Name: de Blob
Platform: Nintendo Wii
de Blob follows the story of Blob, citizen of Chroma city who arrives home after a vacation to find that the color has been sucked out of the world by the invading I.N.K.T. Corporation. After joining the Color Revolutionaries, Blob travels from place to place, smashing any Inkt he finds and leaving a trail of color in his path. The game actually started as a school project that was turned into a freeware PC game, not unlike Portal, and despite its independent roots, the final version is about as polished an experience as we could expect from a Wii title.
The gameplay of de Blob feels like one part Jet Set Radio and two parts Katamari Damacy. Each level is large and open, with a certain number of points needed to unlock the next area. Blob rolls around, smashing walking robotic paint cans to change his color and complete different adventures and puzzles by painting color-sapped buildings. Color Revolutionaries offer different missions and objectives to complete, such as racing through the streets, painting different objects, fighting a group of enemies, and liberating an Inkt building. These four can become tiring, and de Blob would definitely be better with some more variety. Combat and jumping essentially come down to erratic remote swings, but it isn’t an obnoxious or repetitive affair, and gives the game a nice, tangible feel. There’s a noticeable difficulty curve in the game’s later levels and a large variation of enemies, as well as increased complexity in freeing Inkt buildings. Certain compounds might be surrounded by turrets or require different, difficult maneuvers in order to liberate, making the compounds act as bosses of sort.
Graphically, de Blob is a treat. Chroma City’s dull, grey environments are obnoxiously monochromatic, as the story explains, to the point where filling them with color isn’t just the goal of the game, but a motivating factor to playing. Even once an area’s quests are complete, you might still want to paint the remaining buildings, trash cans, and mountains for the sole purpose of completion, whether you have OCD or not. Throughout the game, you’ll pick up different upgrades which affect the styles of the paint, changing the patterns on the buildings. The character designs themselves are also extremely charming, from the quirky Color Revolutionaries to the dastardly Inkts, de Blob is a thoroughly impressive looking title.
At the beginning of each level you’re able to select a “mood,” which is actually a clever ruse. In actuality, “mood” means soundtrack, and the different musical tracks can be unlocked and selected at the beginning of each level. They're all hip and catchy, reminiscent of Jet Set Radio. Little audio flourishes are mixed into the track depending on de Blob’s actions and interactions with the environment, creating a more dynamic experience. Mixed with the movie-quality cut scenes and brilliantly zany voice acting, the title’s entire presentation is admirable, and sets a new standard for third party Wii titles. The soundtrack isn't as catchy as Katamari's, but damned if it doesn't try to be.
de Blob is easilly comprable to Zack and Wiki, No More Heroes, and Boom Blox in terms of quality. For the same reason that there was a rallying cry for gamers to pick up the abovementioned titles, anyone who wants to continue to see fun, successful games on the Wii should buy de Blob. There is plenty of content, several different multiplayer modes, and a large amount of replayability. The different multiplayer types are a plus, but can grow old quickly, and a cooperative mode might have helped its case greatly. The Wii has slim pickings over the next few months; de Blob should fill that void, and an eventual sequel could fix the game's issues and propel it to an even higher level.