A FLASH FLOOD OF COLOUR
So here I am back with more remastered splendour! Many times over the past year I have talked about the ongoing trend of remastered and reworked games from days gone by being cannonballed onto shop shelves and online stores both with positive and negative conations, but one of the major high points of the movement is that many times over the years I have let many awesome games pass me by only to get a second chance to appreciate these titles reworked to visual perfection or in some cases relive them. In this situation I have been grinding with a port that I didn’t know that I needed until I’d finished my first session with it (if that makes any sense at all).
De Blob was released exclusively on De Wii back in 2008 to positive reviews with critics praising its light heartedness, unadulterated fun and being refreshing in a time where third party Nintendo properties were dwindling. Its popularity managed to garner a sequel in 2011, that was released across not only the Wii but also the PS3 and Xbox 360, so in hindsight it only seems naturally to give the original time to shine on them as well….it just took 6 years and one console generation later! This version of De Blob just goes to show that it doesn’t have to be paired with the charming and family friendly hardware of the Wii to still hold the brash and wonderful aesthetic that the original brought to us all those years ago.
The plot is nothing if not simple yet pleasant. De Blob tells the tale of Chroma City and its invasion by the INKT corporation and their oppressive leader Comrade Black, who take away every last drop of colour from the once vibrant city, taking the locals (the Raydians) hostage and forcing them to take mundane and medial jobs. Snoozing in a tree far, far away is our hero, Blob who is alerted by this crisis and bounces into action, joining the resistance known as the Colour Underground. This to me is reminiscent of the light-hearted plots that I grew up with playing the PS1 like PaRappa the Rapper, Klonoa and Rayman. The villains motive is indeed dastardly, but in a way, that appeals to a more younger and imaginative audience and the hero of our story being essentially a blob made of colour but with a cocky and confident outlook, works as an excellent juxtaposition to this. All of which creates a narrative that I have not experienced in a long time and takes me away from some of the stories I have been playing through in my later years.
A game with such an emphasis on colour would have a heavy task in upping its game when it comes to presentation and De Blob series has been known for its brashness and its bright and bold colour scheme and this translates pretty well onto the current generation of consoles. Watching the dull blacks, greys and whites get overtaken by a flurry of audacious colours as you progress is an overwhelmingly gratifying experience and little things like the dead trees springing to life as you come into contact with them gives your exploits a sense of purpose and depth, and things like turning the billboards filled with INKT propaganda into crazy works of art makes this colour rebellion feel a little more real. However, the background details of the surroundings do lack clarity during the cutscenes which only slightly diminishes the games overall charisma and the cast of characters, all of which are a delightful bunch if not cliched to a certain degree, talk in what I can only describe as Banjo Kazooie jibber jabber. The art style of De Blob is complimented brilliantly by its wonderfully upbeat and diverse soundtrack which again, brings me back to my days playing PaRappa the Rapper as a kid and for some strange reason reminds me of titles like Vib Ribbon (if you somehow find a copy, play it……then send it to me!) due to its driving tempos and overall tones. De Blob gives you the freedom to choose what kind of mood you want the music to take as you play each level making each playthrough an entirely new experience.
Much like its premise, gameplay in De Blob is also relatively simple. Each is split into various different sections and can be unlocked after gaining a certain amount of points which can be obtained by painting the environment and completing a selection of different challenges. Colourising the surroundings around you to whatever colours are at your disposal gives the player a sense of creative freedom and the items you collect as you bounce along that presents your handy work in different patterns and styles only adds something more to the world you yourself are rebuilding. Also, the challenges you encounter throughout come in all shapes and forms and put up a surprising challenge at times, but as you go on through the story mode they can become a bit repetitive and are necessary to rack up points. The controls themselves are clunky and a couple of the mechanics take a little time to get used to but once this is overcame the movements themselves are both comically satisfying and fluid and in presents its own trials as you figure out how to get to a certain part of a building so you can colour it and how to avoid the water and puddles of ink spread throughout. Other features include Free Paint, a mode where the whole world is open to you with no time limit so you can spend your time simply painting and exploring at your leisure and Blob Party, a multiplayer mode where you and up to 4 players can control a different blob and compete in free different game modes. Paint match is a simple game of who can paint the most buildings in their own colour before the timer runs out, Blob on the Run where one player can paint and the others try to catch you to get the ability for themselves (it’s tig basically) and Blob Race where you race against your opponents, all of which are pretty fun and is a great way to spend your time with this game.