised as a beautiful platformer. By using a combination of all the transformations available players will solve puzzle after puzzle until making it to the end of the stage. Due to the variety of the Blob's many skills it is only natural that the puzzles remain quite fresh throughout the adventure even if most of them are way too easy to figure out.

Despite its overall lack of challenge A Boy and His Blob offers quite a few rather frustrating situations to players that are a consequence of the one-hit-kill quality of pretty much everything surrounding the characters. Spikes, enemies and all kinds of traps have the annoying ability to kill the Boy in one hit when touched. While this clearly punishes gamers for any tiny mistakes that are made, the developers were able to give more balance to the game by cleverly spreading a nice number of checkpoints throughout the stages, which means that if players make any mistakes they won't lose much of their progress. Still, giving the Boy a little more health would have helped diminish the restart and redo patterns that take over in some areas.

Going through all of the game's stages is quite easy when following the regular flow of the game, but each level features three hidden chests waiting to be found. When going after all the chests not only will players be rewarded with very nice extras, but they will also watch the game reveal some of its greatest and most challenging riddles that are delightful to solve because of their brilliant design and appropriate level of difficulty. After finding all three chests in a stage a brand new level will be unlocked, which in the end will give completionists a whopping total of 80 stages.

In spite of being a very welcome extra the forty extra stages are very short and usually focus exclusively on the mastering of one or two transformations which in the end makes them feel and play like challenges instead of full-fledged stages. Either way it is hard to complain about a game that offers such a huge number of fun levels to go through especially when those levels – when completed – unlock amazing extras such as early concept art, production videos and other nice morsels.

Technically speaking A Boy and His Blob is a major sight to behold. The game is beautifully animated and offers some of the best 2-D visuals to be achieved on the system both artistically and technically. The game looks like a wonderful immersive moving cartoon and characters and scenario fall into place together creating a deep enthralling visual experience. When pieced together with the wonderful tunes composed to the game things just get better and better.

A few flaws make some bad damage to the game though. Some transformations don't control very naturally and take a while to get used to and the jumping mechanic seems to be a little bit off as it is more common than rare to press the A button just to watch the Boy fall into a pit of oblivion. Another rather frustrating issue is that the Blob's AI works poorly at times as it takes the character too much time to reach a certain position as players will end up pressing the C-button many times and see the Boy shout "Blob", "Come Here" without any quick results.

Regardless of its flaws A Boy and His Blob is easy to recommend to Wii owners out there. It is a fun lovely beautiful game that offers different levels of challenge, those who are less experienced will be able to enjoy the ride and experienced gamers will blast through the regular stages, but will find a lot of fun when looking for all the extras the game offers and trust me when I say they are worth it. The whole package adds up to a total of 20 hours of gameplay that is told through beautiful animations and interesting puzzles.

Actual Score: 7.3