Posted by: Tha Square | September 30, 2008

de Blob Review

de Blob has a whole lot of junk in his trunk. What he’s gonna do with all that junk inside his trunk, you ask? He’s gonna shake his groove thang up and down Chroma City and spread his colorful joy throughout the streets! Can you guess who needs to help him? Why, it’s you! So role up your selves and get a grip on your Wii Remote because you’ve got a lot of painting to get done!

de Blob is one of those simple pleasures in gaming. You can kick back, relax, munch on some Cheetos, and pretty much cruise through the game. Just be careful with those Cheetos; your Wii Remote will become orange faster than de Blob with a couple hundred paint points if you don’t watch out. The main goal of the game is to roll around and paint the town, freeing its inhabitants from their colorless prison in the wake of your snail-like trail. It might sound a bit dull in words, but rest assured it’s the way you accomplish these things that make it a great game. There are tasks to complete, hidden unlockables to find, and a totally unique musical score that changes with every color you become and mood you’re in. There is also a party mode for you and your friends, a “Free Paint” mode where you can paint without pressure, and more extras than the Blob can shake his remote at… or vice versa. On top of all that, de Blob’s plot is rather humorous and was obviously made to make people laugh.

The story takes place in the shadow of Chroma City, a once boisterous community now turned into a black and white pit of despair. The evil INKT Corporation has stolen the color from the world and enslaved the citizens, forcing them to complete mundane clerical work. It’s up to de Blob and the Color Underground to stamp out INKT and return flare back into the world.

The hilarity starts at the first sign of the INKT Corporation – a group of star shaped blobs with tall, overcompensating hats. They remind me of spoofed police officers from the Benny Hill show for some reason. I half expect the show’s theme song (Yakety Sax) to start playing whenever I see them running towards me. The cutscenes are great and the in-game animations, such as the freed civilians rolling on the ground in euphoria, crack a smile across my face each time I see them. The humor is just one of the gifts de Blob brings to the table.

Painting the entire city can become a bit repetitive if that was all the game offered. It’s a good thing there’s plenty to keep one occupied or this blob might have had to hang up his paintbrush. Each section of Chroma City has a variety of tasks you’ll need to complete. You’ll have to find all the “Styles” pickups, Clear out numerous INKT officers, paint a selection of buildings a specific color, and free citizens from the colorless chains of tyranny. If you like getting 100% like I do, you can spend well over an hour in one area trying to find everything.

The main jobs you’ll need to complete are given to you by your Color Underground friends. The Prof, “a criminal genius and mastermind of the Transform Engine”, will have you paint landmarks with specific paint schemes. If there’s a big radio tower that needs to be taken back from INKT, he’ll be the one to let you know. Arty, a “serial offender and fine arts vandal”, will have you paint highlighted buildings with specific colors. Most of the jobs in the city will come from her are are usually pretty easy to accomplish. Zip, “an extreme sports maniac guilty of unchecked enthusiasm”, will teach you some basic controls and show you secret paths to help you navigate the city. Bif, who “has a black belt in Paint-Fu”, will be the one to assign you the grunt work. They’re all a bit stereotypical but lovable all the same.

The variety of tasks to complete might be great and all, but they don’t come close to one of the best aspects of the game; the music. With every color you turn into, be it blue or brown, specific styles of music will come to life with every building painted. Each changes with the mood you’ve selected at the beginning of the stage so if you’ve chosen a “blissful” mood, the colors’ styles will all conform to its beat. There is an amazing amount of musical prowess here and it’s one of the most enduring aspects this game has to offer. Even if you’re not a big music fan, these tunes are sure to bring a  tap to your foot… or at least a toe.

There’s also the Free Paint and Party modes if you get tired of running through the story. In Free Paint, you’ll have all the time you want to paint portions of the city you’ve been to in the story mode. You don’t have to worry about time limits or points, just have a good time. In Party mode, there are three types of play you and your friends can enjoy. In “Paint Match”, you all must paint as much of the city as possible and whoever has the most points at the end wins. “Blob on the Run” is a three on one match where the lone blob is the only one who can paint. The rest all have to try to run into the solo player to steal the paint ability. In “Blob Race”, you all have to find the shortest path to a highlighted building and be the first to paint it. It’s all a lot of fun but it doesn’t come without a few hitches.

As much as i hate to admit it, the game isn’t perfect. There are a few problems I’d much rather not nitpick because de Blob is one of the most unique games on the Wii thus far. The gameplay does become tedious after playing for an hour or so because the maps are so big. Half the time I spent in each level was searching for hidden buildings and other structures. When each stage can take over 3 minutes just to roll from start to finish and shortcuts across large bodies of water are obstructed by invisible barriers, it can become laboring to find everything.

In addition to all that you can’t just to run through a stage, paint the minimal amount needed to continue the story, and come back to finish things up later. You can’t save your progress in each section, leave, and come back to it. I had 97% painted and a few trees to find in one stage; I figured I could leave and everything I painted would remain and I could come find the stragglers the next day. I went to the stage and it was a blank canvas. If they would have given the option to restart the completed levels or pick up where you left off, that would have been awesome. Another thing that’s messed up is jumping from one wall to another. You have to take into account what way de Blob is facing, the camera angle, and the way you have the analog stick tilted. Most of the time I try to wall jump I end up veering off at an angle I wasn’t expecting. You’ll also stick to every vertical surface if you run into it while in the air. If you’re bouncing up some steps and clip the edge of it, it’s likely you’ll stick to the side and have to attempt the jump a second time. However, all these combined take little away from the amount of fun I have being a big ol’ blob.

de Blob is more fun than a bowl full of Jello, and that’s saying something. The visuals are top notch, the music is frickin’ genius, and the gameplay goes unrivaled. The maps are huge, the humor is great, and it’s a blast to play. Even with the said problems, I’m positive you’ll fall in love with de Blob. Just don’t kiss him; paint is a bit poisonous.

Graphics – 95/100 – This is one of the best looking games for the Wii hands down. It’s super glossy and super stylized. Heck, you’re the one who controls how the cities get painted, that’s awesome!

Audio – 95/100 – There are 11 different moods and 7 different styles per mood. That’s… 77 different tracks that can be blended and mixed according to your preference!

Gameplay – 75/100 – A handful of tasks accompany the job of painting the city back to life. Multiplayer is great and the ability to freely play with no obstructions is nice. The maps are just so huge and barricaded from reentry. Hidden buildings can become a chore to find plus you can’t leave a section of a city as a “work in progress”.

Plot – 85/100 – The whole story is great and is pretty funny to watch all the cutscenes. I’m glad it was changed from the original’s non-story oriented style to what it is now.

Blob Factor – 85/100 If you’ve ever played the original game, you’ll love this. There are more tasks to complete, better controls, and an actual story to take in. Newcomers, too, will find more than enough fun here to become a fan.

Lasting Appeal – 75/100 – After all the missions are done and hidden items have been found, there’s still a lot to do. Plus, experimenting with all the music is a lot of fun. It’s just too bad the fun tends to wind down quickly after an hour or so or play.

Overall – 85/100 – de Blob is one of those special games that breaks the mold but gets overshadowed by popular mascots with household names. There’s a completely different style of play here that you’ll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. If you haven’t been blown away by this bouncy ball of justice, give it a shot and you might get hooked!

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