de Blob Review: No Boy Included This Time
Revolution has always been a great theme for video games. Why wouldn’t it be? Good versus evil; the oppressed rising up against the oppressor; underdogs overthrowing the controlling regime. Who would have thought that idea would have translated so well to a game staring a blob? Not just any blob though, it’s “de Blob,” from THQ’s new Wii title about a ball of liquid committed to bringing color back to a monochrome world. While the plot may sound a bit out there, the game play, and shear entertainment factor make it easily one of the best Wii titles to date.
Imagine how bland a black and white world would be. Now, imagine if there was a group that sucked all the color out of the world, and made everything that was fun dull and boring. That’s where de Blob comes in. It’s on a mission to take down the Inkt Corporation who have turned its’ world into a monochrome hell, and imprisoned all of the world’s inhabitants, the Raydians, and turned them into Graydians. de Blob has to free them by bringing back color, which it does by covering itself in paint and rolling over as much surface area of everything that makes up Chroma City as possible. It essentially plays out like an artistic reverse “Katamari” game where, instead of rolling things over to pick them up, you have to roll over things and put them back. In other words, since the Wii will never see a “Katamari” game, this is the next best thing even better.
The controls are very simple to master, the analog stick rolls, and flicking the Wiimote jumps. While there are some nuances to perfecting de Blob’s movements, particularly jumping, it’s basic enough that any video game novice can pick up the controller and be painting within seconds, and then off completing the game’s challenges with ease.
Each district of Chroma City (read: level) is broken into three separate areas, separated by a gate, that unlocks when you acquire enough points. Points are racked up by painting anything and everything, completing challenges, and basically sticking it to the man. The challenges are issued by the team of revolutionaries that de Blob is conspiring with, and they all have their own basic spin to them, from returning landmarks to their prior greatness to racing down city streets. The harder the challenge, the more points you receive, and the greater sense of satisfaction that you are one step closer to regime change.
As you’re rolling around the levels, jumping from rooftop to rooftop, returning color to where it once was, in addition to completing challenges, you’ll embark on what seems like an infinite journey for the completionists out there. Each level offers numerous goals centered around painting certain objects in each area (trees, billboards) and collecting items hidden in the nooks and crannies of Chroma City. While only one of these collectibles noticeably effects gameplay (and only aesthetically) they add some nice additional goals for all the O.C.D. gamers of the world.
If saving Chroma City isn’t for you, and you’re more up for proving to your friends that you can paint a city block better than them, then “de Blob” also has you covered. The game offers a handful of multiplayer modes that are well suited to demonstrating some of the creative ways that a blob can be competitive. As you progress through the single player campaign you unlock different multiplayer levels and modes which include a head-to-head painting battle (who can paint more of the city in the time limit) and the blob form of kill the carrier (only one blob gets to paint at a time). Even after you’ve completed the game, this should become the go-to game for parties since the controls and gameplay are so simple, and easy to understand And besides, by this point, your friends are tired of playing all those mini-games.
Yes, “de Blob” is one of the most enjoyable games out for the Wii, but it doesn’t come with some flaws; first, and foremost being the game’s save system. As mentioned above, each level is broken into three separate sections, however, there is only one save point - at the end, so make sure you’ve cleared out at least a solid hour to complete an entire level. For some, this may not seem like a huge problem, however, for those of us out there who spend an extra 15 minutes, looking for the last of the hidden items, it can be a become a bit of a time suck. Because there is no mid-level saving, each section tends to drag on, and on, until completing the challenges seems like a bit of a chore, just to make it to the next save point. While it isn’t the end of the world, it really helps to know going in.
Beyond the saving problem, there is really only one issue, and perhaps it was just a personal thing, but it seemed like the challenge in the game ramped up too slowly. Yes, later levels in the game are taxing, but the first third of the game seems like an extended tutorial, offering very little challenge in terms of unlocking the gates, as well as having enough time to complete the levels. Perhaps this degree of difficulty is ideal for some of the younger (or older) gamers out there, but it may seem tedious and borderline boring to some of the more seasoned gamers that pick up the game.
If Pixar ever decided to branch off from movies and make their own video game, there’s a very good chance that it would be similar to THQ’s “de Blob.” This Wii title has all the key elements of a great Pixar film; a creative plot, lovable characters, and a very aesthetically pleasing presentation, add to that some great gameplay elements, and this game should become an essential for most gamers. In short, “de Blob” has all the makings of a great Wii game, and it’s something a lot of other publishers (including Nintendo) should really look to in terms of how to make a fun game for the WIi. While it does fall short in a few categories, they can be easily overlooked, especially compared to a lot of the shortcomings of other Wii titles. “de Blob” gets a 46 out of $50.*
*TrueGameHeadz reviews are based on a sliding scale to help you, the gamer, make better purchasing decisions. The review ratings are based on the cost of the game, so, if an Xbox 360 or PS3 game costs $60, they can get a rating of what the game should cost, somewhere in the range of 0-60. So for this review, “de Blob” received a 46 out of $50, meaning the price that seems appropriate is $46, and if it is ever priced $46 it is a definite purchase. In more traditional terms, 46 out of $50 equals 9.2.