Game Review

A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

An innovative gameplay idea that's beginning to feel a bit dated.

There's no denying that the original NES release of A Boy and His Blob brought some fairly unique gameplay ideas to the table when it was released in 1989. David Crane, who'd already seen success with his Atari 2600 hit Pitfall, brought a few ideas from his classic and combined it with a completely new gameplay system that was unlike anything gamers had seen before. The result was a very innovative title, but also one that garnered mixed reactions from gamers. While some applauded its innovative gameplay elements, others found the open-ended exploration a bit tedious and lacking in direction. So how exactly does this NES classic hold up as a Virtual Console release all these years later?

Unlike a traditional platformer, your character in A Boy and His Blob can't jump or attack enemies on his own. Instead he'll have to rely on his little Blob companion in order to traverse the many areas in the game. To do this he'll have to feed the Blob a variety of jellybeans, each offering up a different transformation for the Blob. You can transform the Blob into everything from a ladder that can be climbed to a trampoline your character can springboard off of in. It's up to you to figure out which transformation is needed in any given situation. And with 14 different jellybean flavors to choose from, you'll find a whole wealth of useful transformations at your disposal to choose from.

There are basically two worlds to explore in the game, the Night World and the Day World. Your goal in each world is to locate and collect as many of the hidden treasures as possible. The more treasures you pick up, the more points you'll score. The Night World will take you into the depths of the city where you'll explore the subways, caverns, and sewers. The Day World is where you'll have to tackle forests and green pastures in your search for more treasures and a way to get your Blob friend back to his home planet.

A Boy and His Blob is one of those games that basically allows you to progress at your own pace. Since there's a lot of exploration to the game, you'll quickly find that the majority of your time will be spent trying to not only locate the treasures, but find ways to reach them as well. The play control is fairly smooth, although you'll have to become accustomed to how the game feels if you're going to navigate some of the trickier sections. Even making use of some of the Blob transformations can take some practice in order to master. The play control system isn't perfect, but it's ultimately manageable if you're willing to put in the time to familiarize yourself with it. Of course if you're someone who prefers a little more action in your platformers, you might find this game a bit too tedious in its execution.

Visually there's not a lot to A Boy and His Blob. It's standard 8-bit fare for the most part, although there are some areas of the game that shine above others. The Day World seems to feature a lot more color and detail, so it at least offers you something to look forward to. The characters and enemies are all very basic sprites, but they all animate quite well considering this is an NES title, after all. Suffice it to say, it's definitely not one of the more impressive NES release visually, but the game still makes due quite well with what it has to work with.

From a musical standpoint, A Boy and His Blob is a mixed bag. While the few musical tracks the game makes use of are adequate, they're repeated so often that they tend to quickly become a bit grating if you find yourself on any type of gameplay session of any extended length of time. Even making the move to the Day World doesn't seem to mix things up enough to change this issue. Of course it also doesn't help matters that the sound effects are few and far between and do little to add to the overall audio presentation.


A Boy and His Blob might have been a very innovative title when it was first released, but games have come a long way since 1989 and with the release of a brilliant remake of the game on the Wii console, you can't help but notice how dated the gameplay of this NES original feels by comparison. Sure there's still some fun to be had, but much like the reaction the game received when it was first released, the game is probably even more likely to get mixed reactions from Wii owners who end up taking a chance on this Virtual Console release. If you're a long-time fan of this game or you just couldn't get enough of the Wii remake, you'll most likely get a kick out of this classic NES release. But for everyone else, you'd be better suited to approach this one with caution as it can be a bit tedious for those who aren't prepared for exactly what the game has to offer.

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User Comments (32)



brandonbwii said:

I heard this game was dated. I'm glad Corbie didn't give this game a high score based on nostalgic value alone.



Sneaker13 said:

I'm still gonna get it. I look forward for this one and hopefully we will get it this friday.



Egg_miester said:

i never did like this game it made no sense to me even when i got older so i agree with ign more with the review on this game
gameplay i would play it and never know where to go and what the hell i did its nearly as bad as metroid and even for 8 bit this game is mostly ugly



Slapshot said:

I actually put some time in with this game awhile back and found it very frustrating, I can definatley see that if it was 1989 I would be crazy for it, but by nowadays standards the game has suffered a bit. Good review Corbie, Im lookin forward to play the new iteration of it on Wii.



blackknight77 said:

I am playing this for the first time and I really enjoy it. In terms of the visuals, it reminds me of C64 game in a way, but overall I enjoy the look and feel of the game. If it just gave some clues about what to do next.



Philip_J_Reed said:

Awesome review for a classic (but irritatingly flawed) game, Corb.

While it might be worth downloading for somebody who has fond childhood memories of it, I don't think I'd be able to recommend this to a newcomer. It's just not worth their time when there's so much else out there.

The new version for the Wii is incredible, though, and I definitely do think that's worth recommending universally.



StarBoy91 said:

Fantastic review, Corbie. I guess the question now is whether to download the game on VC or acquire the Wii remake.



Terra said:

Just how different is the Wii version to the NES version? Isn't it more of a sequel than a remake? I heard that awhile ago but haven't played the game myself yet.



Chunky_Droid said:

I never liked this game myself, I don't even think I made it to the day world, I hated the level design and I hated the music.

OC Remix has an awesome mix of the music from this game though



Corbs said:

@ Terranigma - The NES version and Wii version are night and day. While the same gameplay principle is still used, it's implemented much better in the Wii version. There's really no comparison when you think about it.



Bakajin said:

When I saw this on the shop channel Monday was tempted to use my one free NES download for this. Glad I held off. Still curious about this game, but the review has dampened it somewhat. I'll probably just borrow the wiimake from my brother-in-law and leave it at that.



I saw this silly flash cartoon when I was younger about this game. The boy gave the blob some beans, and he crapped everywhere. I used to think it was funny, don't know how I'd feel about it now, though.



Jolted85 said:

least it didnt get a completely terrible score, I'm interested in the retail version of ABAHB, but not sure if it's for me.



Stuffgamer1 said:

@brandonbwii: This is Corbie we're talking about...he's GREAT about not reviewing based on nostalgia alone! Remember the Final Fantasy score of 7? Stuff like that is why he's my favorite review in the world.

I really want to get the newer Wii game, but I'm not too sure about the original. Didn't it have limited jellybeans that could get you totally screwed if you accidentally ran out?



SilentJ said:

I'm surprised at how many people here dislike this game. l think I'm having more fun with it now than when I was a kid.



TheLonelyGamer said:

This game could have had a lot of potential, but sadly the game really isn't that great, it is a very creative game though.

Oh, and that box art is oh so laughable!



WolfRamHeart said:

Thanks for the review Corbie! I never played the original game. The Wii version is fantastic but I'm afraid that I would probably be disappointed if I decided to download this game now. I will probably give it a try sometime later on but for now I am content playing the newer version of the game.



brooks83 said:

Welcome to the VC Majesco! Anybody know off the top of their heads what other games they own the rights to that could be on the VC? If they own the entire Absolute Entertainment catalog, maybe there is a chance we could see Super Battletank. Loved that game as a kid.



Ren said:

One of my favorite games ever, though, it probably deserves a pretty low score by todays standards. I could see it aging kinda poorly. It was damn hard as I remember it, I'm not sure I'd have the patience for it anymore, either. There was a time when I didn't mind drawing paper maps to get through a game easier, but I'd never do that now.



CH405K1N6 said:

I'm sticking with the sequel, THAT'S a good example of how a classic should be updated.



CanisWolfred said:

Pretty much what I expected. I'll just get the remake instead. I think I'd just get too frustrated with this version.



Simon_Deku said:

This looked good at first. Now that I've seen the reveiw I think I'll get the remake. Besides, why did they remake it when it only got 6/10?



Majora said:

I love this game; then and now: exploration, creativity, affection. I must be in the opposite mixed reaction. 8/10.

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