Nearly ten years on and de Blob is back, only this time on the Xbox One. Published by THQ Nordic and developed by Blue Tongue Ent and Blitworks, this platform-puzzle game is a straight up port rather than a remaster. Something you’re able to spot a mile off thanks to its dull dated visuals and bland feel. That’s right, once regarded as a delightful and colourful 3D platformer, age really hasn’t done de Blob any favours whatsoever. If you’re new to de Blob, chances are you never owned a Nintendo Wii, seeing as it was one of the better titles to arrive on the platform. You take on the role of Blob in a city known as Chroma City, a place that’s been overrun by a nasty corporation called INKT. INKT just so happen to be draining the city of its colour and capturing all of the townsfolk, it’s a straight up traditional tale of good vs evil, but is it one worth pursuing?
As already noted you take on the role of Blob, a living organism (of some sort) that has the ability to restore colour to the world within. Blob teams up with a group of resistance fighters otherwise known as the Colour Underground. Working alongside them, it’s down to you to gain back control of your city and restore its colour. To do this you must bash, smash and break all of the paint-drones around each of the levels within, which will grant you the ability to change your colour to Red, Blue or Yellow – depending on which paint-drone you destroy. Gameplay typically has you using these colours to fill the world with paint, be it trees, buildings, rocks, posts or other environmental surroundings that you can liberate at will. Doing this will add to your score and in-turn, will unlock new sections to dive on.
Following these checkpoints is pretty much the aim of each level, and working your way through each mission to complete set challenges (mandatory and optional) to save the townsfolk is certainly both endearing and charming. You are indeed running against the clock but I never truly felt as though I was being rushed thanks to how easy it is to pick up additional time. The difficulty curve does sit quite well with the scale of progression, but the game can become quite tedious as you get deeper into the experience. One of the biggest problems I faced with the campaign is that it gets repetitive, fast. The challenges do indeed get harder depending on your environment, but even these offerings don’t do much to spice up the gameplay – often simple requiring nothing more than perseverance and trial and error.
The same can be said about the combat, being that you’ll aimlessly hammer the slam-attack function until your foes bite the dust. The incentive here is that you will earn more time for the enemies that you dispatch, I just wish that there was more to de Blob than meets the eye, but sadly there is not. Gaming has come a long way since this first debuted nearly a decade ago, and it’s going to take a lot more than a quick port to contend with titles that share the same genre and concept. With that to the side if you do find yourself getting bored of the stretched-out but not fleshed-out campaign, there are other modes to keep you busy, such as free roam and multiplayer. Free roam has you taking to the game but removes enemies and timers, whereas multiplayer allows you to have some fun with up to four players in total. Both of these modes wont have you playing for long, but the inclusion is nice distraction nevertheless. The real meat of the replay value can be found via nabbing all of the collectables in the game, which will reward you with different soundtracks to play along to.
Now I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t able to bring myself to complete the game as it began to drag on for me far too much. Each level takes roughly half an hour or so to complete, and each level felt exactly the same as the last but just looked different. It’s not a huge gripe and certainly not something that younger players will have a problem with, but for me, it just didn’t sit well. Especially when I take into account that the game is too repetitive as it is. The decision to port this game over rather than remaster it is also mind-boggling, because the visuals (despite the alluring and colourful presentation) are weak across the entirety of play. Poor shadowing and a lack of sharpness doesn’t help matters either. This may well have been top notch back in its day, but time in this case hasn’t made the heart grow fonder.
I was really hoping to enjoy de Blob more than I did. I have fond memories of the original title on the Wii, but I was never met with the same level of intrigue in this port. There’s nothing new, it bears all the visual marks of its dated version with no fresh lick of paint (pardon the pun), and it’s far too repetitive by standards today. Perhaps if the team decide to do de Blob 2, they’ll update the game rather than just porting it. Don’t get me wrong, de Blob is going to be fun for the younger gamer, and it’s undeniably colourful and quirky, but it doesn’t sit well in 2017, nor does it even bother to rub shoulders with modern platformer titles.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.