De Blob 2 Review
Developer: Blue Tongue Entertainment / Publisher: THQ / ESRB: Everyone 10+ (Comic Mischief, Mild Cartoon Violence, Mild Language) / Played on: PlayStation 3 / Price: $49.99
The original De Blob for Nintendo Wii was a super-cute game that combined unique and colorful graphics with refreshingly original gameplay. Part platformer and part puzzle game, it was a strong debut that showed a lot of potential. While De Blob 2 rekindles the charming graphics and style of its forerunner–and brings the world to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360–the gameplay mechanics have taken a step backwards. There’s plenty of fun, but there’s also plenty of frustration. I reckon with additional development time, De Blob 2 could have been a really fun game. Instead, it’s a decent but doesn’t quite live up to its potential.
Picking up a few years after the original, you control the adorable bit of goo known as Blob. This time, the INKT Corporation is sucking the color, personality, and flavor out of Prisma City, while trying to rig a political election. Imaginative gamers will equate the game’s plot with the political situation in [insert country here]. Those that take events more literally will see it as an excuse for De Blob 2’s gameplay mechanics. Either way, gamers must restore color to Prisma City and bring down INKT.
De Blob 2 mixes 3D platforming, 2D platforming, and puzzle elements. The bulk of the game is set up like a 3D platformer, with 2D side-scrolling levels to add some variation. The essence of de Blob is solving environmental puzzles and defeating enemies by acquiring and dishing out different colors. It’s a very cool and very unique mechanic that adds a refreshing layer to the standard platforming tasks of running, jumping, and pounding on enemies.
The transition from Wiimote to gamepads required more platforming and less puzzle solving than the original. A cooperative move is similar to what Super Mario Galaxy offers a couple of players. The first player controls the primary action, while the second serves in a support role. I played as the secondary player…and was bored in minutes. That said, I could see it being fun in a passive way — you know, chatting with a friend that’s playing in a lead role while imbibing various intoxicating substances.
On paper, De Blob 2 is a unique platformer that offers a special kind of fun. At times, it does exactly that. At other times, the fun is killed by artificial difficulty.
The targeting in De Blob 2 can be really inaccurate, which can be painfully frustrating as the game advances. There are some stages where you have to match certain enemies with specific colors. You have the correct color at the ready and think you’re targeting the right enemy, but your perfectly planned assault will be nullified by a poor targeting system. Initially, the targeting can feel sloppy. As the game progresses, it’s sure to piss off most players.
Some of De Blob 2’s levels are timed. This adds to the challenge, but a lack of save points leads to needless frustration. If you’re having difficulty with a particular timed segment and die, chances are that you’ll have to repeat a large portion of it since you won’t have enough time. A more liberal use of save points would have made this a non-issue.
Graphics and Sound
My favorite aspects of de Blob 2 are its unique art style and wide variety of music. The art isn’t technically brilliant, but it oozes style. It just makes you feel happy to look at a game that’s so different. I got a vibe similar to Kirby’s Epic Yarn and Disney’s Epic Mickey. Sure, it might not be packing the most polygons and pushing my console to its limits, but the style is just fun and refreshing.
The game’s use of music is also very cool. As you help Blob restore color to the world, the music becomes louder and more cheerful. Certain colors are represented by different genres of music. There’s all sorts of cool stuff ranging from pop to calypso to reggae to funk and more. I love that De Blob 2 uses music as a gameplay mechanic. I also love that the soundtrack features a wide variety of quality compositions.
PlayStation 3 Extras
The PS3 version of De Blob 2 offers optional PlayStation Move and stereoscopic 3D functionality. However, the PlayStation Move support is cursory and doesn’t add much to the game; there’s little use of the motion aspect of Move, which makes the feature seem slapped on just so the box can tout support for the peripheral. Considering that so little motion is used, I recommend playing the game with a DualShock 3 controller. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to test out the game in stereoscopic 3D because…well, to be completely honest, I’m too poor to pick up a 3D television (donations gladly accepted).
I wanted to love De Blob 2. I’m a huge fan of the game’s art and setting. Sadly, its targeting and save point distribution make it tough to recommend for all gamers. If you’re a highly skilled player that loves a challenge then you might be able to look past the game’s artificial difficulty. If you play like most mere mortals then the moments of joy you experience will be negated by moments of frustration. With a few more months in the oven, this game could have turned out great. Instead, it’s just conditionally good. It’s such a shame because the highs are really good. It’s just that the lows will probably cause most gamers to break things.
6.5 / 10