Blob from Iconic Games is a multiplayer strategy game that's a little like Atoms.
Players take turns to click on a hex grid and spawn a blob or enlarge one that is there. When blobs get large enough they explode into the surrounding 6 hexes, enlarging blobs on their side but also capturing any enemy blobs.
Chain reactions are quite possible so it's best to keep the blobs at the front large and have some sort of buffer zone to stop an enemy capture that gets all of your side in one go. There are some pickups too; blobs that explode into pickup squares gain a variety of useful things that can really turn the tide.
The game plays in a window and can be played against lots of different AI skill levels, as well as other people hot-seat, over the internet or over a LAN. The options are set using the window's menu, which is generally a good thing.
The graphics are about average. The hexes and pieces are attractive and well drawn with a 3D oblique slope. The hex under the mouse pointer lights up too but the boring red/orange gradient fade and general lack of sparkle dulls the generally high standard of the game pieces. There are no eye catching special effects.
There is a provision to change or add your own background and change the game 'style' (I assume that means piece sets) but only the default of each is supplied. There is very little animation, although the pickup hexes and the pickups in the player inventories are animated. The instructions are animated full screen in little looping sequences which works well, and all of the icons are big and easy to understand.
The (vital) size of each blob can be hard to read by eye and it would have been nice to see an option to see the size as a number.
Sound is minimal, consiting mainly of bleeps or other event notification noises. The only noteworthy sound is the voice on the tutorial which reminded me of the talking the adults used to in the Charlie Brown cartoons. Unfortunately there is no music or other ambient sound.
The rules can be tailored to your liking. Different boards can be selected as well as factors like the probability of pickups. Pickups affect the game quite considerably so it's nice to be able to turn them off. The boards are in xml format (nice idea!) so experienced users could edit them in a text editor. A chm file is supplied for help which is a definate plus, and the installer managed to cope with putting the shortcuts in the correct sub-directory of my start menu too.
The general strategy of the game is quite involving but the fact that one part of the board is pretty much like another, together with the uniformity of the pieces works against it. Blob is more engaging than chinese checkers, but even with the pickups it's not as deep as chess. Blob has a good help file, expandability, and enough new ideas and presentation to knock it into the silver star zone.
Keywords: blob review, iconic games reviews, iconic games games, blob scores, pc game reviews, indie game reviews, independent gaming.