Tetris-like falling block games are some of my favourites mostly because they’re mindless time wasters – and who doesn’t love that?
These are the games that you can pick up and play for a little while when you’re at the laundromat waiting for your delicates to finish drying. They’re quick and easy and pretty much anyone can pick them up and enjoy them regardless of skill level. Raining Blobs by indie developer Endi Milojkoski is a charming arcade puzzle game that would probably be easy to sink hundreds of hours into – if it wasn’t for a few pretty big setbacks.
Raining Blobs is a Tetris-esque game where your goal is match the same coloured blobs together to clear your board and keep it from filling up. A pair of blobs, (similar to Dr. Mario, yes, now you too will have that music stuck in your head) will fall slowly and you have to choose where on your board you want them to fall. In order to pop the blobs and clear a portion of your board, you must match blobs that have a star on them to other blobs of the same colour that also have stars on them. A small area at the top of your board shows you which blobs are coming next so you can try and plan ahead and strategise where your blobs should go. After a certain amount of time, the blobs will speed up for a few frantic seconds. During this time your board flashes like you suddenly entered a rave and the game becomes quite painful to look at. Along with everything else going on, i.e. the raining blobs and the moving background image, a flashing board seemed to me an unnecessary add on, but possibly a useful epilepsy test.
Raining Blobs’ biggest downfall is its choice of pixel art graphics. The anime girl characters are cute enough and the backgrounds are drawn beautifully, but the game itself – the most important part – is more distracting than entertaining. Upon reaching the bottom of the board, the blobs themselves bounce back up, and when you get a match the screen flashes and stars fly all over the place. The low resolution pixelated blobs made it hard to play quickly and I often found myself squinting; it simply just has too much going on at once. Tetris, for example, was simply a single rectangular board and a few blocks falling slowly that you could flip around at will, and it is one of the most well-known games in the world. It didn’t need flashy graphics or cute anime girls to make it a fun puzzle game. If Raining Blobs toned it down a couple notches it would be well on its way to being a really fun game.
What I really enjoyed about Raining Blobs was its multiple modes for one player and many multiplayer options as well. By yourself or with up to eight friends (on the same screen mind you), you can pick from four different playable modes when you load up the game. In puzzle mode you are given a board with a few blobs, and you have to figure out where you can put the blobs falling from the ceiling in order to clean the entire board in one go. In tournament mode you’re in a race again the CPU in order to see who can last the longest. Endless mode is a get as far as you can mode and Arcade Mode is where you can compete against your friends in either versus or co-op. Also in Arcade Mode you can changes the rules, the type of stage, and the music in order to fit your mood. So if you and your friends are bored Raining Blobs really has a lot to choose from to mix it up.
I did enjoy my first hour or so with Raining Blobs but after that it became obvious that there really wasn’t anything that kept me wanting to come back for more. I love the concept and, let’s face it, the uber-cute anime girls are awesome, but when the gameplay itself is what is worst about a game it’s time for a few adjustments. If it was toned down a little with a little less flashiness it would be a lot more enjoyable. It already has plenty going for it with all of the different modes available. If you’re desperate for a new Tetris-alike however, then Raining Blobs might be right up your alley. As long as you don’t have photo-sensitive epilepsy, that is.