When the Nintendo Wii came out, I was as excited as a schoolboy on his first date, itching to get my hands on the pearly white rectangle and see what it can do to innovate the video gaming market. Now, almost two years since it’s release, the Wii has been fun, but somewhat stagnant in terms of its gameplay options. Few third party games have been made that truly revolutionize how we play games. In fact, most of them are downright appalling.
Enter De Blob, a literal art project by Dutch students, which has finally found a home as a home console release thanks to developer Blue Tongue and producer THQ. While it’s slick and colorful wrapper has “kids game” all over it, don’t be fooled by the cover. Inside, the game is a multi-layered platformer game with quirky appeal and great design that make me clamor for more Wii titles like this.
You star as the roly-poly blob that joins an underground resistance movement after your home, Chroma town, is taken over by the totalitarian-esque INKT Corporation. Your objective, paint the town in rainbow colors and eventually drive the INKT out of your town. The entire plot is simple yet complex, and is brought alive thanks to the vibrancy of the silly supporting cast that surrounds De Blob and his resistance members, ranging from great CG cutscenes to cool comic-book like panels before each level.
The games entire core gameplay is downright ingenious. At first it starts simple, rolling around with the three primary colors, then mixing them together to form new colors for specific buildings. You can also collect patterns in each world, adding a little flair to the paintjobs you do in the gray landscape around you. Yes, like most platformers there are numerous collectables, but this time they serve a purpose in a way as achievements for the game.
The controls are slightly sticky, but well executed. Blob can roll, jump, lock on and stick to walls and enemies, but a few aspects should have been polished on. For example, the lock on is really not too useful unless you’re targeting something specific on another platform, which will give you more accuracy when jumping between the gaps. Other than that, it seems like a throwback design choice to compete with other platformers from times past, plus it only works when you have one item to lock on to, otherwise it will cycle through numerous targets and may cause you to miss a jump if your not careful. The jumping mechanics are hard to master as well. It is difficult to get the exact motions correctly with the Wiimote, but once it is learned, this skill becomes invaluable as you navigate the ten varied levels in the game.
Also scattered besides the main story are numerous timed challenges that can be completed when you feel like it, a free paint mode, meaning you can play the level you were on at your leisure, or even a old school multiplayer mode where you paint the level with a friend. These bits are welcome additions and add something to the game in terms of depth and replayability.
Graphically the game is vibrant, colorful, and always in motion. It has this kinetic energy when you slather buildings with cool blue or passionate purple depending on what you want to mix it with. There are some little hiccups, especially when the INKT enemies finally come into play in full force, causing some framerate dips and minor slowdown, but nothing too detrimental. The game shows the limitations of the Wii, but also the innovations that can be done with it graphically. Sound wise, the game features a smooth jazz track, which constantly changes as each time you paint a building a certain color the music changes to the noise made. The only difference is its all jazz. While it fits the style of the game, it is kind of under whelming when compared to the other technical feats around the game.
De Blob is an easy game to look over for most gamers out there, but it’s charm and appeal to both the casual and hardcore crowds is apparent in the design. Kids will love it, gamers will be challenged by it, and the Wii finally gets a third party game that they can fully embrace into their fold in a positive way, like Zack and Wiki and No More Heroes. De Blob is a strange game that may put off some people, but it’s charm and deep gameplay easily shoot it up as one of the best Wii games out for the system today, and that is enough to make Wii owners smile again after wading through a cesspool of minigames.
Final Score- B+