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De Blob 2 - Give the Gift of Colour
I’ve never really felt compelled to go out a buy a Wii, but every now and then, there would be a game that made me wish I owned one. Most of these were first party Nintendo games, but in 2008, THQ released a cute little platformer oozing with charm. It pained me to find that De Blob was exclusive to the Wii. Thankfully, its success prompted THQ to release De Blob 2 on PS3 and Xbox 360 as well, and I’m happy to report that barring a few missteps, the sequel retains all of the vibrancy and feel-good fun that the first game was known for.
The concept of De Blob 2 is quite a unique one. The oppressive INKT Corporation headed by the evil Comrade Black has sucked all the colour out of Prism City, converting it into a sea of grey and turning its inhabitants into dreary monochromatic slaves. It’s up to you – Blob, and your quirky friends to bring colour back into the world, one building, tree, vehicle, and citizen at a time. The game features some serious political overtones, but stops short of making it overbearing by throwing in lots of humor via great cutscenes, with its pretty Pixar-ish art style, and by keeping the mood light and lively at all times with a funky soundtrack that gets peppier the more colour you inject into the world.
Life is so much better in colour
Blob’s cute gelatinous body has the ability to store paint, which can either be soaked up through pools of paint or by stomping on paint bots. You can then slither and jump around the city, adding colour to everything you touch. Movement is incredibly smooth and simple, and watching the city transform and burst into colour before you and knowing that you made it happen is a truly rewarding feeling. It won’t be all rainbows and unicorns though. The INKT Corporation’s soldiers will do all they can to foil your revolutionary plans, so in between all the painting, there is a fair amount of combat, even if the difficulty levels never go too high. There is an auto-target mechanism that lets you stomp on or charge at enemies with ease, but targeting enemies individually can get a little tricky, especially when you’re swamped with inkies.
The puzzles require you to paint certain objects in specific colours, and the challenge comes from the fact that Blob can only carry one colour of paint at a time. You’ll also be required to mix colours, so you can mix red and blue when you need to paint something purple. The puzzles are the most fun aspects of the game, and as is the theme throughout, they’re easy enough so you won’t be left scratching your head for too long. But while the game does so well to keep the puzzles and combat from getting tiresome, a bizarre checkpoint system plays spoilsport. There were times when I ran out of lives towards the end of a level, and had to restart the level from the very beginning and repaint everything.
The game also introduces a few side-scrolling segments to keep things fresh, but on the whole, you can’t help but find the level design a tad repetitive. You’ll find yourself bringing colour to identical structures again and again, and the few new gameplay elements that it does introduce are too late in the game and aren’t used frequently enough. The game also throws in a co-op option, with a second player stepping in to aid the main player. It’s not the most challenging way to play, but it’s a great way for parents to enjoy the game with kids who are new to gaming.
A few annoyances aside, De Blob 2 offers an immensely enjoyable experience thanks to its feel-good theme, funky soundtrack and accessible gameplay. Some might dismiss this as a kiddy game, but they’d be missing out on something quite special.The PS3 version also supports Playstation Move, but the motion controls are only used by the second player in the co-op mode for targeting. The primary player will only use the buttons on the Move controller along with the DS3 or Navigation controller for movement. There’s no implementation of motion gestures in the single player mode barring the ability to scribble across the game’s main menu. So if you’re playing solo, you’d be better just sticking to the Dualshock controller.