on 6 October 2008
If I was to tell you, that De Blob is one of the most original, fun, and beatifully crafted and creative games on the Wii, would that be an overstatement?
I would say not and for a NUMBER of reasons.
Firstly, the premise is brilliant.
Chroma city has been taken over by the Inkys who want nothing more but to sap the bright vibrant colours out of the place and enforce their strict regime on everyone. No individuality; no freedom of speech; Just grey cities and grey people.
It's up to you, as De Blob (a....errrm blob), to bring back the colour to chroma city and it's people!
Each level takes place in a different area of Chroma city and gives you a time limit which you can expand in various different ways; for example, by completing different challenges within the levels or even by freeing the gradians (the inhabitants of chroma city) by colouring in various buildings. Within the HUGE levels, there are so many of these challenges and gradians to free (each adding roughly a minute on to your time) that it's practically impossible to run out of time.
Each level is HUGE but they never feel big enough to get lost in largely because they're separated into smaller areas or sections. Although the architecture never really changes, as all the levels are within the same city, each level does feel different and unique as you progress, as each level is in a different area of chroma city ranging from the docks, to more in land areas with complex transport systems and LOADS of buildings.
It's the colour aspect of the game, which naturally becomes the driving force of the game's gameplay.
You can choose between seven colours; red, yellow, blue, orange, green, purple and brown. Naturally to make the secondary colours, you'll need to mix two of the primary ones. To make the brown, you'll need to mix all three of the primary colours.
For the most part, it's up to you, what colour you paint the city, but certain challenges may ask that certain buildings be painted a certain colour. (There is also a separate mode for those who just want to paint the buildings and various other objects in each level the colour that they want) There are however, obstacles which get in your way throughout each level which come in the form of inkys - little guys with huge helmets which spew black ink at you when you get near them. If this ink touches you, you'll have to reach a water source as soon as possible or else you die.
Other hazards include, ink which pollutes the water of some levels until you purify it, electric plates which...electricute you and fire surfaces which burn you... the latter two of which can be switched off temporarily in some cases by a nearby switch.
Lives are handled via these red face icons generously spread throughout each level, and if you do die (which once again, won't happen very often) you'll come straight back to life relatively near to where you were AND with all your work on the level unchanged, meaning you won't have to re-cover buildings with colour and re-do challenges.
To colour buildings it's a simple case of touching them with your blobby self. Each building consumes one paint point and to replenish these, you simply body slam (literally) into different colour cartridge things which appear in various different places in a level. Different buildings may need more paint points in order to colour them, through the consumption of colour cartridges. A positive side effect of getting more paint pots (the most you can obtain is 100) is that de blob grows bigger in size, making slamming enemies such as the aforementioned inkies (via a good old swing of the wii remote) much easier and more effective.
What I haven't mentioned yet and which is one of the most important and brilliant things about De Blob is it's soundtrack. Each level has a jazz or reggae theme playing in the background which gets more involved the more you colour things in. The genius comes in, when you also factor in each colour representing an instrument, that, on painting anything during the world, plays along with the underlying tune in the background as an improvisation. Meaning that every time you play through a level, you're in for a treat for the ears, as you'll be, essentially creating your own soundtrack through the interchanging of colours and the actual process of colouring things in. It's a wonderful way of involving the soundtrack in the playing experience and really gets you moving to the beat and flow of the game.
Control-wise, it's very simple: to jump you shake the wii remote and to lock on to inkys or ink cartridges, you simply hold Z on the nunchuck and shake the Wii remote. By holding A, you bring up your radar, which can be misleading, but generally works fine - and that's about it.
So what do I think about the game - It has a CRACKING but simple and in many ways, topical storyline which opens up a world of fun, both in the simple and addictive pleasure of colouring in and exploring the levels, looking for every hidden item, and trying to colour in EVERYTHING, while having an entertaining and magnificient soundtrack which you play your part in creating - what more could you ask for?
And in terms of a new playing experience, with a lot of replay value, and even a 4 player multiplayer opition, this game has ALL bases covered, and simply makes you smile with it's beautiful visual flair and booming soundtrack which seriously works its way into your head.
I couldn't recommend it enough, and it's a game like no other on the Wii - and seeing as the Wii is all about new experiences and creativity - this game has all of that in abundance making it a perfect and welcome addition to the white box's other excellent library of games.
All I want to know now is when the sequel's out!