Hey guys it’s Sam, and welcome to the second episode of our game reviewing segment, Get Ur Game Face On. Anyway, there are a lot of unknown companies that one day have their names known by 5% of people, and the next day having their names known as the people that gave us the amazing game [please insert amazing game title]. And that’s what happened with lots of companies we now know. Take Bethesda, for example. With the dwindling of games like Brink and RAGE, it was almost certified that Bethesda would begin crippling from the game world, and taking all of their series with them. That is, until they introduced the worldwide phenomenon known as Skyrim. See what I mean? THQ (short for Toy Headquarters. Now you know.) already got a start, giving us pretty much the entire anthology of SpongeBob games. But maybe our porous pal needed a break. So they gave us the first De Blob in ’08. And this is its ’11 sequel.
In 2008, the original De Blob met favorably received success, or (as THQ president & CEO Brian Farrell calls it) “broad, critical acclaim.” But the demands rose too high, and they were too big to maintain. So THQ could most likely do nothing but bring out the only weapon in a wave of fiscal demands: a sequel. Instantly the wave died down and THQ could breath a bit easier. That sequel, as I said and will say again, was De Blob 2, also known previously as De Blob: The Underground. Instead of being a Wii exclusive, it (like the forthcoming Epic Mickey sequel) was also available for the Xbox and PS3 as well, alongside the Nintendo DS and 3DS. It was developed by the now inactive Blue Tongue Entertainment, or by Halfbrick Studios (the same buddies that gave us the Fruit Ninja saga) for the DS version, and published by THQ and Syfy Kids (yes, I hasten to add this, but that actually does exist!).
In this game, you basically pick up where the original adventure left off: giving color and happiness with a vengeance (as the antagonistic INKT Corp. has outlawed all the fun and color) to the monochromatic Manhattan parody Chroma City, as a Blob. But not just any Blob. The Caesar of color, the superhero of the spectrum, the rivet of the rainbow, the—oh, you know what I mean. But not alone, with his trusty robo-sidekick Pinky. You can turn into different colors by jumping into different pools of colored paint, or by slamming into different-colored Paintbots, allowing you to make the world literally your canvas & easel. But there are some obstacles in your way, such as surfaces that automatically strip you of your wet, colorful goodness, as well as ink that acts as deadly poison to our hippie of a hero.
Definitely one of the most feel-good games of the year, De Blob 2‘s infectious vibe is only cramped up by one thing: frustration, and frustration under more than one circumstance. You sometimes have no clue what to do, and how to do it, leaving you helplessly struggling for a solution. Repetitive level design occurs repeatedly for a great level of annoyance, and you honestly don’t want to fail root & branch. That’s usually something you always hear in games, but this is a special emphasis; failure results in having to replay long sections or entire levels, putting a chockful of work into the toilet. The targeting system of the game can be a pro various times in the game, but other times when you’re brawling against diverse enemy armies, it’s definitely a con trying to decipher. You should never trust De Blob 2‘s saving system, and even I have examples. Sometimes when I exit a session of De Blob-ing, and come back to that session, I have to redo entire—oh, wait, I already told you about this. But on the bright side, painting the city is more fun that it looks like, and great visuals and tunes make a joyous atmosphere to roam in. Cutscenes are smart and amusingly entertaining, and there is simple fun in the game’s combat. And, of course, there are plenty of cheesily great win quotes in the game like, “Blobberific!” Y’know what, let’s roll the chart.
2 3/4 out of 5 – Educational value – There are puzzle aspects to many of the levels, requiring a great amount of logic and thinking, but the intention of the game is definitely entertainment over education.
3 1/2 out of 5 – Positive messages – Blob is a compassionate hero, determined to bring color (and freedom, and peace, and justice, and—) back to a world ruled by a monochromatic black-and-white tyrant and its corporation. Certain story moments, though, pose moral questions to players, asking them to choose between going after an escaping villain or rescuing innocents.
3 out of 5 – Positive role models – Blob and Pinky are self-sacrificing heroes who value the freedom of their people. Players could choose to make Blob a bit more callous in his pursuit of the baddies if they opt to follow the villains rather than save the innocents at certain points of the game.
4 out of 5 – Ease of play – Controls work very smoothly. If the camera seems problematic at first, know that you can adjust the inversion of the camera functionality; it’s very likely you can find a setting that will be comfortable for your personal style of play, where you prefer going down to go up, or prefer going down to go down. The game offers only two levels of difficulty that sound equally simple: easy and normal.
2 1/2 out of 5 – Violence – Blob fights enemy robots at times with a jump-and-smash ability (or Pinky can zap them with paint). Defeated enemies disappear in a burst of ink. Obviously enough, ink is very poisonous to Blob, and you can surely die if you stay in too long or do not meet a body of water soon enough. Blob can use his jump-and-smash combo to smash into things with violent slams. Overall, the violence is cartoonishly executed, made more for quirks.
Play-Again Ratio: B- (3 points)
Smarts: B+ (3.5 points)
Fun: B (3 points)
Style: A (4 points)
Humor: A (4 points)
Entertainment: A (4 points)
FINAL SCORE: 21.5 out of 30 (well, that was unexpected), 3 stars out of 5, 69% out of 100%
CONSENSUS: De Blob 2 is a funky-fresh sequel with the same infectious vibe as its predecessor, but monotony and other frustrations get the upper hand of the game and ruin its jam to the point where the game is only fun to play for about ten minutes, if not longer.
PRICE: Have it your way, but here’s the pricing for the game. On the Xbox 360, the game costs $16, but new copies are $9, and used ones are $6. Own a Nintendo DS? You can buy the game for only $9, with new copies being $5, and used ones being $3. Fan of the PS3? It costs yet again $16, but new copies are $9, and used ones are $7. Wii junkie? The game costs $13, with $7 for a new copy, and $2 for a used. At GameStop, the game costs $20 new, and $18 pre-owned on the Xbox. On the Wii, the game costs $20, but pre-owned versions are only $15. The same thing applies for the PS3 and DS versions as well.
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p.s. Would You Rather o’ the Week: Would you rather…wear only Gap clothing for the rest of your life, or wear only New Balance shoes for the rest of your life?
p.p.s. Random Video o’ the Week: I’m too exhausted to say more, so check out this hot jam. It’s Basement Jaxx and Robyn. C’mon, you know you want to. It’s got really good reception.