|System: Wii, PS3, X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Blue Tongue||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: THQ||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Q1 2011||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
The original de Blob, when it debuted in 2008, was one of the best games available for the Wii. It featured a great science-fiction inspired story involving an evil totalitarian society of ink-based creatures bent on robbing Chroma City of all its color and turning its citizens into lifeless graydians. The story had some serious themes at its heart, but once you saw the titular hero, de Blob, the fun really began. The first game allowed you to roll around as a huge ball of paint and lead the burgeoning "Color Revolution." The game's mechanics were simple, and it went on the shortlist of must-own Wii games not developed by Nintendo.
Almost two years later, de Blob is on his way to the all-new Prisma City for more fun. It has been quite a long time coming, but the announcement of the sequel earlier this year brought several surprises. Namely, that de Blob was expanding past the Nintendo consoles! However, though the world of de Blob is opening to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 crowds, don't expect him to change! We recently got some hands-on time with de Blob, and he is just as charming as ever!
The stage we played through was a new section of the city with an extensive underwater plumbing area. Our task was to flip switches and time our movements to get through the underground area without letting water touch de Blob (as that would get rid of the paint we needed for the end of the level.). The puzzle element here felt user-friendly, and though it took us a few tries to get it right, it didn't feel like it would be too much of a challenge for the franchise's many young fans.
After we completed the puzzle section of the level, we were able to launch into full-on painting mode. de Blob 2 uses the same painting system as the original, and once again, we were able to enjoy a stylized soundtrack as we painted up and down the city. However, the painting itself seemed to be upgraded slightly, as we noticed we were able to paint more surfaces at a time and were even able to paint the ground beneath us by simply rolling around.
We were also able to check out an area where we had to defeat some of the game's new enemies. The bad guys are using different tactics this time to get the citizens of Prisma City under their control, and we had to prevent some evil "shepherds" from hypnotizing citizens into becoming mindless "blanks." We were instructed to end this so-called "blank baptism" using both our ability to color raydians, who were in the conversion line, and some sweet stompin' moves to get rid of the shepherds. Although the introduction of a mind-numbing religion of sorts may sound a little heavy for the world of de Blob, it is presented in the same humorous and off-beat way that the authoritarian INK corporation was presented in the original, and we were promised the same level of "silliness" presented in the original would be present in the sequel.
The Wii version of the game also includes upgraded controls, which is a welcome change for those who played the first game. Though the controls in the original de Blob worked reasonably well, some aspects of the control (most notably, the motion aspects) made the game feel a bit cumbersome. However, the motion-controlled jump command has been completely done away with, and substituted with an A-button controlled jump, which works much better and feels more natural.
In addition to rolling around the level, we were also able to see footage of some of the game's other locales. It turns out the world of Prisma City is much bigger than Chroma City and has some exotic environments, including an ice station and a factory. Although our time with de Blob 2: The Underground was short, it was enjoyable. Though the game is retaining the themes and tone of the original game, the renewed focus on puzzle-platforming and action levels (in addition to just painting) will make this a more exciting title, and its expansion to all three home consoles will ensure that de Blob 2 finds a wider audience than its predecessor when it releases early next year.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff COntributor