Ladies and gentlemen, Blob is back! For... the first time. On DS, anyway. THQ's spunky new action/platforming hero made his debut as a Wii exclusive back in 2008, and has remained as an understated, under rated hero for gamers that enjoy games with lots of personality, light-hearted fun and bright, primary colors. Now, finally, three years later Blob has returned to ALL consoles, as well as with an exclusive handheld adventure on the DS.
de Blob 2 on DS is a different game than what's found on the consoles. It's actually the direct sequel to the Wii original, and it leads into the story that takes place in de Blob 2 on the consoles. Also, the handheld game is set on a 2D plane, which was a smart move on developer Half Brick. The DS can certainly do 3D game worlds (Super Mario 64 was a launch title for the system after all) but 2D just seems to work better. Plus, the game can focus on just the action, level design and controls, rather than working up a 3D engine that may or may not appeal to gamers - especially considering the DS has no analog stick.
Blob himself controls quite well, and is very responsive to traditional 2D platformer controls. He can jump, butt-stomp, wall kick, and even do a Sonic-inspired "homing attack" by pressing the jump button while in mid-air and auto-locking onto the nearest bad guy. It all works well and is quite enjoyable. Anyone that's played a 2D action game before will feel right at home, and likely be able to play the game without even looking at the instruction manual. This could also be applied to someone who's never played a 2D action game before... or perhaps never played a game before period. Why? Because this game is ridiculously easy. I played through the entire thing, 100% complete, and never died once. Okay, that's not entirely true. Near the end, I died just to see what would happen. Blob just gets sent back to the last checkpoint you passed, which there are many. But even then I was in no danger of getting a Game Over, since by that time I had amassed nearly 50 extra lives. The challenge in this game is nearly non-existent.
Guess which one is the bad guy.
Still, there's some stuff you can do. There are over 30 stages to conquer. Within each one, there are three Music Notes to find, as well as between five and fifteen Radians (the citizens of the world of de Blob) to rescue. There are four normal stages within each of the game's six stages, with a fifth one that unlocks once you've found all the Music Notes and Radians in each stage of that world. Tracking down all those collectables isn't difficult - most of them you'll pick up just by playing the game normally. But once in a while you'll miss one or two, forcing you to go back to the stage and retry finding them all. Thankfully, you don't have to pick up each individual thing if you've already found it. Just the one you missed - which is quite welcome, in my opinion. Keeps the frustration and repetitiveness down.
So, yeah. The game is fun. Controls well. Looks great - Blob, his allies and enemies all feature lots of animation and personality. Story cut-scenes are sprinkled throughout the adventure and are presented in 2D, Flash-like animation sequences. Some of them are actually quite funny, too. The game certainly doesn't take itself too seriously and the humor is quite welcome. Another outstanding thing about the game is the soundtrack. It's very enjoyable and is even pretty dynamic, changing tones and instruments used depending on what color Blob has absorbed and is using to paint the world.
Which brings me to my final bullet point on this game. Unlike the original console game, the whole "color the world" aspect kinda takes a back seat in the gameplay. Yes, Blob is still fighting the INKIES, who are (for whatever reason) trying to suck the color out of the world. So Blob's bringing all the color back. But none of that is really implemented in the gameplay. Once in a while you'll find a switch or button that can only be used when you're a certain color, and some enemies can only be defeated when Blob is the same color as their uniforms. But that's about it. And those instances are far and few between. This may be a welcome change from those that didn't quite enjoy the timed missions in the Wii game forcing them to color a section of the town before the in-game clock reached zero.
Bottom line: it's a fun game, but a bit too much on the easy side. That's really my only gripe with the title. Any seasoned gamer could blow through it in a single sitting if they wanted. It'd be an enjoyable ride, but it's over too quickly. It's kind of the perfect weekend rental, if one were to rent DS games. It's a perfect fit for kids, who will enjoy the characters, graphics, music, humor and easy path to the finish. For others, you may be better served in the action-adventure department with Monster Tale, or Okamiden. Or maybe even Sonic Colors, if you're looking for more color-oriented gameplay to fill out your day.
I loved de Blob on Wii. I almost forgot there was a DS version of de Blob 2. I had been interested in checking out the Wii version for some time now after reading porphyrous' review, and now your review comes along to fill me in nicely on the DS version as well.
I do love that this version is distinct from its console counterparts, and yes! A 2-D platformer, a genre close to my heart.
But... Ouch. That sucks about the difficulty level. And that the "color the world" gameplay is nonexistent. It's what made the first de Blob so endearing, but I suppose the mechanic wouldn't have worked as effectively in a 2-D platformer.
^ Thanks! Yeah, my first review. I figured it was about time to do one, and this game was easy enough to write about.
I should clarify that even though the "color the world" aspect isn't really touched upon gameplay-wise, Blob will still color the environment as he rolls along, bounces off of walls and everything else. And there *are* instances where you'll have to color the walls and/or panels before moving on... but the game doesn't keep track of how much of the world is still black and white and how much has color. The only time you have to color the world is to unlock a door - and the coloring part is only like, a room. Not a bunch of buildings or anything like the Wii game.
Still, like I said, it's a fun game. It really doesn't do anything wrong. It's just a breeze to complete, so any kind of lasting appeal or replay value is more or less thrown out the window.
I never came close to dying in the original de Blob on the Wii either, but I think somehow that's more acceptable in a 3D platformer than in a 2D one. I don't know why. Perhaps because 2D platformers have traditionally been about tight controls and challenging level design, while 3D ones always have had loosey gooey controls, and navigating them is less about tricky jumps and more about controlling a camera and checking every nook and cranny to find doodads.
I think there were stealth checkpoints right before you take on a challenge, and it would start you up right where you left off pretty much. I can see how you might not remember because it was pretty seamless from death back into the action.
That seems to be a common thread when a game gets released across all consoles, plus the DS. Most people don't realize there was a DS version of Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing, Sonic Colors, Goldeneye 007, or Trackmania Turbo. Everyone just gravitates towards the console versions.
Nice! Yeah, Astro Boy: Omega Factor was awesome. The one on PS2? Not so much. Same thing happened with the handheld version of TMNT vs. the console versions. Same goes for Spider-Man 3, IIRC. Maybe it's got something to do with licensed titles?