de Blob 2: The Underground Review
You may or may not remember de Blob from a few years ago, when the Wii/DS 3D platformer (there was a pretty good iPhone version as well, does that count?) hit shelves with mostly positive reviews. The game had a simple, ingenious concept in which players controlled a blob with the ability to absorb colors and use them to paint (or re-paint) the depressingly grayscale environment. The game wasn't perfect, but one resounding sentiment was that a sequel, with the problems ironed out, could be a truly great game. Now the sequel is here, it's no longer a Nintendo exclusive and it features improvements to nearly all the missteps found in the original. But does this blob ever make it to "truly great game" status?
Since I'll be discussing both the game's graphics and gameplay, it is important to note that I have neither a PlayStation Move controller nor a 3D TV. If someone wants to send one my way (Sony), I'll be happy to except. Until that day comes, though, I won't be able to comment on either of these features. Sorry.
Even though this is a title that is primarily focused on the gameplay side of things, there is a setup for the action. The Inkies and their leader, Comrade Black, have sucked all the color out of life in Prisma City, and it falls to the blob and his sidekick Pinky, who kind of looks like a floating robot version of DeeDee from Dexter's Laboratory, to save the day. Yeah, it's a little thin, but it sets things up adequately and is easy enough to absorb by the younger gamers this title is clearly aimed at. It's also important to point out that it doesn't make a difference whether you've played the first game or not, de Blob 2's storyline stands on its own.
In the jump from the Wii original to the PS3 sequel, de Blob has gotten a significant visual upgrade. These aren't the brightest or clearest HD visuals I've seen, but when held up against the first game, they really pop. And with the focus on color, expect quite a display as you slowly paint these areas back from their shades of grey. Surprisingly, the greys are as much a visual treat as the colors. They have a washed out, watercolor look to them, and are so striking in places that you'll almost regret having to paint over them. Even when you get into the business of fighting multiple enemies and mixing colors, the game never drops its framerate in the slightest, a problem the original de Blob struggled with. For a game based on such a visual concept, de Blob hits it out of de park (I'm so sorry for that pun, I really am).