Tales from Space: About a Blob Review
If you let game titles do your thinking for you, Tales from Space: About a Blob tells you pretty much everything you need to know about the PSN title. The game is about a blob from space, and that's pretty much it. Players who have warm, fuzzy memories of A Boy and His Blob and its stunning Wii remake might be tempted by the word “blob” alone, as I was, but Tales from Space has more in common Katamari Damacy than the hero(s) of blob games past. Regardless, this is a PSN download that demands some attention.
In Tales from Space, you play as a blob (duh) that gains size and power by absorbing objects found in its environment. As far as story goes, that's about all you're going to get from me, but cute little scenes do help explain the blob's movement from one environment to the next. By the time you've reached the end, you'll have been told a tale that is a little cuddlier than I was prepared for, but it compliments the gameplay nicely.
And that is what Tales from Space is all about – gameplay. I mentioned Namco's bizarre Katamari Damacy before, and though this game is more a 2D platformer than a 3D semi-puzzle game, the comparisons are evident to anyone who has played both. You'll be moving the blob through a series of stages that require some solid running and jumping skills, but also a bit of light puzzle solving. Picking up all sorts of stuff littered around the stages makes the blob bigger, heavier and can even grant some special powers, and all will be needed to make it to the end. What really makes Tales from Space, though, isn't the blob's size or special powers, it's the incredibly well designed stages that give you a lot to explore without being too impenetrable. There is always a way to the goal, and spinning little dials, wall jumping, even shooting collected items at switches all get you one step closer. And just when you think you've seen the last of the blob's tricks, another is introduced and the game stays fresh until its end.
If I do have one real complaint, though, it is that the end comes WAY too soon. By my count, there are just short of 20 levels, and breezing through them all isn't going to take most gamers more than a few hours. Short games are just fine by me (my favorite PSN game, Shatter, can be finished in under 2 hours), but Tales from Space feels incomplete at its current length. Yes, you do get the whole story in those 20 levels, but it feels like the developers could have taken things a step or two further by adding another handful of stages. I suppose there is some replay in going back through areas you've already conquered for better times, but that isn't enough to keep me interested. Sequel or add-on, anyone?
Tales from Space is one of the better PSN titles and worth a shot if Katamari Damacy was a favorite or you've been looking for a competent 2D platformer. It's got a nice little story to tell, and despite its brutally short length, the great gameplay shines through to make it a title worth its asking price of $15. It's not A Boy and His Blob, it doesn't unseat Shatter as my favorite PSN game, but Tales from Space is a gem of a title that should please just about anyone with more than a passing interest.
Final Rating: 85%.