Game Rant’s Ryan Blanchard reviews de Blob 2
Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen the releases of quite a few major titles. Whether you’re a fan of first-person shooters like Killzone 3 and Bulletstorm or fighting games like Marvel vs. Capcom 3, gamers have had a lot to keep themselves busy with. It’s not surprising then, for the smaller game releases to fall through the cracks and pass by most gamers’ radars.
One such game that approached release with very little hype and almost no mainstream media coverage is de Blob 2. While the first game in the series debuted on the Wii back in 2008, receiving praise for its unique style, de Blob 2 is here and has made its way onto the Xbox 360 and PS3. Since the first game focussed so much on its distinct style, will the increased power of the Xbox 360 and PS3 allow the series to evolve, or should it have stayed exclusive to Nintendo?
The story of de Blob 2 is a simple one. Following the events of the first game, with Comrade Black having been defeated, our hero Blob begins noticing that the color of the world is slowly being removed again. While there is no sign of Comrade Black, ink is showing up and everything is quickly becoming colorless. Peculiarly enough, this is all occurring as Prisma City is holding an election with a mysterious man named Papa Blanc running for office. Unsurprisingly, this is Blob's nemesis Comrade Black in his new scheme to remove all color from the world. This means that Blob must take to the streets of Prisma City painting color back into the world around him in order to save the brainwashed citizens and overthrow Papa Blanc.
While the game's plot is far from memorable, it still provides at least some motivation to keep going through each of the stages. I still can't help but feel that they wasted a potentially entertaining plot though, as the idea of a corrupt politician brainwashing the citizens of a colorful city in order to fulfill his sinister agenda of removing all color could really have been fleshed out into something quite interesting.
Looking at the game's graphics, you probably won't be amazed at first. While it's by no means a bad looking game, there are so many games out there that blow it away. What you will notice however, is the game's unique style. Levels will start blank with everything either white or black. As you absorb paint and explore the city though, you will start to return color to your surroundings. By touching a building, tree or signpost, your absorbed color will then be passed onto the object, bringing it to life and returning the city to its former glory. It may not seem like much at first, but as you make your way through each level, your surroundings really do come to life and, while the graphical fidelity may not be top-notch, it really does feel rewarding to look back at a section of the city that had once been completely white and instead see it bustling with life and your own personal color scheme. This is easily one of the most colorful games I've ever laid my eyes on.
Even though I did enjoy the vibrancy of the city as you slowly bring it back to life, it all begins to wear on you as you notice that the locations share many of their elements between each other, making the later levels seem far too similar to those earlier in the game. Couple this with some bland textures and you're faced with a very mixed graphical presentation. It may impress in the early portions of the game, but de Blob 2 really could have benefitted from less repetition among the elements that make up Prisma City and, given the power of the Xbox 360 and PS3, I expected more out of the visuals and variety.
Sadly, the gameplay also suffers from the same main problem as the graphics. While you will start the game having fun as you bring color back to Prisma City, it won't take long before you start feeling as if you had just completed the current task. There just isn't enough variety in the gameplay. That's not to say that what's there isn't fun, because it really is a lot of fun in the beginning, but soon enough, things begin to blend together, becoming all too familiar.
In terms of what is there though, you take control of Blob and are tasked with absorbing paint throughout the city in order to bring color back to your surroundings whether by rolling over the ground, jumping and wall running on buildings, or by running into objects and Prisma City citizens scattered about the ground. While this all seems very simple, and it is, there are also some power-ups that can be used in order to gain infinite charge attacks or to activate a rainbow of colors. As I stated earlier though, while this is fun for the first few levels, the act of doing the same objectives over and over, having to paint certain buildings certain colors gets boring after awhile. Side-scrolling segments have also been added in an attempt to add more variety to the gameplay, but like everything else, they too become repetitive after a few levels.
One thing that really impressed me though, was the sound design. As you're making your way through each level, returning color to Prisma City, you'll quickly notice that your actions are reflected in the game's music itself. Depending on what colour you are using to paint things with, different elements will be added to the soundtrack. As you roll around painting houses brown, the scratches of a turntable make their way into the music while the color orange brings out a calming horn section. This is where much of my joy came from. While the game became rather repetitive, I would find myself rolling around and experimenting with the different colors in order to see how they affected the overall sound of the game. This is something that I'd really like to see from more games. While it's common for your actions in game to affect the world around you, it's not very often that your actions are translated to into the soundscape of the game.
The gameplay, graphics and most certainly the variety may be lacking in de Blob 2, but that's not to say that it's not an enjoyable game. I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. The problem with it is that it just doesn't have enough content to warrant its price tag. I had a lot of fun exploring and coloring the city and absolutely loved the way the player's actions are translated into the game's soundscape, but the fun only lasted for so long. Soon enough, I started getting bored of doing the same objectives over and over. If you're looking for a family friendly game with a style all its own, you should definitely take a look at de Blob 2 through rental, but you should not go in expecting an experience that will last you for weeks down the road.
de Blob 2 is available now on Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, and Nintendo DS.