Wii

North America

de Blob

by Nick DiMola - September 19, 2008, 10:16 am PDT
Total comments: 29

9

Color Your World.

de Blob started life as an independent game developed by a collection of eight students at the Utrecht School of the Arts. The game made a significant splash at the 2006 Independent Games Festival, where it caught the attention of THQ. Since then I've kept an eye on its development, eagerly awaiting the opportunity to play it for myself. Now that the game has finally released and I have had the opportunity to experience it, I can honestly say that it was worth the wait.

Players are introduced to de Blob's setting, the dystopian Chroma City, during the first cutscene of the game. The I.N.K.T. Corporation has sucked the color from the city and oppressed the Raydian inhabitants, transforming them into Graydians. Blob, our story's hero, is a part of a revolutionary group focused on bringing color and life back to the city by painting the world and retaking the I.N.K.T. corporate strongholds.

In order to restore Chroma City to its former colorful self, players are required to complete a wide variety of challenges in each district of the city. All challenges are completed with a fairly simple set of controls that boil down to rolling around with the analog stick, jumping with a flick of the Wii Remote, and performing homing attacks by Z-Targeting and flicking the Wii Remote.

The simple control scheme is bound to a fairly simple goal in each of the main missions, which is to reach the level's exit. A series of gates are present to prevent you from blasting straight to the exit. Points to unlock the gates can be gathered through four different venues: coloring buildings, completing challenges, defeating I.N.K.T. soldiers and equipment, and rescuing Raydians.

The simple goal structure paired with the point mechanism give the game considerable depth. Though not immediately apparent, the game tracks a number of other goals in addition to just reaching the end of the level. Each mission can be played in a race against the clock to achieve the time limit goal, treated as a point attack mission, or approached from a completionist angle tasking the player with coloring everything and anything the level has to offer. This truly gives the game enormous replay value and considerable length as well. In my experience, levels could be completed in as little as eight minutes, or could last for up to and hour and a half if you were to color every last bit of the level.

The package is sweetened considerably when you factor in the unbelievable aesthetics of the title. de Blob simply oozes style and personality. Even when the city is completely uncolored, it looks sharp and stylish; flash forward to moments nearing full completion and the city is booming with life, color, and unbelievable visual appeal. The FMV sequences that appear prior to each level are also fantastic and extremely well-produced. They invoke memories of Pixar films, featuring the same humor and style.

The outstanding visuals are paired with an amazing audio track that is brought to life along with the city. At the beginning of the level, the selected "mood" track is very basic with minimal beats and instruments, but as the city becomes more colorful, so too does the audio. More instruments are brought into the mix, giving a party-like sensation when the whole city is colored. When buildings are painted, different sound bytes are mixed into the background track depending on the color of Blob, giving an audible cue to accompany the visual painting of the building; the Wii remote also rumbles, providing tactile feedback that thoroughly engages the player.

de Blob is rounded off with a compelling multiplayer mode. Up to four players are able to face off in unique multiplayer modes. Players can race, go head-to-head, or play a King of the Hill-style match. Multiplayer is absolute insanity with four players, but the framerate takes a hit as a result of splitting the screen. Even playing with only two competitors significantly affects the game's framerate.

Multiplayer framerate issues aside, another factor that detracts from the experience are minor glitches that occur from time to time. Occasionally you'll get stuck in tight corners and need to use a variety of techniques to free yourself from a wall, and other times you'll find the jumping to be slightly unresponsive (which forces you to redo certain challenges). Fortunately these glitches are infrequent, and rarely interfere with your enjoyment of the game.

de Blob is defined by its pure unadulterated fun. While it doesn't have the best platforming, the most complicated puzzles, or the most involved action mechanics, as a whole it's something to behold. Players familiar with Sega's Jet Grind/Jet Set series and Namco's Katamari Damacy will feel right at home. de Blob is an outstanding addition to the Wii library, and every gamer out there should give it a shot.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
10 10 8 10 10 9
Graphics
10

de Blob is lively and beautiful. Painting walls looks fantastic, as does all of the splattering paint effects. The FMV cutscenes are stunning and almost on par with Pixar movies.

Sound
10

The game's soundtrack fits the mood at all times. Drab colors equals boring, lifeless music, while a painted world results in an upbeat party tune. When paired with the additional effects from painting buildings, the result is an aural feast.

Control
8

The waggle jump is sometimes unresponsive and can be slightly problematic. Getting yourself stuck in a corner is also easily done, and there is no easy way to get yourself un-stuck.

Gameplay
10

The combination of de Blob's various game elements truly makes for some of the most fun and engaging gameplay seen on the Wii thus far. While it may not feature the best aspects of all the genres represented in its gameplay, de Blob's experience is more than the sum of its parts.

Lastability
10

The tiered structure of level goals along with a solid multiplayer mode gives players plenty to come back to. Additionally, most players will be so engaged in the world of de Blob they will likely want to experience it again regardless of new challenges. Free Play mode provides players with just such an outlet.

Final
9

de Blob is easily one of the best offerings on Wii this year. It is a full package with only minor flaws. Its tiered goals provide varying depth and challenge for all types of players. Every Wii owner out there owes it to themselves to give de Blob a try.

Summary

Pros
  • Beautiful graphics
  • Deep yet accessible gameplay
  • Extremely fun and engaging
  • Lively soundtrack
  • Pixar-like cutscenes and storyline
Cons
  • Framerate issues in multiplayer
  • Glitchy at times
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

mastroSeptember 19, 2008

From screenshots and video the game does not interest me that much but I love platformers and the reviews for this game are all good. This review also makes the game seem very open ended which I like. I imagine I will eventually pick this game up after it drops price.

good review

MaxiSeptember 19, 2008

Great review!

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusSeptember 19, 2008

Seriously between this, Okami, and Brawl picking GOTY for me is going to be near impossible.

CalibanSeptember 19, 2008

Great review. I'm glad I'm not purchasing this game for the multi-player.

Quote from: Mr.

Seriously between this, Okami, and Brawl picking GOTY for me is going to be near impossible.

There's still the Wario game, and the Little King's game to be played.

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusSeptember 19, 2008

Quote from: Caliban

Quote from: Mr.

Seriously between this, Okami, and Brawl picking GOTY for me is going to be near impossible.

There's still the Wario game, and the Little King's game to be played.

Oh god, I totally forgot! Wario looks amazing, can't wait till Tuesday for that one. Little King's Story looked great the last time I looked, so I'll have to keep an eye on that one too.

None of the reviews I've seen address the concerns I had at E3, so I'm still skeptical of de Blob.  It's charming, but my gut tells me people are going nuts over the presentation and not the gameplay.

My GOTY will likely be a DS game.  Not sure which, but there are plenty to choose from.  On Wii, it might be Boom Blox as of right now.

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusSeptember 20, 2008

Well I think it really depends on what your looking for Jonny. de Blob's gameplay can be somewhat simple but the feeling it evokes is the real seller. You just have fun while your playing it. It reminded me alot of my first time with Katamari Damacy, I just had a blast and the attraction to the simple gameplay has never died for me.

I know, I know, Katamari is a $20 game, but I bought that one, the second one (a $30 game), the PSP one (a $20 game) and the 360 one (a $40 game). Though they have all been value priced, its not like you are buying anything new when you buy the progressive versions of the game.

I would say if you're skeptical, at least rent it because it is worth a look.

KDR_11kSeptember 20, 2008

Quote from: Mr.

I know, I know, Katamari is a $20 game

Not in Europe, it was 60€ here.

SchadenfreudeSeptember 20, 2008

Glad to hear it turned out well. I'll have to check it out sometime.

KDR_11kSeptember 21, 2008

I wonder if they have enough common sense to not make it more expensive than Nintendo's big hits (N is going for 50€ these days, third parties still want 60€ and wonder why they get trounced)...

See, I'd always thought this was a WiiWare game. Ah well, it'll get cheaper someday.

MarioSeptember 21, 2008

Firstly, good review, I can't wait to get it. Secondly...

God.

Typical Nintard / Hype followers.

Your conservative buying habits are killing the industry. Please stop buying Guitar Hero and Halo limited editions for 130 million dollars and spend that extra in good games. If hardcore gamers don't support hardcore games, who will? You're digging your own graves, and stockpiling your own ammo to shoot at yourselves. You can't claim ignorance as practically the entire game has been uploaded to the web, i've never seen more available screenshots and videos.

What more can this game really do to justify a full priced purchase? Is it because it's not from a well known dev? They are now, get used to them. Not on your "radar"? Upgrade it. Doesn't have Mario or Link? Move out of the basement.

I'm proudly buying it day one and will hang my receipt on the wall in a frame to show my support for the good of gaming, and on De Blob day, I will say to every stranger I pass on the way to the store I lock eyes with "Happy De Blob day".

I don't want a repeat of the Soul Bubbles disaster.

KDR_11kSeptember 21, 2008

Quote from: Mario

What more can this game really do to justify a full priced purchase?

Realistically nothing, I need a crapload of hype to overcome my resistance against full prices. At 40€ I'd probably buy it at launch but it's 50€ and my maximum acceptable price drops faster than the actual price so just dropping to 40€ in a few months won't do anything. My Wii is in a kinda uncomfortable location too (has to be shared so everyone could access Wii Fit, not that anyone does anymore...) so I prefer games for other systems.

SchadenfreudeSeptember 21, 2008

The thing is Mario, most people only have a finite amount of money and time, so they have to decide how to allocate it appropriately. While I am very interested in getting de Blob, there are just so many games coming out this fall I don't have time to play it and it doesn't make any sense to buy it at release then.

KDR_11kSeptember 21, 2008

Oh, hey, Lock's Quest comes out the same day. Game Over for de Blob then.

PlugabugzSeptember 21, 2008

My brother hates the Wii, yet yesterday i night i bought Boom Blox and he's clocked up about 6 hours already.

This is already on pre order and i look forward to it arriving.

Something I'm having difficulty forgetting is that the controls of this game just melted into my hands at the Nintendo Media Summit. It was love at first analog stick tilt, and a feeling I could only compare to running around in Mario 64. Movement and jumping flowed from me to the screen with nothing in-between, and I really felt like I was playing a Nintendo game because I immediately felt like running, wall-jumping, long, jumping, and ground-pounding.

*shrug* I guess it is clear where I come from on this game. I can't wait to get my pre-ordered copy! Happy de-blob day Mario!

Quote from: Kairon

It was love at first analog stick tilt

Best quote ever.

Huh, they must have improved it a lot since the Media Summit.  Though it was pretty buggy when I played it, I just didn't find it particularly engaging.

KDR_11kSeptember 23, 2008

Looks like they're hyping it up like a big title, there's those cardboard cubes with ads on them and the in-store trailer view screen things have a trailer for it, I saw two store employees laughing while they watched it.

PaleMike Gamin, Contributing EditorSeptember 23, 2008

I played it a bit last night.  I think I made a mistake by jumping directly into multiplayer, as I wasn't really sure what was going on.  The color mixing and clever missions of the main game were my favorite part, and (at least in the modes I played) those mechanics aren't in multiplayer which is kind of sad.

Overall though, I totally agree with the Katamari vibe.  From bizarre presentation, to unlocking other areas of the city, it's all very similar.  You just paint stuff! =P

My art teacher fiancee hasn't gotten her hands on it yet, but I'll be interested to see what she thinks.

PlugabugzSeptember 23, 2008

BARGAIN!

For all the UK'ers, play.com is selling this at £17.99.

YoshidiousGreg Leahy, Staff AlumnusSeptember 23, 2008

Hey great find Plugabugz--that price is very low when you consider that almost all DS games launch at about £25 or more here, depending on the retailer. Sounds like a total steal on the basis of Nick's excellent review, count me in. 

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusSeptember 23, 2008

Yeah, I don't know alot about UK game prices, but just a straight conversion to USD that seems like a very fair price. Figure it this way, the game is worth a full $50 USD, so if you can get it cheaper I personally think you are getting a seriously awesome deal.

KDR_11kSeptember 24, 2008

I got the game but I'm not sure when I'll find the time to play it...

NinGurl69 *hugglesSeptember 24, 2008

Probaly during this Holiday's drought.

CalibanSeptember 25, 2008

I'm not confortable with the controls yet, but I'm trying to get the hang of it. It's the wall jumping, and jumping that are being stubborn.

KDR_11kSeptember 25, 2008

Regular jumping works mostly fine for me but I guess I'll have to read the manual or get to the matching tutorial to figure wall jumps out as I can't get them done more than 30% of the times.

CalibanSeptember 26, 2008

This game is getting my affection at a good steady pace.

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Genre Action
Developer Blue Tongue Entertainment
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: de Blob
Release Sep 22, 2008
PublisherTHQ

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