de Blob – Review

Back in 2008, The Wii had a small hit with the original release of de Blob, and while we’ve seen a sequel hit 360/ps3 back in 2011 little more was heard until earlier this year when both de Blob and de Blob 2 received an updated PC release earlier this year.

6 months later we got the news de Blob is heading to next-gen consoles and while there’s no One X enhancements, we’ve finally got our hands on the Xbox One build.

The evil INKT corporation have invaded the cheerful Chroma city and all of the inhabitant Raydians have been sapped off their colour and left as dull Graydians forced to uphold the colourless dictatorship.  Professor, the leader of Colour underground meets up with Blob at the start of the game and explains how using the colour energy trapped by INKT’s paintbots.

Using LT and A you can lock on and jump at these energy storing bots to absorb their colour, each bot gives you 10 paint points which can then be used to paint as many objects be sliding into or over them, this includes tree’s, rocks and even buildings so with little introduction bobs set’s about smashing a few paintbots and starting to put colour back into the first seaside resort area.

There’s a time limit before INKT can track down Blob but with each challenge or milestone, while it’s worth keeping an eye on the clock, timers are only really strict on certain challenges, the main level timer was often more than generous enough once you’ve completed a few challenges and liberated some Graydians.

As you progress, you’ll unlock landmarks which usually carry a small cut-scene to mark their important in the city, and once you’ve painted enough of the town you’ll be rewarded with a button to unlock the next area or a transform engine which will restore colour to a wider surrounding area.

Controls are fairly simple, with Blob rolling around quite well, occasionally it can feel a little awkward when trying to navigate tight routes or precise jumps, but using RT to stop, and LT to occasionally target a painbot on a platform can soon get you where you need to be. The initial objectives are all really straight forward, such as colouring a certain set of buildings one specific colour, and later painting a selection of yellow and blue buildings before mixing the colours to paint a few green.

Difficulty picks up slightly as you’re tasked with avoiding water which washes away Blob’s colour, or Ink which then needs to be washed away with water before Blob can continue and these are the times when you’ll find the clock is against you.

The first half of the game is very approachable and does a great job of introducing new obstructions, and while those who use the time well and build up their score effectively will progress quicker, most shouldn’t have too much trouble progressing through the first 2 or 3 areas.

Rolling around, block after block, picking up paint, completing a few challenges to unlock the exit key and the transform engine, does start to feel a little repetitive, but thankfully de Blob carries a charming humour about it, that’s quite familiar from the Rabbids era of it’s initial 2008 release. The cut-scenes are pleasant to watch and while the various characters you’ll meet don’t quite tug on the heart strings and demand your affection, they’re welcome distractions from the core gameplay.

Completing an area will unlock paint match, blob on the run and blob race in the local multiplayer only ‘Blob Party’ mode, this is a great addition especially when playing with family and while it can get competitive it’s great fun as you race your Blob’s around trying to paint as much of the city as possible, It’s a shame that there’s no online option and there’s no AI bots to contend with so unfortunately it’s limited to those with additional controllers.

You will also find free paint, which allows you the freedom to traverse the city and paint at your leisure, it’s not the most involving mode, and you will come to miss the challenges and progression but it’s ideal for younger gamers who want to see the world saturate around them without the constraints of performing set tasks.

Graphically de Blob is all about the colour, and seeing each area spring to life from dull black and white to colourful and vibrant surroundings is a treat within itself, sadly it’s 2008 roots are evident as there’s some blurring on cut-scenes and everything’s just missing that true HD sharpness, don’t get me wrong, it looks tons better than the original did back in 2008 or even it’s sequel in 2001, but it’s just not upto next-gen standards especially when you consider the graphical fidelity seen on many recent Xbox One releases.

The audio is another big part of the game, with bright a bright and cheerful soundtrack that unlocks as you progress you’ll no doubt find your preference, but thankfully you can select your desired music (mood) as you start each new area.

It’s quite tough to be too critical on de Blob, because it’s a unique stance on platform/puzzle titles, and the colour based progression is something that almost 10 years after it’s initial release we still don’t see a lot of, sure there’s not much to do once you’ve completed the story, but getting there is half the fun and many will be happy to jump back in to free paint just to spread some colour into the world

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