'de Blob 2' Review - In Living Color

de Blob 2

The name "de Blob" may not carry as much weight as other revolutionaries like Che Guevera, Mohandas Gandhi, and George Washington, but that doesn't mean that he doesn't mean the world to the citizens of Chroma City. In 2009, de Blob single-handedly freed countless Graydians from the oppressive control of Comrade Black and the INKT Corporation in his original, Wii-exclusive game. Now THQ has brought him back (on multiple plaforms) to help save the citizens of Prisma City from a similar monochromatic fate in "de Blob 2."


Picking up right where the original game left off, "de Blob 2" puts the player in control of the viscous titular character and is tasked with bringing color back to Prisma City. Comrade Black has again succeeded in stripping yet another city of its pigment, and de Blob is the Graydians' only hope of rising up, and taking down their oppressive leader. Due to his unique blobness, de Blob can absorb different colors of paint and spread it around to just about every object in the city, returning the once bustling metropolis to its Technicolor glory.

In addition to the single player campaign, "de Blob 2" includes competative two-player multiplayer reminiscent of the first release, and, unlike the original, co-op support throughout the story. de Blob is joined by an optional robot friend, Pinky, creating a 1.5-player co-op experience, ala "Super Mario Galaxy," to help de Blob paint the town red (or blue, or green, or brown).


It Keeps Getting Bigger And Bigger

While the fundamental gameplay of this sequel remains the same, the developers at Blue Tongue have gone bigger and better with just about every aspect of the game. From the world that de Blob has to paint, to the power-ups that he can find to help him get the job done, there's tons of new stuff in this title to make it feel like a fresh, new experience for anyone that played the first game. There's even regularly-occurring 2D sections of the game that help mix up the monotony of rolling around in a 3D world that the first game suffered from.

Once Exclusive, Now Multi-platform

Playing a game that's all about restoring color to a vibrant world really makes a difference when it's in HD. Not to knock the first game, because it looked good making use of the limited graphical power of the Wii, but the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of "de Blob 2" kick the visuals up a notch, complimenting the overall experience. In addition to that, anyone out there that's an early adopter of 3D technology can take advantage of his or her investment by playing "de Blob" in 3D.

Less Jiggle - I Mean Waggle

"de Blob" was a good game, just shy of great, but it's still a solid addition to anyone's Wii library, unfortunately, it suffers from the same problem that most Wii games do; unnecessary motion controls. And "de Blob 2" proves just how unnecessary those controls were. The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game offer traditional analog stick controls for de Blob, which, essentially, recreates the exact same experience as its predecessor, just without the waggle.


Roll Over Here, Roll Over There, Roll Over Here Again...

It's obvious that Blue Tongue made a conscious attempt to build on the experience of "de Blob" by adding in a variety of new gameplay elements. Unfortunately, hours into "de Blob 2" it becomes apparent that this series suffers from Katamari Syndrome. Aside from offering very similar gameplay to "Katamari Damacy," both "de Blob" games are constructed around one fundamental gameplay element, painting, and they don't do enough to vary the experience. New enemies, collectibles, even a new dimension help, but it's still hard to overlook the fact that it gets repetitive really quickly.

I Can't See Around This Blob

Controlling a camera in a third person, isometric view video game should be pretty cut-and-dry by this point for most developers. Unfortunately, Blue Tongue appeared to struggle a bit with it for "de Blob 2." The camera isn't broken by any means, but it takes an inordinate amount of time to get used to maneuvering. Even then, hours into the game, at the point when the camera should be second nature, it occasionally becomes an issue, even when navigating through unobstructed sections of the open world.

This Song? Again?

"de Blob 2" has dynamically adapting music in the game, which means that the music responds to how well the player is doing. If you paint a whole city block, the volume and intensity of the music picks up, and if you're in an area that's been completely bleached, it's virtually silent. It's a great element of the game that allows the player to gauge how well they're doing both visually and aurally. Unfortunately, the music that picks up when you're playing well sounds like a jazzy Muzak band, making it almost worth playing with sound off completely.


Fundamentally, "de Blob 2" is a sound game, most likely enjoyed by the younger sect, that builds on many of the things introduced in the original title. After all, there is something inherently satisfying about the gameplay in both "de Blob" games: painting every piece of an entire world taps into that same part of the brain that cleaning up in the "Katamari" games targets as well. Unfortunately, this game's one trick pony can get old after a while, but if you can absorb "de Blob" in small doses, you won't be let down as you try and squash Comrade Black for a second time.