de blob 2: review

Photobucket

  • Format: PS3 (version reviewed), 360, Wii, DS
  • Unleashed: Out Now
  • Publisher: THQ
  • Developer: Blue Tongue Entertainment Ltd.
  • Players: 1-2
  • Site: http://www.deblob.com/

De first game was a Wii exclusive, but de sequel has gone multiformat. Wid lots of bright colours, cute character designs and happy bouncy music, de Wii origins are clear for all to see. De question is: is dis a good ding or not?

You take control of de (okay, enough) heroic globule of.. er… stuff Blob. The basic premise runs thus: The evil black & white Inkies, led by Comrade Black, have once again run riot through Blob’s world, draining it of all colour. In addition they have forced the colourful citizens to wear bland suits, draining them of colour, individuality and will. Others they have hypnotised into conformity, forcing them to join the Blanc cult. It’s your job to put the world to rights by restoring colour and kicking Inky backside.

Blob’s default state is clear and colourless. He’s invisible to most enemies in this form, but is also at his most vulnerable. In order to defend himself and restore the world to its former glory, you’ll need to colour him in. There are two ways to do this; absorb paint from a pool, or stomp an ‘inkbot’ to paint Blob that colour and gain a smaller amount of paint points. Colouring most things in (or killing enemies or destroying Inky objects) requires a varying amount of these points, which also act as a kind of HP counter. Touch black ink and you’ll be unable to colour anything – you’ll need to find water before you’re poisoned, and then colour yourself in again.

Blob looking very wise, i.e. well red (groan).

Colouring objects and rescuing ‘Graydians’ means simply touching them when coloured. Killing enemies and destroying objects means targeting them with one button, then stomping them with the jump button or charging them with the, er, charge button. So far, so simple. However, while paint pools give you the relevant colour regardless of your current state, stomping inkbots in sequence will mix the colours together. Need orange, with no orange pool around? Stomp a yellow inkbot and then a red one, without touching any water, black ink or different colours in between.

This idea is exploited often after the first few levels where certain objects, enemies, or entrances (to one of the many brief-but-fun 2D platforming sections) require specific colours. It’s also a great way to have kids embarrass you if you let them have a go. “Daddy, he’s yellow. How do I make him brown?” “Er…”.

In addition, it means that the ‘hold down target and jump till everything is dead/coloured’ tactic that works at the beginning of the game is soon not an option. Especially when some objects and enemies punish you for stomping when you should charge, or charging when you should stomp. Oh, and did we mention that different colours are sometimes required on different levels and parts of the same building?

If only flying buses were real. *sigh*

There’s a simple joy to be had from watching each black and white level slowly transform into a colourful paradise, but credit must go to the superb sound design too. The music begins as a brooding minimalist glumtrack. Each time you colour a part of the environment however, you get a brief ‘Ooooh’ or jolly ‘ting!’ and, before you know it, you’ve coloured enough of your surroundings for the music to have completely transformed into funky jazz that’s impossible to dislike.

Credit where it’s due also to the cutscenes which sew the levels together. The name ‘Pixar’ has more than once been thrown into the mix when people have tried to describe de blob 2, and nowhere is this more appropriate than the movies. Not only do they technically look fantastic, they’re well directed with visual humour that hammers your funnybone virtually every time. The ending even contains a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Mario reference. In fact, the final level is little more than a love letter to Mario Galaxy and believe it or not, another level makes two (very) thinly veiled jokes aimed at Guantanamo Bay and the Bush administration…

Each level is a sandbox-style environment, and as a result there are plenty of things to find and do – such as ‘inspiration’ that you spend to upgrade Blob – that are entirely optional. If you ignore all these non-essentials, then your first playthrough could be over in about ten hours. However, you’ll love the experience so much, you will be determined to clean the game out completely; be that on your first time round or your third.

"Another Call of Duty! Don't worry, I'll handle this."

A second player can join you in the main adventure but if they do, they’ll find themselves acting as little more than an aiming reticule – a la Mario Galaxy. There are however dedicated two player, split-screen levels to be found in ‘blob party’ where two Blobs can tackle the Inky menace together.

It couldn’t possibly look any more kid-friendly, the plot is absolutely preposterous cartoon script fare, it’s happy to exploit platforming clichés such as wall runs and jumping on heads, it doesn’t start to get particularly difficult until it’s almost over, there’s nothing approaching a traditional boss fight until the penultimate level, and overall it’s exactly the kind of game publishers tend to avoid bringing to the PS3 and Xbox 360 – and it’s absolutely fantastic. Consider our hats very much doffed to Blue Tongue (note that the DS version is made by a different developer, and we can’t comment on it) and THQ.

The only real problem with the game (rare camera issues in later levels aside) is that you’ll most likely play the game to death for a week – possibly two – and then never play it again. It’s such a joyful and unique experience, however, that you’ll love every second. And dat’s de trud.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Written by Luke K

Luke plays lots of videogames, now and again stopping to write about them. He’s the editor in chief at Critical Gamer, which fools him into thinking his life has some kind of value. Chances are, if you pick up a copy of the latest Official PlayStation Magazine or GamesMaster, you’ll find something he’s written in there.

Luke doesn’t have a short temper. If you suggest otherwise, he will punch you in the face.

One comment

  1. Stephen K /

    I had barrels of fun reading this review, but only several handfuls playing the game. I agree with your sentiments in theory, but I found the level design to be monotonous by the fourth level or so. I would have appreciated some extra freedom, as I felt like the game was tugging me along a linear path instead of letting me hop around on my own to color stuff.

    Still, the art and sound designs are to be commended, and those cutscenes… good stuff!

Leave a Reply