First Impressions: de Blob

September 2, 2009

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My Wii has probably been feeling neglected recently. It’s slight white frame sits right next to the shiny black beast that is the Ps3, positively cowering in it’s shadow. It probably couldn’t believe it’s luck when I booted it up in favour of it’s more powerful cousin and slid de Blob into it’s whirring bowels. If more Wii games offered the sheer exuberant uniqueness of Blue Tongue’s paint-em-up, maybe Nintendo’s magic box wouldn’t be as dusty as it currently is.

A whirlwind half hour of play on de Blob goes by in a riotous blur of colour and cute characters, but also paints a picture of what I imagine the rest of the game to offer. I expect the developer’s initial pitch to publishers THQ was an interesting day – I imagine it went something like this:

“So you control this blob character that whizzes around this city.”

“O…K. What’s the character’s name?”

“Blob. Just Blob.”

“I see.”

“And this evil corporation has sucked out all of the colour in the city. And basically you have to go around absorbing paint up and repainting the buildings.”

<Silence>

Despite the odd premise, de Blob’s slick controls, bright colours and huge sprites feels instantly familiar, even if the developers made the odd decision to map the jump function to a swing of the Wii-mote instead of a button press, making some of the tricker platforms a frustrating experience to navigate. Buildings receive their lick of paint in showers of sparkle and glitz, each renovated block freeing up Graydians, little blobbies that you hoover up as one of the game’s many collectibles; each one giving an adorable little squee of delight and pulse of colour that brings back fond memories of Super Mario Galaxy. If de Blob does well in earning a comparison with such stellar alumni, it struggles to match the Wii’s flagship mascot title in terms of gameplay variety. Although I’ve admittedly only played through the first level for this First Impressions post, that level really only did contain painting buildings, whether from the outside or in. I’m hoping for more diversity of challenge from this point on.

As a reminder that games don’t have to follow tired old tropes though, de Blob excels. A quick half hour joy-ride in Chroma City, slinging primary colours about is enough to convince anyone that there is still a place for innovation in an industry where sequels and franchises currently enjoy a stranglehold.

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