de Blob is a fantastic 3D platforming game with the unique mechanic of being able to paint a town bereft of color with the absorbent bulk of your squishy body! Originally released in 2004 for the Nintendo Wii console, THQ Nordic has seen fit to grace us with an HD re-release for Steam, XBox One, and PS4 (reviewed).
With a fun narrative, great physics-based 3D platforming action, and a clever color mechanic, both kids and adults will have a blast picking up this masterpiece!
The story is simple–tiny ink-creatures have stolen the color from the city and its citizens, and it's up to the color-revolution team to paint the world back to vibrancy. Players take control of Blob, who can suck up paint and splatter it wherever he wants. Smash inkies, paint walls, and rejoice in the hues of freedom!
With no big frights, bouts of gore, or controversial plot twists, families can enjoy de Blob whether the kids are in the room or not.
The gameplay is relatively simple in de Blob; you control Blob in a third-person setup, moving the camera with the left stick, and the character with the right. You have a jump button, and L2 locks you on to enemies or objects that you can slam into to affect. Controlling Blob is a challenge, but by design; he clings to things, which allows him to roll along buildings and color along the way. He's also affected by gravity, so he can't really roll up, meaning he'll gradually slide downward. You can lock him in place, but finding ramps or wall-jumping is a necessary skill to learn. There are also locked-on jumps that work at pre-determined points, and can get Blob to hard-to-reach places. Everything works well, but the camera rotation is a little slow in the default setting, and can be adjusted in the options screen. Even then, however, hitting R3 to situate the camera directly behind Blob is still too slow. While it should be instant, it's not necessary most of the time, and was at worst a mild irritant.
The primary goal of the game is to color all of the grey, dull buildings of Chroma City with Red, Blue, Yellow, Green, Purple, Orange, or Brown paint. Blob is naturally color-less, but the roaming color-bots that have sucked the pigment out of the world can be slammed in order to steal their already stolen hues. Once you've stored some color, any building or object you touch gets painted that color. Since color-bots only collect colors in Red, Blue, and Yellow, you can collect colors in certain orders to mix secondary or tertiary hues (ie, Green, Purple, Orange, and Brown). This means that, if you're trying to paint a row of buildings red for a challenge, then you'd better not hit that blue color-bot, because you'll end up painting everything purple. Water spots on the maps will cleanse you back to color-less (at the expense of some of your stored paint), and ink spills will turn you black, requiring you get to water in a certain amount of time. If you don't make it before your ink timer runs out, it's to the restart screen for you!
Color-bots replenish after a few moments, but all challenges and maps in de Blob are timed, meaning you don't want to futz around mixing the wrong colors. You also expend paint each time you color something, so sometimes you'll just want to grab every color you see in order to build up your supply, and then get two of the desired colors in a row to turn your whole supply that shade; if you're brown, any color you nab will immediately make your whole supply all that color, (since brown is already a mix of all three primary hues).
Holding TRIANGLE brings up a circular radar around Blob, which directs you to where you can find paint colors, challenges, and unpainted buildings. You can free creatures from their buildings by pigment-ing their entire block, after which they run out en masse. When they're freed, you can touch all of them to give them back their color, which gives you a time bonus. Completing missions also gives you time bonuses, as well as building up your score, or "Color Power." When your color power is high enough, the gate button will open that allows you to leave a stage. You can also unlock a color machine that, when hit, returns all the creatures and none-buildings in the area to their colorful selves.
Some levels are multi-part and very large, and often coloring the entire stage is needed to gold-medal the level. You can be awarded a gold, silver, or bronze level for each stage, and the higher medals unlock additional stages in that area of the city. Completing a location with any medal will allow you to move to the next city area, and ultimately complete the story, but there's a lot of content in the all of the bonus stages that are worth striving for.
There are also several multiplayer modes, including up to four player split screen. The pumping soundtrack, bold colors, and funky patterns mean it's a good time, whether you're solo or rocking a group.
graphics and sound
The graphical style of the round characters, smooth curved buildings, and bold bright colors makes this remaster pop like brand new. Without complicated details, de Blob looks like doesn't even feel like a re-release, and the funky soundtrack has depth and good vibrations.
The only downsides are the cutscenes, which end up fuzzy due to the fact that they're pre-rendered and merely upscaled, not completely redone. This is minor, however, as most of the story is done via the beautiful in-game engine, and the sound effects are crisp.
Just as it was during it's initial release, de Blob features charming cartoon-esque city-scapes and cute Rabbids-ish characters (minus the unnerving Rabbid faces), in addition to family-friendly gameplay and challenges that are sure to be right for young kids and veteran arcaders alike. The Jet Set Radio wall-clinging gameplay and funky design is wrapped around a 1984 non-conformist rebellion tale, and offers a lot more than most kid-friendly action titles. Combine all of these features, throw in fun multiplayer, and you've got a title that deserves the remaster (and maybe even a part 3?)
|+ Great arcade fun with challenges for all levels||– Cutscenes are upscaled, leading to some blurring|
|+ Nice art direction and gameplay design||– Some clunky moments due to a sluggish camera|
|+ Plenty of levels and content for the price|
|+ A family-friendly approach to fighting the power!|