Tales of Elastic Boy: Mission 1 Review
So, anyone remember Mister Slime? It was an innovative little platformer project that came to the DS two years ago and generated a bit of a buzz. Craig was a bit underwhelmed with the final product, giving it just an average score and wishing its main mechanic hadn’t felt so tedious, even though it was inventive. Ring a bell for you? Well, surprise, Mister Slime is back — and this re-branded WiiWare sequel manages to address some of the concerns that brought down opinions of his DS debut back in 2008.
Tales of Elastic Boy is the series’ new title, as developer Lexis Numerique starts fresh with the same gameplay idea, same characters and same world, but moves the whole production up to the big screen and swaps in Wii Remote motion control for the old stylus tapping. The concept is centered on stickiness — your slime character can extend his four stretchy grabbing arms to stick himself to floating pegs, moving one by one across them by reaching out for those ahead while continuously detaching himself from those behind.
It’s the same idea that we saw with in the DS original, but it’s made a lot more fluid here. Mister Slime on the DS demanded slow, methodical work managing each of your slime’s arms, tapping them one at a time with the stylus to detach them and dragging them back out of his central body to grab toward the next peg in sequence. It became tedious work, and was ultimately one of the main things that made Craig dislike the game overall.
That same action, though, is now streamlined in this WiiWare sequel. Instead of individually dealing with each of the slime’s arms and making slow, tedious progress, you can just use the Wii Remote’s pointer functionality to point and highlight the next peg you want to move to. Your slime will react automatically, detaching his own trailing limbs and quickly swinging forward. It’s like you just paint the path you want him to take with the cursor now, and he’ll speedily follow your instructions.
It’s a great boost to the overall feel and fun factor, as it feels like the game now gets to be a game instead of just an extended exercise in character management. The improvements aren’t absolute, as you’ll sometimes still have to point and detach specific arms to get your slime to go the way you want him to, particularly at the end of a long sequence of pegs when there’s no longer a next peg to grab on to. But it is much more playable now, and the fun can now come through.
I’m also a fan of the connections the developer included to the first game’s plot, as though Mister Slime didn’t gather an enormous audience there will still be those (like me) that recognize this as the sequel it is. The Mister Slime hero from the DS game is the old, wise sage of the village of slimes now, and he’s the one who teaches you how to roll, stick to pegs and attack enemies in the game’s first level.
This download is just “Mission 1″ of Tales of Elastic Boy, implying that we’ve got at least one more adventure on the way that can improve even further on the foundation found here — but it also means there isn’t a ton of content here for your investment of six bucks. You’ll be left wanting more single-player levels to explore, though you can go back through cleared stages again with unlocked characters and try to improve your item collection score. And there are some multiplayer options too, if you’ve got another human there who’d like to get slimy alongside you. That’s enough to earn an overall thumbs-up from me.
I’m happy to see that the Mister Slime concept has been given a second chance, and happier still that several of the issues that plagued its DS debut have been addressed in this WiiWare follow-up. It also fits the format, working well with the Wii Remote and big screen — and I prefer this design to WiiWare’s nearest competitor, Furry Legends, which wasn’t quite as fun, controlled more poorly and cost four more bucks to buy. So give Tales of Elastic Boy a try, and open your arms to a stretchy slime one more time.