A huge, free, open city; Many things to see and do; Killing enemies in a range of amusing ways; Many multi-player modes; A great soundtrack… Oh yeah, and you play as a possibly-media-dividing criminal facing a no-fun government. All this in one of 2008’s best games.
Sound familiar? Well the game you’re thinking of couldn’t be further form it. GTA IV may have been pretty spectular in it’s own way, but there was something missing: No colour, no pizzah, no fun. de Blob would be similar if it wasn’t for the fact that it fixes thoughs problems.
Playing as Blob, a fat sponge who loves nothing more than to paint stuff, your aim is to save the day from the anti-fun INKT Corporation. While it lacks the scale of Rockstar’s epic, it’s the fact that the game isn’t just a re-creation of real life with a crumbly law system, it’s actually nothing like GTA, so comparisons can stop here. This game isn’t here to wow us all with flashy graphics and cities, it’s here to put the green in the big, flashy neon lights that spell out “FUN!!” on our Review checkboard.
Basically, the game sees INKT sucking colour out of every city in the world. Blob isn’t there to witness the Vader-ise-ing of his hometown, and sets out on “Revenge”. Joining Anti-Inkie group, The Colour# Underground, they set off to launch a Colour Revolution.
So far, so colourful then. The game is controlled with the Nunchuck control stick, and then a flap of the Remote makes de Blob jump. While at first this is painful, after a while you’ll get use to it. The A button brings up a compass which shows you where nearby paint pots, missions and more are, but it’s a bit useless. We next to never used it, and the B Button’s function, braking, sis so utterly pointless that we haven’t used it once. (Well, once when we where playing it first time, but anyway) No wonder it’s changed in Multi-Player.
The cut-scenes are superb, and remind us of Smash Bros’ lovely movies that break up the game. The ending’s quite good, and much of them are rather funny. They look even better than the game, which is visually stunning, especially for a Wii game. It really handles the way that Nintendo consoles have with lots of colour, in such a way we couldn’t imagine it on another format.
But a word of warning to any Slog-A-Thoners: Don’t use de Blob as a game for playing from one end to the other, eh? We played it for one hour and three quarters straight and by the end of it the colours had destroyed our eyes and we where bleeding Marmite from our what where our see-holes.
But: Colour is a good thing. While some levels are frustrating, (One mission later on where you need to use every single colour to cover a different set of crates, different stacks needing a different cover in a small, cramped area, with no water to revert your colour back to the default “None” took us 6 attempts.) Thankfully, the game doesn’t actually force you to do any missions, giving you the freedom to paint as you wish at any point, anywhere.
However, an imposing time limit is annoying. Just as you think you’ve got something sussed, it runs out. While this isn’t so much or a problem in the “Main” quest, in a single mission that gives you, say, 45 seconds to do a “Landmark” challenge gets frustrating when you run out on the last second.
We know what you’re thinking? “Landmark challenge? What’s that?” Well basically, each type of challenge is split into a different category, set by a different member of The Colour Underground. The Professor gives you the Landmark ones, where you have to pump your arms like mad to put some many “Paint Points” into a building (Usually a bank or something boring) and turn it into something much cooler. (Usually a disco or cinema or something) The rest of the Colour Underground do just want their unimaginative names say on the tin. Arty gives you challenges to paint stuff a certain colour, which is occasionally frustrating, but often gives you lots of Colour Energy (Basically, gives you lots of bonuses on the score. Reaching a certain target opens doors, and activates Transform generators, and the like) and are pretty rewarding. Buff’s name is clearly an escapee of the ‘60’s Batman series, and it shows: His missions have you destroying enemies in order to succeed. Zip has you -Wait for it- Zipping around levels, like many a “Race” level in various over games. While there’s no Koopa The Quick-style racer, (Not even Zip himself. All of the members of TCU merely pop out of drains and things to give you the mission, then dive back under the manhole.) these are possibly the most fun of all. Completing every mission in a said level also gives you one of the 100 Challenges.
These 100 Challenges consist of getting a high enough Painted %, (They go up in landmarks of 25%) and painting 100% certainly is highly satirising. Another sees you painting all the billboards in a level, while one of them has you finding all of the Radians who poor out of buildings when you paint ‘em, although some hide underground and in similar positions. There’s the challenge ones we mentioned before, and then also ones for painting all the trees, activating all Transform Engines (Things that make the plants green, and everything else it’s proper colour). Blue Tounge also puts you in a position to change all Landmarks, and some other bits and bobs.
These are all added up in a special screen, and unlocking everything on each type gets you a new video of some sort, or Crash Bandicoot-style concept art. This adds potentially infinite replay value to the game, and are also great fun.
But there’s a clue in that phrase. “Potentially”. You may be the type who plays through the game, oblivious of the time limit that hangs over the whole level, and discovers everything there. Or you may be the type -Like us, and possibly most players- who comes across things, collects ‘em, but doesn’t really go out of their way to get the extras, then replays a couple of levels once or twice, before putting the game back in it’s box for a good while. Maybe, just maybe, though, you’ll love de Blob so much you’ll be playing it eternally, and will trump everything in time for the DS version, and the potential sequel.
Let’s just that THQ doesn’t bring de Blob down to being the lead character in a bunch of rubbish party games in the future.