De Blob 2 (Xbox One) REVIEW – A Paint By Numbers Remaster
De Blob is painting the town whatever colour he feels like.
Developer: Blitworks (Previously Blue Tongue & Half Brick Studios)
Publisher: THQ Nordic (Previously THQ)
Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Review Copy Provided
Despite my tendency towards being a bitter old curmudgeon, I can’t help but smile when uttering the words “De Blob”. In just six letters, Blue Tongue Entertainment and THQ established their IP as something decidedly joyful, releasing the first game on the Wii back in 2008 to decent reviews and mediocre at best sales. They then released De Blob 2 for PS3, Xbox 360 and the Wii in 2011 to a similar response, before Blue Tongue unfortunately went under a few months later. THQ weren’t that far behind.
However, THQ lives on in the form of THQ Nordic, who own the rights to De Blob, Darksiders and the Saints Row series through their recent acquisition of Koch Media. Part of the recent business plan for both parties has been to remaster old games, including Saints Row 4, Darksiders 1 & 2, Dead Island and the original Wii-only version of De Blob, and it’s now the turn of the sequel.
Despite being 7 years old, which for gaming technology can feel like a lifetime, De Blob 2 holds up pretty well. Taking place directly after the first game, our titular Blob has saved the day, only to find that the world is still drained of colour. His nemesis, Comrade Black, is at large, whilst a new cult led by Papa Blanc is trying to seize control of the city and hypnotise the populace. Meanwhile, neither one can be seen in the same room at the same time, so just connect the dots there. It sounds pretty heavy for a kid’s game, but the basic summary is “shit’s grey, make shit not grey”.
To do so, Mister Blob Boy runs and jumps around the level just like pretty much any other 3D platformer. In between the athletics, Blob can cover himself in different paint colours, and any item or object in the environment you touch will then be painted in the corresponding colour, Once you paint every section of an entire building, the oppressed citizens to take to streets for you to free them by – you guessed it, touching them. No, not in that way. Get your mind out of the gutter.
You’ll spend the majority of your time restoring the world of De Blob to its former glory, which does get repetitive after a while. Most levels fall into the same pattern that consists of doing a couple of “missions”, smashing into a giant transformation machine that restores the area you’re in before moving onto the next one. Once you’ve done that a couple of times, you can either backtrack to pick up some collectibles you missed or complete some side missions that only unlock at the end of the level, or skip straight to next level.
When things first start out, you find yourself wanting to complete as much as you can in a level, largely because you can find Inspiration Points that allow you to upgrade your abilities, which can increase the amount of paint you can hold or decrease the cost of special abilities like charge. However, once the pattern sets in you begin to find yourself rushing towards the goal instead.
Still, despite the inevitable monotony there’s a sense of awe to be felt as you witness a dreary concrete jungle slowly transform into a vibrant metropolis bursting with colour. Even the music alters to accommodate your changing surroundings, morphing slowly from a ominous near-silence to a full-on jazz explosion. Each object you paint comes accompanied by its own musical note too, which is just lovely.
However, it’s not all painting the town red. Or orange. Or blue. Or whatever. Comrade Black would prefer it if you didn’t “vandalise” the entire town, so he sends out some goons to try and deal with you; “try” being the operative word. Though you encounter your fair share of peons and minions, they barely even register as a threat to the mighty Blob.
So long as you keep your paint amounts up, which represents both your health, the amount of paint you have saved up and your resource for performing special moves, you can dispatch most foes with ease. Whilst death is possible, it’s more likely to occur from a platforming mistake than an enemy.
Those mistakes come more often than you’d think thanks to a camera that sometimes refuses to play ball, finding itself getting stuck on the geometry or taking its sweet time to turn around. Cameras like that weren’t exactly welcomed with open arms back in 2011, so it’s almost inexcusable these days. Just look at the critical mauling a game like Yooka-Laylee received for a similar issue.
It’s the same problem that the original version of De Blob 2 has as well, proving this version to be a bog standard “paint by numbers” remaster affair. Other than your usual improvements to the graphics and resolution, every here is the same as the original 2011 release, warts and all. If you’ve already played De Blob 2 before, you won’t gain anything new from a return visit, except maybe for the achievements/trophies. Can’t ignore that.
That being said, if you haven’t experienced De Blob 2 before, you could do a lot worse than to check it out, especially if you’re looking to give the kids some entertainment or try to stop them from playing Fortnite and learning how to kill people. The simplistic nature of the gameplay and the vivid nature of its art style ensures that De Blob 2 is an uplifting experience for all the family.
Have you had chance to play De Blob 2? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and check out our review for one of our new favourite beat ’em ups, Way of the Passive Fist.