De Blob 2 Review: Viva La Paint Revolution
Remaster is not a new term in the gaming realm. At one point a company releasing a remaster was seen as something terrible. Now, more and more classic games are brought up to date. Remasters are just a part of the industry like sequels or DLC. This isn’t a bad thing. There are many more remasters that are worth buying than not. De Blob 2 is an excellent example of a remaster done right. It blends all of the gameplay and story with new updated graphics; hopefully leading to a resurgence of 3D platformers. Originally released by THQ in 2011, THQ Nordic bought the rights after THQ declared bankruptcy. THQ Nordic realized what they had in their hands and decided to give it a new coat of paint. They introduced it to a new generation who maybe forgot about Blob and friends.
Story: Baby’s First Revolution
The dastardly Comrade Black has escaped captivity with Blob hot on his trail. Through 11 missions Blob must uncover and stop Comrade Black’s plan to become the democratically elected ruler of the world and enslave it’s peoples. Blob is tasked with returning color to the areas that Black has drained of color. Blob is guided along his way by his best friendbot, Pinky, and members of the color underground. The main story beats are an un-veiled revolution metaphor.
The story of De Blob 2 is told mainly via cutscenes before each new level. These cutscenes are conveyed completely through body language and animation. The only form of communication the characters use is gibberish with a few barely recognizable English words (mostly “Blob” or “Blanc”). These silent-film cutscenes work well due to the way they’re animated, doing much more showing not telling. It’s a simple story, but conveyed with humor and creativity that it’s never boring.
Gameplay: Sponge Painting the Universe
The gameplay of De Blob 2 very rarely deviates from the formula. Enter a drab black and white city and proceed to paint every square inch. Use 7 different colors while collecting various collectibles to increase power or score.
There are story missions which involve Blob and friends running out Comrade Black and saving the country from slavery. Attacks either come in the form of bouncing (think the Mario butt-bounce) or charging the enemy. Each attack costs paint points, so keeping those points filled is the key to victory. The 3D overworld sections are mainly “go here paint that, defeat the opposition” faire, but by constantly introducing new opponents with different methods of defeat keeps the formula from growing stale. By the end of a level, chances are good that the player has colored the world an awesome mix of all the colors available, it’s a good feeling to see the transformation of the levels.
A couple times a level, Blob will enter a building or sewer where the game shifts into a 2D perspective. The goal becomes smash a switch while being the same color and then hit a “transform engine” to continue. There are various environmental hazards to contend with to make things difficult, but these sections are rather boring in comparison to the rest of the game. They feel like expanded “find the correct keycard to continue” sections of old first person shooters or “defeat all the enemies” of more modern games – padding just to extend the length of a game.
Graphics: A Technicolor Dreamscape
For being a remaster of a game from 2011, De Blob 2’s graphics are not dated whatsoever. Everything from the characters to the ancillary animals and citizens are animated with a realism and fluidity that the age of the game is not noticed by the players. I thought it was a new game, honestly. Everything runs at a constant framerate even when the action is crazy.
The paint effects are excellent with the color running down the building or object being painted like actual paint would. There is a collectible (several in each level) that changes the subtle pattern on each building, so it’s not just the same flat patterns each time. Blob leaves a trail of the current color behind him as well as refreshing the flora and fauna of the world as he goes. Each movement is a brush stroke on the world, the player literally leaving their mark on the world of De Blob.
Music: Jazz on a Canvas
Surprisingly, the music of De Blob 2 is integrated with the rest of the game. Using upbeat jazz music along with the improvisational gameplay, the two both complement and expand the other. There is a fairly boring main track that continually plays which changes with each map. What was really impressive was the various instrument cues that happen every time Blob tags an object with his paint. This leads to an amazing soundtrack theme when the player goes on long extended paint runs. Consequently, the music evolves along with the more and more colorful world. It’s a joy to hear and see.
The boring music is indicative of the boring black and white world that the player finds themselves in. However as the colors flow, the jazz reacts to the player. This connection between gameplay and music allows the player a deeper connection to the world. It really feels as if they are literally shaping this world to the limit of their creativity. De Blob 2 shines the most at the intersection of gameplay, graphics, and soundtrack to create a multimedia jazz album, one that’s different for each player and play through.
Control: It’s a 3D Platformer
It’s a sad fact of life that 3D platformers never really have a good control scheme. For some reason the physics always feel a little too floaty to accurately hit the spot the player wants with any sort of consistency. De Blob 2 is one of the better controlling platformers that I’ve played in a long time. However, the player will find themselves often finding the camera in the wrong position which then stops all forward momentum to move the camera into a good position. Luckily this is mitigated by using the right stick to adjust the camera instead of some odd usage of triggers or buttons.
The floaty physics is mediated somewhat by having a lock on button and then a dedicated button to smash or jump on enemies. This also helps to make some jumps easier by allowing lock on and then a jump to the next building or platform. I’m not sure that this change will make the game easier for children or people with dexterity issues, unfortunately.
Don’t Call It a Comeback
De Blob 2 is a refreshing change of pace from the grimdark military shooters and open world to-do lists that are the majority of game releases recently. It is an absolute joy to play. It completely makes up for the few missteps and odd design choices that are present. The sheer creativity presented to the player is apparent in every second of the game design. In a world where games often tout how much creativity is given to the player to complete a game but wind up being the opposite, De Blob 2 allows the player creativity limited only by the imagination of the player and does it with effortless style and humor.
Try it for yourself Here!
- THE GOOD
- Excellent Graphical Overhaul
- Creativity is Encouraged
- Players Leave their Mark on the World
- Soundtrack is Complementary to the Gameplay
- THE BAD
- Some Weird Controls
- The 2D Sections are Filler
In a world where games often tout how much creativity is given to the player to complete a game but wind up being the opposite; De Blob 2 allows the player creativity limited only by the imagination of the player and does it with effortless style and humor.