Somehow, I missed De Blob the first time around. Which is strange, considering I’ve always been a strong advocate for the Wii—I honestly think it had the best system exclusives of its generation. Show me a person who thinks the 360 or PS3 had exclusives to rival No More Heroes, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, House of the Dead: Overkill, Sonic Colours, or any of the first-party Nintendo games, and I’ll show you a dirty liar.
But I digress. De Blob is a charming platformer with a novel gimmick—using the player-character to change the colour of each level. The evil INKT Corporation has stolen all the colour, you see, and turned a former paradise into a cute n’ cuddly monochrome police state. De Blob has to absorb colour into its body, then rush down city blocks and bound across skyscrapers painting the town red. Or blue. Or yellow. Or…
The gameplay really makes the most of this concept, too. De Blob actually controls like a mass of liquid, sticking to surfaces and rolling down them like a drop of water. The more colour players absorb, the heavier and slower they become. Each time an object is painted, the soundtrack changes slightly, adding in backing vocals, record scratches, or other accompaniments to the score. There’s a tangible feeling to restoring the life to city via liquid paint, accomplished by the physicality of the player-character and the audio/visual combination.
It’s impressive, too, that the controls manage to hold up. Playing with a mouse and keyboard is a waking nightmare, but with a gamepad it works like a dream. I’ll admit that I felt tentative towards the mechanics at first, but given time to acclimate, it’s clear that it’s by design. This is something easy to pick and up play, but there’s plenty of room to “get good,” so to speak. Which is nice considering the amount of content—while a basic clear can be accomplished in 7-8 hours, a full completion will take 20 or more. Despite a camera that can occasionally do some weird stuff, everything here basically holds up from a gameplay perspective.
The upscaling work done here is also nothing to sneeze at. While the original art direction does all the heavy lifting, the higher resolution and framerate boosts don’t hurt at all. I do think that more care could’ve been put into restoring the prerendered cutscenes, but part of that could very well just be my obscenely large monitor.
De Blob is a game that still holds up, especially with a fresh coat of paint. I can say that fairly, too, because I’ve never even touched the original version, yet had a blast with this one. It’s a reminder of how good the Wii was, and a reminder that ports of even smaller titles don’t have to be sloppy junk. I can only hope, now, that this does well enough to get a port of the sequel, and maybe even a new entry later down the line.
*Reviewed on Intel Core i7-6700k (4 Cores,) NVIDIA GTX 1080 Founder’s Edition, 64GB DDR4 SDRAM