De Blob 2
Comrade Black is back, and so is his wicked war on color. While we had a handful of critiques for Blue Tongue’s Wii-exclusive release, de Blob was one of the better-received third-party titles on the console. Recognizing the potential to capture a broader audience, THQ is wisely going multiplatform with de Blob 2.
De Blob 2’s world is saturated with both color and personality. As you bring Prisma City back to life by eliminating enemies, freeing prisoners, solving puzzles, and painting the environment in a color-by-numbers manner, propaganda disappears and trash vanishes. The hustle and bustle of daily life returns, erasing any signs of a once-monotone existence. De Blob 2 literally runs on an economy of inspiration, awarding you light bulbs that can be spent to upgrade your silent – but thoroughly expressive – protagonist with more health, better defense, and increased paint capacity.
The action can feel repetitive at times, but it’s rarely unfulfilling. Blue Tongue meticulously crafted the pacing, introducing new hazards, enemies, and power-ups just as the surprisingly lengthy game begins to teeter on monotony. The well-designed user interface also helps completionists track down that last bit of foliage that needs coloring or the final imprisoned citizen that needs freeing, which keeps players from wandering the busy citiscape aimlessly.
The game plays virtually the same across all consoles, and doesn’t force gesture controls on the primary player despite Wii and Move compatibility. I appreciate this point in particular considering the precision needed in later platforming levels. That being said, the occasional camera issue mars an otherwise enjoyable experience. The camera can adjust unexpectedly, and one time re-oriented de Blob off a cliff during a tougher platforming segment. The frustration is compounded by a somewhat sporadic checkpoint system, which at times restarted me back in a nearly whitewashed level. These hiccups are the exceptions rather than the rule, as the bulk of de Blob 2’s mechanics are well developed.
Multiplayer challenges and a co-op mode position de Blob 2 as an optimal shared experience for a parent and young child. The Super Mario Galaxy-esque cooperative play allows the second player to paint objects and foes as Blob’s sidekick Pinky. This helps less-skilled gamers contribute to the experience in a meaningful manner without being overwhelmed by the difficulty of later levels.
Because of its lighthearted nature and presentation, de Blob 2 may pass under the radar of “core” gamers, which would be a crime worthy of the INKT Corporation. Fun, innovative, and surprisingly deep, de Blob 2 is bright spot in a sea of gray games and iterative sequels.