It is no secret that the Wii has a large amount of third-party games of questionable quality in its extensive catalog. Generally, when I’ve seen a Wii game that was not developed by Nintendo, my first reaction has been to steer clear. However, it would be wise to give de Blob a second look, as this game is one of the most unique Wii titles I have seen in a very long time, and if the little blob on the front of the box doesn’t win you over, then the gameplay will! You may wonder how a game that features a little ball of paint as the protagonist could possibly be fun or interesting, but read on my friends, because there is definitely a lot to love about this title.
The game starts off by detailing how the evil INKT corporation has taken over the usually fun-loving Chroma City in the land of Raydia. Through its subsequent invasion and occupation it has turned this once-beautiful land into a featureless place where the people have become as gray as the landscape. The iron fist of INKT makes sure no color is ever seen within the city limits, and makes sure the Raydians stay plugged into their gray propaganda 24/7. Luckily, a “color resistance” has been brewing. de Blob is a creature that joins this small network of refugee citizens and has an uncanny paint power that allows him to instantly color any surface he touches. de Blob can also defend the town from further gray intrusion and instantly bring the color back to Raydian citizens who have been so affected by the INKT corporation that they have turned to Graydians.
As de Blob, you will be able to absorb colors from paintbots who roam around sucking the color out of the city. These paintbots only carry red, blue, and yellow, but you will be able to mix the different colors to get brown, purple, orange, and green. Depending on the amount of color you have filled yourself up with, you will have a certain amount of paint points. As you jump around the city painting various buildings, you will spend these paint points, so frequent paint refills will be necessary. Paint points can also be used to fight back against the evil INKT henchmen. Many times, INKT policemen and soldiers will try to stop you, and the best way to defeat them is to jump on them and smother them in paint. Depending on the type of INKT enemy, it will take as much as ten paint points to snuff out their evil inkiness.
Levels in de Blob are composed of different districts within Chroma City. You can go to the music-turned-financial district, the high-rise uptown area, as well as the disheartened downtown. All these areas have their own look and feel, complete with unique structures and landmarks. The different districts are very big, and while you may be able to get a 50% or 60% completion the first time through, there are plenty of different spaces to explore. This definitely increases the replay value, and there is plenty to do in all ten of the game’s different levels.
Although most of the gameplay will be spent running around the city and painting various buildings, there will be certain timed challenges you will have to complete to move on. There are four different types of challenges: paint, race, combat, and landmark. The paint challenges are the most frequent and vary quite a bit in aim and difficulty. These challenges can be as simple as changing one city block to a certain color, or as difficult as changing all the buildings in a certain area to different colors. The race challenges are a little more forgiving and only consist of following different flares to discover new or hidden areas. The combat challenges are very basic and consist of getting rid of a certain amount of INKT bad guys. The final challenge type is the landmark challenge. Certain INKT landmarks within Chroma City have been constructed to resist color, and the only way to restore color to these landmarks is to find weak spots and deliver a super-concentrated blast of paint points to these spots.
In addition to the rather lengthy single-player mode, there are also several multiplayer modes that you can unlock. The most basic multiplayer mode is Paint Match. This mode basically pits you against up to three friends to see who can cover more of the stage in their chosen color. This mode can get very competitive as you can paint over your rivals’ buildings, and vice versa, and the four player matches can get kind of crazy.
The next multiplayer mode is Blob on the Run. This mode is a little more complicated and is similar to a “marked man” style match. One blob will have the ability to paint, and the other blobs must attack him in order to gain the ability to paint themselves. This mode really isn’t all that fun, chiefly because there is no map, so it is hard to tell where the other blobs are, and coming across the chosen blob feels more like chance rather than skill. The final multiplayer mode is Blob Race, which has the same overall format as the race challenge from the single-player mode. The multiplayer modes are quite enjoyable overall, and playing de Blob with friends is surprisingly satisfying. The only drawback here is that multiplayer play is limited to local friends, as there is no online functionality.
Control in this title works very well using the Wii-mote and Nunchuk combination. You’ll move around using the thumbstick on the Nunchuk and will be able to jump around by flicking the Wii-mote. The only real problem with the control is that the jumping mechanism is not very precise. When you are navigating a small rooftop fraught with traps this can become a serious problem. Luckily, there is a targeting mechanism in place that can allow you to direct your jumps manually. While this will solve a good percentage of your jumping issues, situations will arise when there is nothing to target, which forces you to rely on the aforementioned imprecise jumping system to accomplish your goals. Other than that, however, the controls are very simple to learn and easy to use.
Visually, de Blob has to be one of the best titles yet for the Wii. The pre-rendered cinema scenes look very smooth and polished and really showcase some of the Wii’s hidden graphical potential. The in-game graphics are also very good and feature some pretty huge environments with plenty of detail and things to explore. The only graphical issue I ran into was some shuttering in some of the outer edges of a few of the levels. This was infrequent at best, but when the shuttering did occur it was severe enough to impact the gameplay. But despite the few issues, de Blob on the whole has a very nice style to it and the vibrant colors accentuate the energetic gameplay.
Sound in de Blob is also very good. At the beginning of each level, you are able to pick de Blob’s mood, which will set the music style for the entire level. You will have some eclectic choices for these moods, including revolutionary, energetic, and smooth. As you paint the different areas, the musical tempo will increase. This is a great mechanism that helps connect you to the world of the game, and it doesn’t hurt that most of the music is pretty groovy as well. Another boon for de Blob in the sound department is the language that the different creatures in this world speak. Not since the invasion of Simlish has a language sounded so cute, and Blob-Speak (yes, I made that up) is a total blast to listen to because it sounds like someone speaking Pig Latin underwater. You can sometimes make out key words, but then it just descends into a incoherent collection of vowel noises that somehow manages to still sound cute.
de Blob is a game that has actually had a long journey in coming to the Wii. The whole concept was showcased more than two years ago at an independent game festival. The folks at THQ realized the concept’s potential, and the resulting game is a fun and free-wheeling experience that is simple enough to appeal to the casual sect but has enough depth to capture the hearts of the hardcore crowd. This title may not have the most varied or difficult gameplay, but it is incredibly fun to play, and the different modes and goals give it some decent replay value. de Blob is an awesome title, and while it may not be the most action-packed or drama-filled title on the market, it provides countless hours of colorful fun. So, are you ready to join the color revolution?
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.3 Graphics
Cinema scenes are among the smoothest and most polished on the Wii., and in-game graphics are colorful and vibrant. However, infrequent shuttering during some of the bigger levels hinders this title from being truly great visually. 4.0 Control
Rolling around and splashing paint over everything works very well, but jump mechanics are too imprecise. 4.7 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The different music “moods” throughout the game are delightful to listen to. Blob-speak is also quite fun to listen to. 4.2
The levels are huge, and there is plenty to explore. Although the different challenges are somewhat repetitive, the gameplay does evolve as you progress to more difficult levels, and additional level medals add some moderate replay value.
4.3 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.