Famed cubist artist Pablo Picasso once said: “The world does not make sense, so why should I paint pictures that do?” He had a point. These days it seems that everything needs to be more and more realistic, and video games are no exception. Modern games push the boundaries of realism, and this may not always be a good thing. Consider that it may be our obsession with realism that has led to the rise of ‘reality television’, the horrors of which I need not delve into. Cast your mind back to a time before ultra realism, where game-play and having fun were the order of the day. Let’s see if De Blob 2 can take us back to those days where fun was paramount, after the jump.
The first De Blob game was only available on the Nintendo Wi, and having used my hard earned cash for a PS3 console, I never played it. In fact I had no idea what to expect upon receiving the sequel. De Blob 2 is developed by Blue Tongue. Interestingly the hand-held version is by a company called Halfbrick (the same people who made the wonderful Fruit Ninja for mobile devices). In South Africa, a half-brick is most commonly used to break car windows, just saying. This time around the game is available for all major consoles. I played on my PS3 sans PSN; thanks, Sony.
In De Blob 2, the INKT Corporation, led by the sinister “Comrade Black”, has leeched all the colour from the world. Heavens, no! Comrade Black is like Henry Ford (‘Any colour, so long as it’s black’), and in complete contrast, De Blob is the Henri Matisse of the world. While it’s not completely obvious what species De Blob belongs to, the best way to describe the title character is as a giant sponge with no pants, not even square ones. But don’t worry, it’s still a great game for kids. In a nutshell, De Blob collects colour, like a sponge. The objective: to spread colour throughout the world and avoid Comrade Black’s minions.
The opening movie not only presents the humorous mumbling voices of the world’s denizens, but also the game’s crisp, colourful graphics. Even the gray and drab parts of the world are vibrant. Humour, colour, art, and even music all play big parts in De Blob 2 and it makes for an enjoyable experience.
Form & Function
Let’s get one thing straight, this isn’t a complicated game and it won’t tax your mental attributes overly much, unless you share a special bond with Tom Hanks’ character in that one movie. But it’s such uncomplicated fun that you can put your feet up and relax into it. There is an open-world feel to De Blob 2, but there is also a fair bit of 2D platforming, just to spice things up. Completing tasks adds time to your clock—try not to run out of time, ok? While the controls are fairly simple, the remnants of Wii-specific functionality are still there: I’m sure using the Wii controls would make it more intuitive, and there’s support for the Playstation Move as well.
The majority of the game’s tasks involve painting buildings, objects, and denizens in varying shades of colour. You’ll love the 2D gameplay changes that occur when you enter a building; the extra dimension to the game experience is entirely enjoyable. Tasks become more complicated when you are required to mix colours and paint the correct buildings in the right order. All this while taking the cleansing properties of water into account and avoiding toxic ink. Getting tainted by toxic ink can lead to death if you don’t find cleansing water quickly. However, given the game’s lenient reincarnation policy, you won’t lose much sleep over it.
De Blob can also perform a destructive dash attack and there are game-changing power-ups to be found, essential for solving the more complicated later levels. There is also a small element of upgrading; for example, you can increase De Blob’s paint capacity and shields. Later levels really amp up the tempo, and are difficult enough to warrant sitting up and concentrating.
De Blob 2 also features local co-op play (no online, people. Sorry!). A second player can drop in at any point and help complete tasks as Pinky, De Blob’s sidekick. While I don’t yet have any ankle biters of my own, I can imagine this feature would prove useful. There’s also the splitscreen Blob-party mode, which requires that Pinky and De Blob work together to solve tasks and gain time. Unfortunately my willing aide was unusually unwilling to listen to my clear instructions, and that’s how the fight started.
Atmosphere & Visual Style
I love the atmosphere created in this game: the graphics are comical and colourful, even the colour-less areas are pretty. The characters are fun and funny. While you can’t understand their mumbling speech, you can understand the jokes and humour, of which there is a great deal.
Music is well integrated into the game and adds immensely to the overall experience. When there’s no colour the music is muted and pretty toneless. As you add colour to the world, the music changes, gaining tempo, volume, and additional instruments. Each colour is associated with a sound or instrument, so for example red might be drums and yellow could be the saxophone. A splash of red and a dapple of yellow and hey presto you’re making music and art at the same time!
There are also several collectibles, including flair for your paintwork. This reminded me of LittleBigPlanet, but unfortunately, in De Blob 2, it’s a rather a tame version of the type of extensive personalizing possible in that game.
De Blob 2 is a fun game. It’s colourful, and it sometimes makes you laugh. It’s easy to pick up and play, though occasionally you might forget there is a storyline to follow and you might get a bit lost. That’s OK though, sometimes we all need to chill out and get in touch with our creative side. That’s what I really enjoyed about De Blob 2: it doesn’t really need to make that much sense, and reality can take a running hike off a mountaintop. De Blob 2 is an enjoyable romp, a splash of colour on an otherwise drab day, a joke shared, and a really fun game. It’s a no-brainer if you’re buying for kids, but you will probably find that you’ll enjoy it, too. You might not play it all the time, but that’s OK; take the chilled-out route and enjoy the experience. I really enjoyed De Blob 2: what more can you ask of a game than that?