GameXplain reviews single player and multiplayer separately
Color me impressed.
De Blob 2 is the most stylistically polished game I’ve played this year. It’s not the best playing platformer out there, by any means, but its colorful personality makes up for its minor gameplay deficiencies. From the load screens to the cut scenes, this game is positively dripping with style.
You play as Blob, and as the game’s description notes, he is “your hero. Clouded in mystery, colored with an indefinable and rebellious attitude.” As Blob, it is your duty to return some color to environments that have been bleached and blackened by the evil INKT corporation. This is accomplished by stocking up on primary hues and painting buildings, trees, grass and generally everything in your path. Comrade Black, leader of INKT, plays antagonist to your protagonist, and he’s sucking the life out of everything and mucking up the color scheme. It’s up to Blob to bring about a colorful renaissance and prevent the inky corporation from turning everyone into bland, brainwashed drones.
De Blob 2 is your standard platformer. Where it excels is in its presentation, and its most impressive characteristic is the way it integrates music and aesthetic. When you begin a level, the soundtrack is just as sparse and minimalist as the blank canvas that lies before you. Soft, ambient noise accompanies the whites, grays and blacks that cover the lifeless environment. But then you jump into a color pool, or smash a paint bot, and Blob gets his first taste of color. As you paint your first few buildings, a subtle organ riff emerges from the ambient soundtrack. As you defeat a few enemies here and liberate a few citizens there, more instruments come in. By the time you’ve painted most of your immediate vicinity, a full band surges to accompany you as you roll about, dripping with reds, blues and greens. The beauty of this game is that you almost feel as if you have a hand in designing levels as you play them because they start out as sparse, lifeless things. But by the time you’re done with a level, it is pregnant with positive energy and bursting with life: there’s clear running water, palm trees, ecstatic villagers, you get the picture.
But the gradual build of the background music isn’t the extent of this title’s musical cleverness. The music becomes muffled when you enter an underground or indoor level. Furthermore, as you paint objects, you contribute to the musical score just as you add to the visual canvas. When you paint something, a solo instrument surges to the forefront of the background music, making you feel as if you’re in the middle of this crazy, coloring book jam session. In addition, the instrument changes according to Blob’s current color. If he’s green when you paint a building, you’ll hear a synthy keyboard riff. Red makes lively trumpet flourishes, purple adds wah-infused electric guitar riffs, and the list goes on. And the entire soundtrack is extremely well done. The next to last level incorporates an orchestral, James Bond-esque theme, and building up to the track’s fullest sound is truly invigorating.
I did have some minor grievances with the game. Most of the gameplay involves rolling/jumping around, so it’s unfortunate that the jumping can be a little heavy and unresponsive, and there’s a wall-run ability that doesn’t work half the time. These aspects made certain sections downright frustrating. The wall-run problem seems to stem from button mapping. The same button that activates a wall-run, the left bumper, also activates the targeting, so often Blob ends up targeting some random object or enemy instead of sticking to the wall like he’s supposed to. That said, these annoyances don’t break the game by any means because the real fun is in bringing the environment to life.
Unsurprisingly, objectives usually involve coloring in some capacity, and you color pretty much everything you touch. Blob gets color either from smashing paint bots, or jumping in color ponds. Paint bots allow you to mix basic colors (like blue and yellow to make green), and some challenges will require the acquisition of colors in a certain order so that the paints mix properly. Meanwhile, there are enemies (appropriately called inkies) who will attack Blob and attempt to undo all of his hard work. If you get inked, then you’ll have to find a water source and wash off before you can return to coloring. If Blob runs out of color points and gets inked, then he’s done for, and you have to go back to a previous checkpoint. Inkies can be defeated by a few different methods, though you’ll get rid of most by smashing, which involves jumping and targeting them, or charging, a speedy ground attack.
De Blob 2 is not the perfect platformer, but you’ll quickly get over that (I know I did). There are some frustrating moments, but this title has a wonderful spirit and sense of humor. Sometimes, you just want to play a game that makes you smile, and De Blob 2 will do that for you.
The main story mode allows cooperative play...sort of. A second player can play as Pinky, Blob’s “sass-bot” companion. This involves simply taking control of a cursor and targeting on-screen enemies, while player one plays the game as per usual. The second player has a finite amount of ammo, which can be replenished by shooting paint bots. I know some players would prefer to actually see their character moving around on-screen if they’re going to play a game all the way through, but I actually found this method a fairly creative solution to cooperative play.
Additionally, there’s a split-screen, two-player mode called Blob Party (apparently two’s a party) in which players work through short levels, competing for a higher score as they complete objectives similar to those found in the single player campaign. This mode is less engaging than the main story, but it’s fun to play with a friend. Unfortunately, there’s no online component, so unless there’s another person physically there, you won’t be attending any Blob parties.
De Blob 2's mulitplayer offerings are fun, if somewhat anemic. Players might find themselves dabbling with them for a little while if they have a friend over and want to show off the colorful goodness. Unfortunately, the lack of online play and the dearth of options make this a pale imitation of the singleplayer game.