If Sony is to maintain Vita’s launch momentum, you sense that games like Mutant Blobs Attack are likely to be as important in their own way as the £45 retail titles. Initially, DrinkBox’s 2D platformer may appear a good fit for the App Store, but with its blend of traditional button controls, touchscreen and tilt mechanics, it quickly becomes evident that Vita is its natural home.
The story, presented as a Fifties sci-fi serial, rewires Katamari Damacy’s consumerist satire as a simpler tale of revenge: your gelatinous avatar escapes a lab, gradually increasing his bulk by consuming progressively larger objects. Its 24 levels are gated with corks, your blob required to reach a certain size before it can ingest the blockage and move onto the next area. Belying his genetic make-up, this malleable mutant is precise in his movements, ensuring the platforming elements are tight and satisfying.
Though its gentle, physics-led puzzles aren’t especially fiendish, their solutions are never awkward; rather, they’re entertaining to execute, relying on the blob’s ability to trigger objects tagged with a green light. The touchscreen controls here are robust, and moving from buttons to taps and swipes feels surprisingly natural. Elsewhere, the blob’s magnetic powers offer both thoughtful exploration and a twitch reflex challenge, as a search for a well-hidden blob friend segues into an unstoppable rush down a narrow passage lined with spikes. The challenge soon steepens, though checkpoints are frequent enough to keep frustration at a minimum.
It’s a resourceful little game, then, mining laudable variety from an economy of ideas. It’s amusing, too, littering its backgrounds with visual gags, including a sly reference to Angry Birds – even if one cake-related joke proves a meme too far. And it saves the best for last, with a final level that offers some thrillingly silly catharsis, managing to one-up its most obvious inspiration in the process. Such a confident, accomplished game deserves wider appreciation: this may be among Vita’s cheapest launch titles, but it’s also one of the best.