An old classic gets an eye-opening makeover
Wow. That was the first thing we said when we saw A Boy And His Blob, the newly-announced Wii puzzle platformer. We're sure you'll say the same too - just look at it, after all. That's not concept art you see on these pages, those are actual in-game screenshots. We're sure you'll agree it looks sensational.
If the name's familiar to you, that's because A Boy And His Blob is based on the NES game of the same name that was released back in 1989. This isn't a remake though. It's a completely original 're-imagining' of the original game.
It has the same basic concept but features completely new levels instead of just being the same game with a new lick of paint. But what a lick of paint it is. A Boy And His Blob uses a groundbreaking hand-drawn animation style which makes it not just one of the best-looking Wii games out there, but one of the most gorgeous games we've seen on any console.
The game's developer WayForward has a long history with 2D games, having been responsible for the fantastic Contra 4 on the DS (which is still, frustratingly, awaiting a UK release). Individual members of the team also have a long history with 2D games which goes back to the days of the SNES and Mega Drive.
The game's producer Robb Alvey also worked on superb, beautifully animated Mega Drive platformers like Aladdin and The Lion King. In short, this lot know their 2D and there's clearly a lot of talent behind the scenes.Bean There, Done That
The story of A Boy And His Blob is pretty heartwarming stuff. An evil emperor has seized the land of Blobonia so one of the small white blobs that lives there flees the planet to try and find someone who can help. Losing control, the blob crash-lands on Earth and encounters a young boy. They quickly become friends and the boy agrees to help the blob find his way home and help him put an end to the evil emperor.
In case you're not too clued up with how the original game worked, A Boy And His Blob is a platform game with puzzle elements. Throughout each level you'll come across various obstacles that the boy won't be able to get past.
Thankfully, the blob has a unique ability: if you feed it jellybeans it'll morph into various different objects depending on the jellybean's flavour. Many of the original game's jellybeans will return, so feeding the blob a liquorice bean will make it turn into a ladder, a tangerine one will transform it into a trampoline and an apple one will morph it into a jack, which lets the boy move objects above him (such as lifting manhole covers from below). There are also new jellybeans like the Caramel Cannon, which obviously fires the boy long distances, and the Bubble Gum Bubble which turns the blob into a huge bubble that the boy can sit inside.
In order to make the game truly effective, the developers are doing everything in their power to make A Boy And His Blob as emotionally moving as possible. Both characters are adorable, the music is the sort of beautiful yet epic stuff you hear in classic children's films like The Land Before Time and the relationship between the boy and his new best friend is so touching that it'd bring a tear to the eye of even the most hardened serial killer. There's even a hug button, in case anyone feels the need to push it over the limits of "awwww" and into the realm of "I want to drop to my knees and weep openly at how heartbreakingly adorable this game world is."
It should be clear from the screens that A Boy And His Blob is going to be something pretty special. Why can't all games look like this?