de Blob began life as a school project from studying Game Design & Development at the Utrecht School of the Arts in The Netherlands, meant to reflect the end result of the rebuilding of a local railway station, but THQ saw much more potential for the quirky PC painting game. They purchased the rights, handed over development to Blue Tongue Entertainment, and now we have De Blob for the Nintendo Wii. The I.N.K.T. Corporation has drained all the colour out of the city of Chroma, enslaving its inhabitants and putting them to work doing its evil, clerical bidding. It's up to de Blob to be the paintbrush of the people, restoring colour to the city one building at a time. While a very unique and compelling concept at its core, have THQ and Blue Tongue managed to stay true to de Blob's origins, or has the entertainment value of the original game been completely painted over? Mixing a little red with a little blue, after the jump.
de Storyline: Like any great animated cartoon, in its story of an evil regime taking over a city and the people fighting back manages to convey a strong message while still being suitable for children of all ages via brilliant and humorous CGI cutscenes sprinkled throughout the game.
de Gameplay: de Blob takes a very simple gameplay concept - changing the colour of buildings - adds platforming elements, and manages to create one of the most entertaining third-party titles to grace the Wii console. The effects of your colorization are immensely rewarding, compelling you to complete as much of the game as possible.
de Music: Music plays a far greater role in de Blob than in most games, changing as you complete more and more of each level. Unlocking new music genres is a real treat that makes replaying levels with a different tune selected it's own unique experience.
From the crisp, colorful graphics of the game itself to the comic-book panel intros, de Blob oozes a style all its own. Little touches like being able to doodle with your Wii remote during loading screens only add to the game's charm.
de Control Restrictions: De Blob controls well for the most part, but I couldn't help imagining it would have controlled much better with a standard controller in place of the Wii remote / nunchuk combo. Flicking the remote up to jump is not a very accurate or entertaining control mechanic.
de Camera: The camera often catches De Blob at strange angles, and while you can press a button to centre the cam behind you or use the d-pad to slowly swing it around, stopping to do this in a timed challenge can shave precious seconds off of your alloted time.
de Blob is, simply put, the most fun I've had playing with my Wii in a good long time, which is an extremely rare statement where a third-party title is concerned. Most of the truly quality titles I've experienced on the console so far have come directly from Nintendo, with other offerings generally falling somewhere between better than average and not worthy for inclusion in a flash banner ad. Even after completing the game, a task that took me a good thirteen hours or so, I found myself going into the Free Paint mode just for the sake of splashing some colour around while enjoying the music. I'm even looking forward to my nephew's next visit so we can play a bit more of the game's local multiplayer, and half the time he smells like onions.
de Blob takes a simple concept, adds a splash of colour, and creates one of the most uniquely entertaining experiences I've had on the Nintendo Wii this year.
de Blob, developed by Blue Tongue and published by THQ was released on released on Sept. 22 for the Wii. Retails for $49.99. Completed all levels to at least 90%, mucked about with multiplayer modes, and spent a great deal of time in the free paint mode.
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