Following closely in the footsteps of its predecessor, de Blob 2 has made its way to current gen hardware. Much like the first outing, de Blob 2 focuses largely on its painting gameplay mechanics to see the experience through. Taking on the role of the titular hero, and taking place a few years after the events in the first game, Prisma City and its residents are back in the firing line. Comrade Black is back to wreak havoc, successfully draining color from the city, once more. Now, it falls to Blob and members of the Color Underground to unite and restore the city to its former glory, and to put a stop to Comrade Black and his minions once and for all. It goes without saying that the selling point for this game will not rest with the plot, as that’s about as intriguing as it gets. Though as with all platformer games, them meat of the matter rests with the gameplay. Does de Blob 2 prove to be compelling enough?
The game does a good enough job at welcoming in players, without alienating those that never enjoyed the first game. Within the first fifteen minutes of play, you’ll be more than well accustomed as to how the game functions, and what you’re expected to do. The core aim of the adventure is to bounce around from location to location, restoring color to a wide range of inhabitants and structures. This can be achieved by rolling Blob in a specific color of paint, and then using said color to fill in the gray-scale. Each location comes packed with a heap of collectibles and missions to take on, many of which will hold your hand as if you’ve never played a video game in your life. The gameplay, however, does remain very accessible throughout. Mercifully, for example, you’re not required to manually color things in, but will instead simply need to touch it or bounce on it to relay your color.
The biggest and most immediate problem with the game sits with the camera, which is counterproductive and fights against your control. Several times did I miss a jump or roll off the edge of a platform, due only to the poor camera chase. You can manually move the camera, of course, but it’s very fiddly and hardly does you any favors throughout. Restoring the hues to the landscape typically consists of paying attention to your surroundings. Specific buildings will flash in whatever color you need to present it with, to which you then set off to find a paint puddle or paint waterfall of that same color, to replicate it. The structure of the game may be simple to start out, and as aforementioned, the game isn’t shy of telling you what to do, but that’s not to say that it’s free of a challenge.
For instance, to begin with you’re often tasked with merely coloring in a range of buildings. However, you have to ensure that each of these buildings get colored in correctly. The puzzle elements of the game begin to shine through when several parts of the same building structure, require different colors. It promotes forward thinking, and although it never truly feels like a taxing adventure, there were a few moments in which I was genuinely baffled. In any case, the game never really evolves from the on-set, and instead relies on the same mechanic from beginning to end, save a few interesting sections within. Nevertheless, you can expect to see the usual trail of functions that you witness in any given platformer. Complete this mission, save those inhabitants, destroy these enemies, and well, you get the idea.
Rivers and puddles of ink will prove harmful to Blob, and more so if he’s running low on paint. This does mean that there’s a lot of back-and-forth involved, by design, but the locations are not overly vast that it feels like a drawn out trek. It helps that there tends to be several puddles of paint littered all over the place, so if you find yourselves running low on supplies, the nearest resource is never too far away. You can also clean Blob completely by jumping into water, which will naturally strip him of any color, completely. It’s an interesting game, that much has to be said, and especially for those that never got around to playing the original versions. Although, it does become somewhat repetitive before long. The game tries to alleviate this by throwing a variety of missions at you, but at the end of the day, you’re still just painting objects from beginning to end.
I do have to commend the level design and world variety, which certainly helps to keep the visuals fresh and diverse. The game takes you to some interesting environments; indoors, outdoors, hell, even off the planet. Each area is large enough to accommodate all of the collectibles and missions, and although not huge, it can be easy to lose track of where you are. Thankfully, a handy compass is on-screen and will keep track of resources for you, as well as chart objectives. The missions rely on the tried and tested formula we’ve seen time and time again elsewhere, right down to the mini game puzzle-esque side-scrolling sections. Through natural progression, more area and ground will open up to you, as well as new abilities. This throws in a layer of progression, and gives you something to work towards outside of focusing too much on splatting colors, left, right, and center. You can even pull in a second player – Pinky – to help you on your way.
From the main menu, you can upgrade both Blob and player 2’s ammo. Blob’s upgrades include; size capacity, armor, and decrease charge. You can also browse some movies, artwork, and enjoy a Blob Party across several maps; providing mini challenges for players to overcome. Speaking more directly about the visuals, de Blob 2 doesn’t break new ground. It’s a great looking game, and as mentioned before, there’s a lot of diversity to the locations, but it’s far from impressive. Though, with that the side, once you start coloring in and filling the world with hues, the visuals stand out much stronger. There’s roughly north of ten hours worth of play to be had here, but the lack of challenge and the simplistic nature sees de Blob 2 targeting the younger audience above all else. It’s fair to say that if you found a lot of fun in de Blob, you’ll certainly find much more in its sequel, despite the niggling issues.
de Blob 2 suffers from repetitive gameplay and wonky camera issues. However, if you can overlook these niggling problems, there’s a surprisingly lengthy and endearing platforming experience within. It’s not a groundbreaking game, but it is accessible, and will surely be appreciated by fans of the genre and newcomers alike.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.