Wii hit de Blob is going 2D, HD and stereoscopic 3D when the globose, paint-drenched hero makes his way to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 next year. THQ's Blob also has a few new tricks, including one that made 3D Metroid games more fun.
de Blob 2 retains the soft, brightly coloured charm of the 2008 original and its colour restoration gameplay. Faced with a world made white by the evil Comrade Black, Blob must soak up colour from paint pools and ambling Paintbots, then re-paint the environment to restore its vitality. Blob's paint reserves are his life force, depleted when splattering buildings with colour, when crushing desaturated enemy forces or when hit with toxic black ink.
Blob can soak up and combine red, blue and yellow paint to turn himself green, purple, orange and brown, as he could in the first game. In the sequel, Blob can also transform into an indestructible wrecking ball by absorbing a lead-like liquid. He can plough through enemies without fear of harm and attach himself to magnetised walls, a small part of the more vertically focused gameplay in de Blob 2.
He also pick up a Hazmat power up, rendering him temporarily resistant to toxic ink, and grab Inspirations hidden throughout levels that will upgrade Blob's abilities.
de Blob 2 also introduces Gravity Wall surfaces to the series, a similarly sticky force that fondly reminded me of the Metroid Prime series' take on Samus Aran-as-adventuring-morphball gameplay. Blob will reach new heights with puzzles that involved climbable Gravity Walls, a mechanic that really shines in de Blob 2's two-dimensional gameplay sequences.
Players can access puzzle-driven 2D platforming levels by entering the interiors of some buildings. They're primarily switch flicking, enemy stomping tasks. Hit this lever, paint this marker purple, ride this elevator, liberate this desaturated ally and get back out into the real world.
But the 2D portions really open up when de Blob 2's new mechanics combine with the old. One 2D challenge I played saw Blob alternating colours to flip polarity-altering switches, a sequence of alternating Gravity Wall surfaces that pulled him back and forth while I tried to avoid bumping Blob into spikes. Many of the 2D levels I played were much simpler than that gravitational force-bending ride, but very enjoyable, even with their straightforward challenges.
With 100 of these 2D levels scattered through the world of de Blob 2, it's an addition that shows great promise.
de Blob 2 also adds a little more variety to the enemy types, with standard Inky soldiers, ink gun-equipped Heavy Inkies and Elite Inky enemies that can only be crushed if Blob is painted the same colour as that enemy's hats.
Gone from de Blob 2 is the need to waggle a Wii Remote to make Blob jump. Wrists everywhere will be spared further suffering, as across all versions of de Blob 2, jumps are performed with a simple button press. That includes the PlayStation Move version, which we're told approximates Wii-like controls for an alternate control scheme on the PS3.
Stereoscopic 3D will be coming to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game, supporting both 3D HDTVs and standard televisions.
During my hour-long playable experience with de Blob 2, I was surprised at how quickly time slipped by, with a constant stream of new tasks, new ways to play and hidden collectible items thrown my way. de Blob 2 felt like an easy, breezy way to pass the time, exploring its desaturated world and colouring it with paint and music. For players who are looking for more than just a way to pass the time, THQ promises harder difficulty levels for more serious de Blob fans.
de Blob 2 will come to the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii and Nintendo DS on February 22, 2011.