Although the debate over whether games can be considered art still rages on, there is no denying the artistic appeal of a game like de Blob. It may not be hanging on a museum wall anytime soon, but there is definitely a creative appeal to it. Whatís more is that it is one of the few honest efforts from a 3rd party developer to appear on the Wii. If you have been clamoring for a great game without Nintendo as a publisher or developer, this might be one game thatís right up your alley.
The core concept of de Blob is to paint. A maniacal corporation named INKT is running amok and spreading their monochromatic propaganda. To remedy the precarious situation, a group of rebels called the color revolutionists with Blob as the main protagonist, is set out to return color to the now black and white cities. It is a pretty far-out concept, but it works for the subject material.
To paint, you use Blob himself as the paintbrush. When you absorb paint, you can touch practically anything in a level and fill it with vibrant color. Itís not as simple as that of course, since each area has a timer hanging over your head. You wonít frequently find yourself racing against the clock, but it does provide some incentive to keep moving forward. Also in each level are sub-missions. They range anywhere from painting buildings a specific color, to defeating a set number of enemyís within an allotted time. In addition, each level you enter has goals to complete for rankings. Youíll need to think about the number of citizens you rescue, the percentage of surface you painted, and the amount of trees you returned to life, among other things.
Obviously thatís a lot to do, which leads me to my first problem with this game. To see all a level has to offer, youíll easily be spending over an hour in it. Unfortunately you cannot save midway through, so you must either abandon your progress or finish half-heartedly if you wish to end early. Itís not a game breaker, but itís certainly an inconvenience. I often found myself exhausted by the time I finally reached the end.
Thatís just the tip of the iceberg though. The biggest problem with de Blob is in its controls. Most everything works just as it should, save for one function: jumping. For some reason the developers mapped it not to the A button, but the waggle of your remote. This not only makes the process annoying, but it reduces accuracy. Most of the time it works ok, but when it fails you it hurts big time. Additionally, your wrist will likely be suffering from cramps after the hour at a time play sessions.
The saving grace in the gameís presentation. Everything looks, sounds, and feels excellent. The menuís are streamlined and stylish. The graphics push the hardware unlike most 3rd party games out there. The music is fun, and catchy. It all adds up to a very enjoyable experience, and not one that you should miss.
Visually, de Blob is really something special. Itís by no means realistic, but that obviously wasnít the aim. The style and look has a strong cartoon-like appeal to it. I never felt as if THQ and Blue Tongue cut corners, everything is up to standards with what the console has been proven to be capable of. This comes as a huge sigh of relief, considering the fact that most non-Nintendo efforts have often been sloppy at best.
Also of excellence is the music. The developers didnít simply provide tracks for background noise, they actually integrated it into your play-style. At the start of each level youíre given a choice of music style. When you begin playing, itís all but silent, until you start painting. Each color you slather on an object will trigger an instrument to play. Yellow represents a flute, while red acts as the vocals, and so on. It seems like a minor addition, but it adds an incredible level of fun to the game. Once you get in rhythm with the music, you wonít want to stop painting. I hope that more developers would use this trick in the future.
Many have disregarded the Wii, as it is lacking in the power department. Games like de Blob prove however that with an original, unique, and fun concept you can have an amazing game despite technical limitations. Itís not without its flaws, but this game is not one to be missed. Those of you who longed for a superb 3rd party effort, this is your chance to put your money where your mouth is. Donít let this one slip under the radar, itís a treat to play.
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