Blobz is Lemmings really, but with some other bits from games like Worms. I've got absolutely nothing against games that are like other good games - how many Amiga footie games are there? And therefore I have no problem with the fact that Blobz is Lemmings with some other bits from Worms.
Let's deal with the obvious graphic similarities between Blobz and Lemmings first - you're controlling small 'creatures' called blobz. They are a mere three or four pixels high and they move around 2D platforms.
LEAD THE WAY
Progress through Blobz is achieved by guiding your characters from the start, to the exit on each level - within a time limit. Of course, it's not quite as simple as that. You can't just let the blobz make their own way, because they have no brains and they will quite happily walk to their death should anything fatal appear in their way. So, to help them on their way you've got to assign certain skills to certain blobz. This will enable them to get over, round and through obstacles.
At the bottom of the screen is a panel of icons. Click on an icon, for example the one to jump, and the move your pointer over a blob on the platform and press a mouse button. Hey presto, the blob jumps. If you click on the dig icon and then a blob, the blob digs. I'm sure this must be terribly familiar to all of you by now.
THAT'S NOT ALL
To leave it there though, would be terribly unfair. There are tweaks and additions to the gameplay that you won't find in Lemmings. For a start, there are weapons which can be used to blow up obstacles (this is the bit pinched from Worms), which leads me nicely to a gameplay feature that Blobz has which Lemmings doesn't: as well as getting your blobz to the exit, you're often given a specific task to do, such as collect objects or destroy certain installations.
Apex have made life trickier I that you don't necessarily have the full range of skills available to you at the start of the level. Sometimes you have to pick up extra skills as you work your way along the level and invariably you're going to need these extra skills later on.
WORK IT OUT
You'll often find that there are levels that require you to sacrifice some blobz in order to get the others to safety. There are also levels that require some quick icon manipulation as you attempt to get a blob to use a variety of skills in a very short space of time.
Thankfully Apex have included a slo-mo mode - you can slow down the blobz movement to a snail's pace, giving you a much better shot at getting the right blob to do the right thing at the right time.
The nasty thing about this slo-mo mode is that it doesn't slow down the clock. And this is probably my biggest problem with the game - the time limits you have are murderous and a few more seconds on each level would not seriously limit the game challenge.
After all, the joy comes from figuring out what you need to do to get the blobz to the exit, and not from frantically whizzing the mouse around the screen, as you try to select skills and assign them to your blobz.
There's a level editor included with the game, enabling you to construct your own levels and get your mates to solve 'em so when you've finished the pre-designed levels there's still plenty to do.
Apex have taken the basic Lemmings model and although they've added tweaks here and there, it's practically the same game. We know Lemmings is an excellent game - and if you're going to make a clone you might as well pick an excellent game to clone - but somehow this doesn't make Blobz an excellent game.
It's just too close to the original. The added extras don't take the gameplay any further than the Lemmings games have gone already and although it's novel to use weapons and have mini sub-tasks on the levels, the novelty wears off very quickly.
MORE OF THE SAME
Even though Lemmings fans especially and puzzle fans in general should find Blobz entertaining, I think they are going to look at this and find it's all too familiar. Sometimes a clone, even a clone of a great game, just doesn't manage to instill the same amount of excitement as the original and that's exactly the case with Blobz.
I don't have a problem with games being cloned, and I can understand Apex picking a game as famous and as popular as Lemmings, after all if you're looking to publish a game in today's Amiga market you better make damn sure it's a bit of a corker for a start. As you'll have gathered though, I do have a problem with clones that are just too close to their parent. IF a clone's going to work, it's got to add and improve on the original. Blobz doesn't do that.