De Blob 2
It’s always heartening to see the birth of a new intellectual property and watch it grow and evolve; take the university project Narbacular Drop, for example, which ultimately became the now classic Portal. Or Thatgamescompany’s Flash game flOw, which went on to become an early PSN highlight, or Alien Hominid, which changed the fortunes of Newgrounds mainstay, The Behemoth. De Blob shares much in common with the foremost of these examples, originating as it does from an eight-man university project that was then snapped up by THQ. The original incarnation of the game was impressively well implemented, and even at that stage it was clear that the underlying mechanics (based on the concept of bringing colour back to a washed out urban jungle) had legs, even if the titular character, quite literally, did not. For the sequel to De Blob’s first console outing, developer Blue Tongue Entertainment has expanded Blob’s repertoire to include the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360; but has the increased power that these platforms offer been put to good use?
De Blob 2 doesn’t stray far from the template laid out by its predecessor and once again revolves around the dastardly deeds of Comrade Black; a villainous, monocular…er…chap who has an impressively committed hatred of all things chromatic. Crash landing in Prisma City, he sets about draining the colour from the world, leaving our hero, Blob, to set about restoring vibrancy to the stricken land. While this may sound like almost a carbon copy of the plot from the original, Blue Tongue Entertainment introduce a religious element to the proceedings with the introduction of a mysterious priest named Papa Blanc, who is the figure head of a cult of Blancs – bleached zombies that have been hypnotised into sharing Comrade Black’s dislike of colour.
It is almost impossible to discuss De Blob 2 without dwelling on its presentation; De Blob on the Wii to this day remains one of the best looking games on the system and was clearly crying out for a high-definition update. Now that dream has become a reality, we’re happy to report that De Blob 2’s visuals do not disappoint. The city of Prisma itself, whether in its bleached-white form or post-Blob (i.e. awash with all the colours of the rainbow) is lovingly rendered, and the transition from cold, characterless white to a vibrant city ebbing and flowing with life and movement is beautifully presented, and genuinely benefits from its new and improved resolution. The game also retains the vinyl-toy aesthetic that proved so charming in the original and this, coupled with some truly inspired character design and top-tier animation, helps De Blob 2 maintain the series’ position as one of the most visually inspired games on the market. The pre-rendered cutscenes are particularly noteworthy, featuring a rich seam of humour and degree of polish that wouldn’t look out of place on the big screen; Hollywood really should be paying attention!
Taking control of Blob (who, for the uninitiated, can be best described as a space-hopper with attitude) your main objective throughout the game’s levels is to cruise around the world and bring colour back to the washed out environments. At its simplest, this entails rolling Blob into a pool of paint before bouncing and rolling around the environs, which explode into colour on contact with Blob. Further complexity is added by the ability to mix colours (red and yellow becomes orange, for example), mastery of which is important in overcoming certain enemies, using specific switches etc. The core premise can be utterly hypnotic and strangely relaxing – just rocking around Prisma City, painting and nodding your head to the sprightly jazz accompaniment that matches wonderfully with the explosion of colour, is (for a while at least) extremely entertaining even before Blue Tongue Entertainment layer a mission structure on top.
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