When the original de Blob first came out, I passed on the Nintendo Wii-only release. Third-party, Wii-exclusive titles can be hit-or-miss, and I didn't see enough of the gameplay to make me feel that it would be my kind of thing. All the positive word of mouth eventually made me check it out, and I was pleasantly surprised by its originality, style and awesome soundtrack. It's nice to see that de Blob 2, which has arrived on multiple consoles, is definitely more of the same. The PlayStation 3 iteration retains the charm and color that made the first one such a success, and it's now paired with a standard control scheme via the DualShock 3.
Although the game supports the PlayStation Move controller, you shouldn't bother with it. It doesn't do much more than give you a shake option to knock enemies off you. Aside from that, everything else is mapped to the controller buttons. It's far easier to control the camera with a second analog stick, so I avoided playing with the Move controller.
The DualShock 3 does the job, and this was a big reason behind wanting to check out de Blob 2. While I didn't mind the Wii controls in the original game, I prefer to have more direct control over my camera in platforming experiences, so if you're going to give me the option of dual analog sticks or motion controls, I'll pick dual analog every time. The controls are pretty solid, but there were a couple of issues. The camera movement is generally OK, but it sometimes feels a bit sluggish. When you're pressing right or left on the analog stick, the camera often feels like it has a one- to two-second delay before responding. I thought that I needed to adjust a video setting, sort of like setting the time delay in a Guitar Hero game, but that wasn't the case. It was noticeable enough to be off-putting and definitely disappointing, since it was one of my major reasons for playing the game on a non-Wii console.
The other issue is with de Blob 2's wall jump mechanic. You can jump on and stick to walls in order to avoid obstacles or paint sections that are a little harder to reach. This mechanic is very touchy from a control perspective, as I'd often stick to a wall unexpectedly. You hold the jump button when you hit the wall, but it registers quickly, so you really need to let go of the jump button as soon as you press it if you're anywhere near a wall. It definitely led to some bad jumps and annoying moments, and it should have been fine-tuned a little more so that you have a half- second to let go of the button when you're in contact with a wall.
The game seems very basic at the outset. You're running de Blob into plain, black-and-white objects to paint them, but as the title starts to introduce powers and enemies, things get a little more involved. The auto-targeting of enemies works really well, so you can easily bounce-smash from enemy to enemy. The controls felt very intuitive, and that'll make this game particularly accessible to newcomers.
From a visual standpoint, de Blob 2 looks amazing. If you're looking at an Xbox 360 or PS3 version, a big upgrade from the Wii iteration is definitely the addition of HD visuals. The uniquely crafted world of de Blob 2 is so jam-packed with color that it should be seen in high definition. There are so many bright, outstanding colors that it's a cornucopia for the eyes. The patterns that you can pull into the mix just add more layers to the really awesome design, and it's definitely amazing to see the transformation of a bland, black-and-white world. It evokes a feeling similar to playing through the PlayStation Network classic Flower, where your sense of creation is so strong that it's easy to get wrapped up in coloring everything and ignore your story objectives.
Although de Blob 2 is impressive to look at, I started to get a little bored by the halfway point. The game involves 12 different stages spread out against an overworld map. The story kicks in cut scenes at the beginning and end of each stage to reveal that the same antagonist from the original game is back to make everything bland again. It's up to de Blob and company to stop him. From a story perspective, it's pretty light and humorous, but it's so heavily geared toward a younger demographic that I had a tough time feeling particularly involved. That's kind of what started to kill my own interest near the end of the game. It's very much marketed and geared toward kids, and that isn't a bad thing, but it has little in the way of difficulty and relies way too much on completing similar tasks over and over again.
For instance, most stages involve multiple checkpoints, where you need to complete a few objectives, pounce on a terraforming-like object, and the area you're in will spring to life. This generally unlocks the next section of the stage, where you'll once again complete a few objectives, rebuild, and move on. This formula isn't particularly awful, but the manner in which you complete your objectives feels pretty stale. There are different buildings you'll need to enter, and they're generally restricted by making you need a particular color and size before you can access them.
Once you're inside, the world transforms into a 2-D experience that's more puzzle-based than before. The 2-D world isn't particularly strong or well thought out, and while the buildings are supposed to be different, the interiors all have a very similar style. You can argue that it's supposed to be similar since the bad guys are trying to make everything as dull and plain as possible, but in this 2-D world, you take the element of creation, or re-creation, away from the player. You might change the color of the flat floor you're moving across, but that's it. It seems to eliminate one of the key factors that makes the game so unique in the first place, and the 2-D environment can drag on too long, but if you're looking to advance the story, it is vital to explore the many environments in each world.
The real fun comes after you manage to finish the story-based objectives in each world. At this point, you'll have the option of moving on to the next world, or you can complete a series of side objectives in the 3-D world, such as performing tasks for citizens. This also gives you a little freedom to fully explore that stage, since you're not as hampered and rushed by the annoying time limit. I was hoping that the game would have more of these tail-end sections of each stage, but instead, I'm stuck performing the more boring aspects of the story to finish the game. This wouldn't be so bad if I could freely explore each world, but they need to be unlocked in a natural progression.
Overall, de Blob 2 is worth checking out, but it wasn't as great as it should have been. If you missed the original title for any reason, de Blob 2 is a very unique platformer with some great design sense. The soundtrack is also fantastic, and it really weaves together different instruments in an interesting fashion by tying them to particular colors. It's a very visually refreshing game, and while it might not hold your interest through all of the stages, it's definitely worth a few hours of your time.
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