Platform: Nintendo Wii
Developer: Blue Tongue
Wii Remote and Nunchuk compatible
When I first caught wind of de Blob, I was like “what the heck is that?” Controlling a blob while coloring a city was a different experience to say the least. The game is not your typical looking platformer, nor is it your regular playing one either. Well THQ was kind enough to send us a review copy of the final version and I have to say that I am definitely surprised and quite pleased with what the game has to offer.
The first word to come to my mind when thinking about the visuals in de Blob is “colorful”. Yep, there is no denying it; this is one bright and vibrant game. There is just something so satisfying to see a black and white canvas slowly become filled with rich colors that are a result of your skills with a Wii Remote and Nunchuk. The amount of colors that comes forth during your adventure is very pleasing to the eye and it seems that developer Blue Tongue knew what they were doing here. In terms of the character and level designs, everything seems to have a level of creativeness to it that shows a lot of work went into each one. The INKT army, and Comrade Black himself, are very well designed and have an art style of their own. Technically speaking, de Blob ran without a hitch in 16x9, 480p widescreen. Everything seemed to move quite fluidly without any hit in the framerate too. Overall I was happy with the visual experience de Blob presented and I am sure that you will too.
The soundtrack in de Blob is best described as jazz-like. As you play you will find that the music seems to change somewhat and that it does not become that repetitive. The songs also seem to compliment the on-screen action to a tee. I know that a lot of platform style games have me reaching for the mute button, but de Blob did not have this effect. In terms of the characters, they too seemed to have a language of their own. It was not understandable as it was a lot of gibberish, but like the visuals the style really seemed well done and added to the overall gameplay explerience. Finally, the compliment of sound effects that is included in de Blob round out an all ready solid audio package.
The storyline of de Blob is a very suitable for what the game is about. You live in Chroma City which is under attack by the Comrade Black and the INKT Corporation. INKT wants to see all the color drained from Chroma City and turn it into a black and white wasteland. Out of respect and honor for your homeland you join a resistance movement called the Color Underground and attempt to bring color back to Chroma City.
The game starts off with Blob having no color himself. As you explore Chorma City you will discover paint bots which are carrying yellow, blue, or red paint. By smashing these paint bots you will get covered with the color of paint that the paint bot was carrying. You will earn paint points when you do this too. These points double as both your health and your attack strength. The latter is quite important given that you will come across specific enemies that will require a certain number of paint points to defeat. Once you are colored you only need to touch a building in Chroma City to color it. There is no rhyme or reason either as you can paint each part of the city you are in any color or combination of colors you like.
You will find that each section of the city that you are in has specific goals for you to complete. These goals, or challenges if you wish, are broken into four types. Races, combat challenges, landmark challenges, and paint challenges. Races have you hitting checkpoints in the city in a limited amount of time. Combat challenges have you battling INKT Soldiers and their weapons of mass decoloring. Landmark challenges have you have attacking specific buildings or structures that INKT has captured. You will use a specific color of paint in your effort and you will find yourself dodging INKT defences such as spikes or electrified panels. Finally paint challenges have you just painting specific structures a single color or multiple colors and you have a short amount of time to do so. All in all it is nice to see de Blob make a game of this nature more then just roaming the city in a mindless effort to paint it. Having specific goals or challenges make the game a little more exciting as you try to complete your specific task at hand.
So how does one control Blob? Simply put, quite easily. You will move Blob around with the Nunchuk’s analog stick. To make Blob jump you only need to swing the Wii Remote downward. You can lock onto specific targets by pressing the Z button on the Nunchuk. This is very useful when locking onto enemies or zipping between trigger points found between buildings. All in all Blob controls pretty well. The basics are very easy to pick up and to learn while the fine nuances do take a bit of time, but it is nothing that can be overcome. I think that developers Blue Tongue did a great job of utilizing the Wii’s controllers for this game.
Along with the single player game de Blob also offers up some multiplayer madness for up to four players. There are three game modes for people to play here and the basic premise of each is to paint more of the specific level then the other players. The first mode is Paint Match where you paint over other players’ colors. In the second mode, Blob Race, each building or structure can only be painted once so the first to get to the buildings in the level is going to win. Finally the third mode, Blob on the Run, has one player painting while the other players attempt to find and smash that player’s blob in order to take over the role of painter. I found that all the multiplayer modes were pretty entertaining. The only downside to these are that they are all played on a single Wii, so the screen is split up according to how many players you have. Personally I would have liked more screen to see what I was doing, but beggars cannot be choosers here and I did appreciate the fact that there were some multiplayer modes in this game.
Overall I had a lot of unexpected fun with de Blob. I thought I was going into a game aimed at the real younger audience, however with the nuances of the control, and the overall enjoyment that the game provided, it really brought out the kid in me and I found that I didn’t want to stop playing. The game’s 10 levels (in story mode) are really addicting and bring out a lot of charm. I even went back to past levels in an effort to open up a lot of the unlockables that are available (e.g. concept artwork or developer movies). For a game based on the premise it presents, de Blob is really caught me by surprise.
I have to admit that I didn’t know what I was getting into when THQ sent us our review copy of de Blob. After spending my time with it though I have to say that this is a solid third-party entry that a lot of people need to play. With vivid visuals, solid sound, and addicting gameplay, how can one go wrong? Trust me, you can’t judge a book by its book cover and to judge de Blob on the game case alone would be unfair as it is such an enjoyable experience.