Being a robot is supposed to be cool. You're supposed to get lasers and x-ray vision and rocket boosters in your feet and mega-strength that lets you crush tanks with your pinky finger which isn't a pinky finger at all but is instead a gargantuan column of shining steel—no, something cooler—awesomenium that only looks like a pinky because the rest of you is so unspeakably massive that you generate your own gravitational pull.
But no, not you. You had to wind up as a janitor ...in a slime factory no less.
In Globule, yet another unique puzzle game courtesy Rowland Rose, maker of Scorching Earth and Music Bounce, you are that robot, and though you have no lasers, you do have the ability to collect slime and have it trail behind you like one giant, sticky, tail. It won't make Johnny Bolts from high school jealous at your ten year reunion, but it is a pretty useful ice-breaker at parties.
Unfortunately there's been an accident in the slime factory and now it's up to you to clean up the mess. In each level you must collect all of the puddles of goo and direct them down one of the available suction vents to make it all go away. To do so, you'll have to push boxes out of the way and mind the arrows which allow you to travel in one direction only. Most importantly, you have to remember that you can travel along the slime trail as much as you want, but you can only move the whole thing by either end; not through the middle.
Analysis: Plainly put, Globule is fun. This should come as no surprise considering Rowland's out-of-the-box puzzlers mentioned a little earlier.
In this case, Globule may initially feel very familiar given its more than obvious roots in Sokoban-esque box pushing gameplay. The genius twist here is mashing that time-tested formula with that of the classic snake game where you run around the board gobbling up little dots, each one increasing the length of your snake.
Running into your tail will not kill you in Globule, but it can stop you dead in your tracks. Thus, while the first handful of levels will lull you into a false sense of security, you quickly come to understand the challenge of the game is not just pushing blocks around in the right order, but also managing your ever growing slime trail in such a way that you don't cut yourself off from necessary paths.
To this extent, one of the things that impressed me the most is how Globule pits you against yourself. You can trick yourself into thinking you're stuck when you really aren't, just as you can convince yourself that you can proceed ahead only to find later on that you were blocked off a long time ago. The end result is that you'll wind up laughing at yourself more often than not as you restart the level because you should have known better.
On the upside, when you do finally make it through a particularly nasty level, watching your slime trail that takes up three quarters of the screen get sucked down the drain can be very satisfying.
The visuals aren't much to write home about, and I'm sure there are going to be some of you who will be grateful that you can turn the music off. But neither the sights nor the sounds are the focal point; that would be the fifty levels of slime collecting goodness, as well as the level editor just in case fifty levels isn't enough.
So if you get excited when you see an oddly shaped room filled with crates; if you, like me, still occasionally dust off your old Adventures of Lolo cartridge; or you just like a nice mental workout from time to time, Globule shouldn't disappoint.