I have to admit, whilst I owned de Blob when it originally launched on the Nintendo Wii, I never ever took it out of its case. I know, it’s awful, and it’s something I was guilty of a lot with the Wii thanks to the sheer volume of titles that released on it and just how fast it actually took me to get bored of their dependence on motion controls. It’s a shame too, because now that I’ve played it ten years later, I can actually appreciate the charming little adventure it offers.
It also just so happened to bring paint-based action to a Nintendo console way ahead of Splatoon, which is something I can appreciate too. It’s just an original little adventure and one that’s still worth taking a look at now.
de Blob casts you as a delightful little… well… blob, who is tasked with helping save Chroma City and its Raydian inhabitants from the nefarious INKT Corporation, who have robbed the entire city of its colour. How do you save the day? By bringing that colour back, of course!
Your goal in de Blob is to make your way through ten grayscale levels, all whilst smashing the wandering Paintbots to get some paint and then splashing it around to bring the world to life with colour. Anything and everything you see can do with a lick of paint, so it’s up to you to jump, roll, and zip your way around with a good mixture of colours slipping off your body as you go along.
It’s not all aimless though and there are plenty of objectives in place, most of which are based around colouring specific buildings or objects in a particular way, so you’ve got a clear set of tasks to deal with. There are plenty of different obstacles in your way too, including a time-limit that shows how far away INKT are from finding you as well as plenty of INKT minions who want to stop you – thankfully, it’s nothing a slam of paint won’t fix. Everything about de Blob is simple in design, but satisfying and original when played through.
Those who want to stray away from the game’s main objectives will find plenty of secondary tasks to do that include the likes of colouring everything in, finding all of a level’s collectibles, or just rescuing the helpless Raydians that INKT have captured. It fleshes levels out a bit and ensures there’s a lot more to them outside of the main story, though they do have their flaws – the time-limit can be seen as a hindrance for example, especially when you can’t find that last piece of unpainted architecture in a map…
It could grow a little repetitive too. Don’t get me wrong, de Blob remains fun throughout and there’s no denying that there’s a charm to its painting gameplay, but that’s pretty much all you do. Later levels do introduce a few new mechanics and objective types, but in all the same formula is used throughout. Maybe it wouldn’t have been so noticeable if the game wasn’t a long one, but it’s surprisingly lengthy despite only featuring ten levels.
At least the level design is great, with plenty of different things to do and see throughout. It’d be easy to miss so much of de Blob’s world if you focused purely on your main objectives, and there’s a whole lot to discover if you head off the beaten track a bit. Chroma City is a really neat place to explore and de Blob does a good job of making sure each levels varies it up a bit in order to feel fresh and fun to be a part of.
A platforming-adventure like de Blob needs good controls, and thankfully it delivers… for the most part. Getting around is easy enough, whether it’s rolling across buildings, jumping between platforms, or smashing paint around. It’s easy to pick up and play too, with the game never over-complicating things – it’s definitely ideal for younger players.
However, like a lot of older releases, the camera can be a bit of a pain. It seems to struggle to keep up with the action at times, whilst there’s also a stiff and slow feeling to controlling it. It’s not a massive burden nor does it ruin the game in any way, but it’s definitely something I noticed after playing modern platformers with more intuitive camera controls.
Once you’re done with de Blob’s single player story, you can always return to the Free Paint mode which allows you to traverse Chroma City carefree as you splash it with colour. It’s a surprisingly addictive mode to play around with and a nice way to relax with the game – it’s certainly a good way to take in parts of the game that you wouldn’t have necessarily noticed during your initial run through.
There’s even a multiplayer mode on offer for those who enjoy local mini-game showdowns, though I’ll admit I wasn’t too big of a fan. It’s not that the multiplayer is bad per se because it adds a novel little spin on the game’s core mechanics, whilst the modes on offer add something different for everyone (the game’s take on ‘tag’ is actually a lot of fun). It’s more that there are too many better multiplayer offerings out there right now for me to get too absorbed with de Blob’s. Still, I’m sure plenty of gamers out there could get plenty of hours of fun out of it.
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Release Date: Out Now
Format(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC