I rather liked the first de Blob; it was a game with a lot of heart and soul. In fact it grew on me quite quickly and after reading a few reviews, I picked it up. I was surprised since normally I'd only ever played Twilight Princess and Mario games on my Wii. But the Wii is long gone, consigned to the dark place in that cupboard where the consoles of yester-year now live because I'm having far more fun with the 360.
So I was pleased when I got 2 copies of de Blob in for both my PS3 and 360. So this review can be taken for both platforms and not really as a comparison. I don't think there's much between both versions of the games and that's really it.
The gameplay is reminiscent of the first game, but it's all been polished with an extra layer of colour and shine. Controls are smoother and the feel is much better, there's a nice element of the kid-friendly about de Blob 2 though as an adult, I'm having just as much fun as the kid's I've seen playing it.
It pushes a natural feeling of exploration and enjoyment in the regular gameplay, and whilst there's a ticking timer for a lot of the levels, you can still paint outside the lines. It's the mix of frenetic gameplay elements and crazy colour-based platforming that draw you in. It might feel a little static to being with but as you get deeper into the game, you're given harder and harder levels/challenges to complete. It feels as though this one got the game balance just right.
As per Games Xtreme's ethos on story spoilers, I'm going to skip the story and just say that's it is engaging, told with nicely done CGI for a lot of the level intros and puts a smile on the face of the most jaded adult.
I really like the colour switching gameplay in this one, there's a lot more to do and more to explore and paint than ever before. With the smooth control system it's a joy to revel in Blob's colourful side as well as his destructive ability. Switching colours is easy and getting your own back on those dreadful grey monochrome enemies is simple.
It doesn't swamp you in needless controls and it just lets you play around in the large gameworlds. There are also some great 2d levels that really challenge your ability to explore/puzzle and paint. I think I really preferred the 2d levels to the full 3d ones but that's because it evokes an old-skool platformer in me that harkens back to the good old days of the C64 and the Sacred Armor of Antiriad. Or even Jet Set Willy/Manic Miner.
There's a way for a friend to join in the fun too, with Pinky, Blob's sidekick and together you can play the main game, or you can tackle specific co-op levels. That extra slice of gaming fun is just what de Blob needed on this second outing.
The graphics are top notch, in HD and high quality with gorgeous uses of colour that bring the drab worlds to life as you paint around. Blob leaves trails of colour where ever he goes and it seems to delight kids and adults alike, for some reason. I think we're all a bit messy at heart and it stirs some kind of primal desire to go nuts and bury the world in paint and crazy colour schemes.
There's also some great music that plays based on the colour that Blob is at the time, yet it doesn't actually seem out of place as you whip from colour to colour. It actually works really well with a good emphasis on coherency and providing an ever-changing soundtrack to the game. Sound design in general is really good and there are lots of nice spot effects as you're battling, painting and exploring.
I really do like this game and it's hard not to like it, there's nothing fundamentally wrong at all with de Blob. There are no real bugs or massive glitches that spoiled the play on either version of the game and I have to admit I spent a lot of time on the 360 one since I am more comfortable with that pad than anything else. Having the extra 2 player co-op options really does help to bulk out the main game itself and it has a generous and well thought out checkpoint-save system that means you're not being needlessly frustrated.
It's a good looking fun romp and the game is perfect for kids and grown-ups alike.