sblobber 64

Sblobber 64 is a Nintendo 64 homebrew game by Vrgl117 Games released on 13 December 2020. In it, you control a blob through a maze filled with traps, warps and puzzles. This game was made for the 64brew game jam 2020 , and won 2nd place alongside Kumi-Daiko Beatoff 64. Nice!

You can download the ROM and source code by visiting our download page by using the password blobbybyvrgl117 or by going to Github for the source or itch.io for the ROM.

This was my attempt at a speed run. The controls are a bit clunky but it’s the best I could get after about 10 full playthroughs.

Sblobber 64 gameplay and style

It’s a bit difficult to talk about this game because its official name is with a lower-case ‘S’ but should it be capitalised at the beginning of a sentence?

Is it a slime? Is it a blob? who knows?!

vrgl117.games

Opening and story

The game starts off with the opening credits and some simple instructions: Find the stairs to reach your friend. That’s all there is to it.

This game Is the only homebrew game I can remember that uses the Rumble Pak, which activates when you get an item or bump into a wall.

Gameplay

The first thin you see is that there is no tutorial or explanation besides an arrow pointing right, it’s up to you to figure out how things work.

The game works on a 2D grid like many puzzle games of this style. The trick is in its weird control scheme:

  • Up – Stretch up / Move up
  • Down – Shrink down / Move down
  • Right – Stretch right / Move right
  • Left – Shrink left / Move left

Read that again carefully, it takes a while to get used to. You expand from 1 to 3 spaces when moving up and right, and shrink from 3 to 1 when moving down and left. This makes puzzles fairly unique as you have a fairly limited move range, particularly in confined spaces.

Items and obstacles

There are a few obstacles and items along the way.

  • Stage entrance: This is where you start each level.
  • Stage exit: takes you upstairs to the next level.
  • Grids: If you place your whole body on grid tiles, you fall and die.
  • Buttons: Pressing them opens walls. Sometimes you need to press multiple buttons to activate a switch.
  • Door key: Opens locked doors
  • Portal: Transports you to another section of the stage.
  • Heart: Replenishes lives.
  • Flame: Kills you if any part of your body touches it.

Every time you die by fire or grid, you get sent back to the beginning of the stage and lose a heart. Lose all of them and you have to start back at the beginning of the game.

Levels

The earlier stages of the game are smaller but they progressively get bigger and require more puzzle-solving to get through, with stage 4 being the largest of all.

‘Size’ theme

Size plays into the game in how sblobby changes in size while navigating through the stage.

Credits

  • VRGL117 team:Isabel Jimenez & Victor Vieux: (Programming and level design)
  • Kenney and M0d (stock art and music)

Conclusion and review

Sblobber 64 has a very distinct feel to it, which I can’t quite put my finger on. I’d say that it reminds me of a sort of Game Boy puzzle game like Sokoban with its simple graphics, low-resolution and grid-like movement layout.

The difficulty curve works really well, but it never does get too complicated. The path to follow is very linear; there is no maze/exploration aspect to sblobber 64 only puzzle-solving and avoiding death.

The main setback to this homebrew game in my opinion is the length. I beat the game for the first time in less than 20 minutes, and then managed to speed through it in under 2 minutes. Reaching to the end of level 4 for the first time seems like such an accomplishment, you get excited for what’s next, but it turns out to be the end of the game.

There are a couple of minor mistakes with the game’s design, but by no means are they game-breaking. First is that the music cuts out for a brief moment while a sound effect plays (oddly, kinda like Cheetahmen). The other one is that there’s one place where you can get soft locked, right under where Blobby is in this picture:

With all the effort put into creating an engine, it would have been great to see more stages added to the the game. Even if they don’t add any new assets and made more levels with what they have, there would be so much more value to this game.

Team VRGL117 were a bit pressed with the deadline so they made the levels that they could, but the good news is that if you’re brave enough you can compile your own sblobber map pack by changing the map resources which are saved as basic text files.

This was overall a great effort, but I think that it would have been really something to revisit more and more if it had a bit more length. It creates a great sense of momentum but stops abruptly before it fully sets in.

Articles across the web

Sblobber 64 is a homebrewn puzzle game made by VRGL117 for the 2020 64brew game jam, winning 2nd place. Let's take a look.
Article published on N64 Squid

Search

Subscribe to the mailing list

Follow N64 Squid

  • RSS Feed
  • Tumblr

Popular posts

Leave a Reply

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Website

Your Message