By Kristie Barber
De Blob is a game published by THQ and developed by Blue Tongue, released for the Nintendo Wii in 2008. In this colorful game, you play as the main character, Blob. You are aiding a group of color radicals who are rebelling against the evil INKT Corporation to save Chroma City. The INKT Corporation are draining all of the color from Chroma City and turning it’s residents, the Raydians, into colorless drones called Graydians. Your job is to take back key areas by restoring color to landmarks, painting the buildings, and setting the poor Graydians free. This story, while simple, proves to have some comical twists. The player watches short cut scenes before each level that are down right hilarious. The characters speak in a strange language that provide a humor reminiscent of the Rabbids from the recent Raving Rabbids games from Ubisoft.
In addition to this comical plot, the graphics are clear and crisp, not to mention appropriately fun and whimsical. The transformation from the bland white towns to the colorful city that the player creates is simply brilliant. It’s clear that the developers really went for it in the color department.
The game consists of 10 city levels all of which have time limits. At the beginning of the level, the town is in white and gray hues and Blob is just a clear ball of water. There’s no color in sight, but the player can lock on to a paint bot and smash it to gain the color that they’ll paint the town with. As the player finds more paint bots, they can gain more paint points and therefore paint more buildings. They can also mix colors to make a total of 7 colors. The player paints building, tree, billboards, and more just by touching them, and painting an entire block frees the Graydians inside. You can gain more points and more time by playing challenges offered around town by the Revolutionaries. Once you’ve gained enough points to open the next gate, you can move to the next area or stick around to paint everything. Once you’ve cleared all of the areas and have enough points for the final gate, you can enter the exit pool and finish the level.
The game itself is quite addicting. Players can choose their level of depth, either painting everything in the town or just the minimum required to reach the final gate. This decisions results in levels that can last any where from a relatively casual 20 minutes to nearly two hours of advanced play. But it’s not only time that’s affected. The longer the player plays a level, the more difficult the challenges are.
Players are offered in-level challenges relating to one of four categories: racing, fighting, painting, or freeing landmarks. Completing these challenges earns points and gains time bonuses. The player can also unlock various game elements and extras, including multiplayer levels, by earning achievements in different categories for painting everything in a group of items. For example, if the player paints all of the trees, buildings, or billboards in a level, they will gain an achievement for it. There are also two mini-game challenges after each level that focus on a specific element of game play. These mini-games help players to improve their skills in these areas and get better at the game. Overall, these challenges add an extra level of difficulty to the game that it would otherwise lack.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of this game is the music. At the beginning of each level you choose Blob’s mood. This corresponds to a song that will play throughout the level, covering several upbeat genres such as jazz and funk music. As the level starts, there is virtually no music. At most, there is some light drumming. When you paint an object, the main instrument, which corresponds to the color ink you are painting with, will play a note. As the town regains its color, the music becomes more and more complex by adding extra instruments. By the end of the level, there is a full band and the player is creating an improved melody line over the top. This is different each time based on the color and rhythm with which the player is painting objects. This intricate and dynamic music system really enhances the game play and engages the player.
As with most Wii games on the market, De Blob seems to adhere to the “waggle stick” mentality. Players control Blob’s direction with the nunchuck joystick, but in order to jump or attack (and practically everything else) the player must flick the Wii remote downwards. If you’re not going to play the levels to 100% completeness, or if you’re not as excitable as I am, then this probably won’t be a problem. But otherwise expect to have to take time off for a recovery period. While the flicking is exciting for the first 30 minutes or so, it would have served game play better to have a classic control scheme option available.
One thing that the developers got right was the radar. By holding down the A button, the player can find the unpainted objects in town. It’s absolutely necessary when trying to achieve 100% on a level, especially near the end of the game.
If you’re used to the Nintendo “must get everything” mantra, this game may disappoint you. While you do unlock all of the special features and extra modes by gathering the achievements, completing the game in it’s entirety does not offer any special reward. But at least you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you collected all of the achievement awards in the game…
As far as replay value goes, De Blob is pretty lacking. It offers a “Free Paint” mode and “Blob Party” mode. “Free Paint” is basically just all the levels without time limits, so you can paint to your heart’s content. “Blob Party” mode is the multi-player mode, offering three different types of games for up to 4 players. Each is set in one of three levels and relates to each player trying to score the most points by painting the most buildings with their specific color. These games are all fun, but tend to get old fast.
I would say that De Blob is a good game to rent first, then buy it if you get hooked. After beating the game in 3 days, I have already played it with 2 others in just 4 months! It offers 10-20 hours of game play, depending on how thorough you choose to play the game. But since the levels are open and the music is unique to each experience, it is a game that can be revisited if you enjoyed it the first time through.