It’s hard to believe that nearly 10 years ago, publisher THQ released a stylish new IP on Nintendo Wii, De Blob. The series continued with De Blob 2 releasing on all major platforms a few years later. Unfortunately, with the demise of the old THQ, the series never saw a third iteration. It’s taken awhile, but publisher THQ Nordic has brought the original De Blob to home consoles with a fresh coat of current generation paint. Everyone has an opinion on rereleases, but the large time gap makes this one feel more justified. Is it worth going back to take on the anti-color I.N.K.T. corporation again? Or would you have more fun watching *ahem* paint dry?
Chroma City has been stripped of all colors by the evil I.N.K.T. corporation, while merciless Inkies rule with an iron fist. You play as De Blob, a freedom fighter (for lack of a better term) who absorbs paint and can reinvigorate the environments with color. Replenishing the areas with color is the only way to fight back against Comrade Black and liberate the Raydiens, the city’s inhabitants. The story takes you to a variety of locations where you jump, bounce and paint nearly every surface you touch. Along your journey, De Blob interacts with helpful NPCs who provide challenges and unlock new abilities. When one area has enough of its surface area painted, you are free to end the level or keep playing to strive for 100% paint coverage! Chroma City is like a blank canvas, and the player can be as creative as they want with the implementation of color.
My biggest fault with the Wii version of De Blob was that the jumping was mapped to a controller shake. It felt very imprecise and I grew tired of shaking to perform such a routine action. Thankfully, that problem no longer remains and De Blob controls as a 3D platformer should. At the beginning of each level, Blob must absorb paint pellets to begin coloring the city. Rolling into a primary color such as red, yellow or blue will change Blob’s appearance and grant him 20 paint points to use. These points increase as you pick up more paint pellets and decrease by single increments as you paint surfaces. The player can blend colors by combining a pellet with their current paint color. For example: if you are already colored red and you touch a yellow paint pellet, you will turn orange. Jumping into water will reset Blob’s color while black ink causes you to lose paint points until you can wash up. Touching surfaces like buildings or walls will cause them to immediately burst with color and life. Pattern icons add some diversity to your painting while at the same time being a collectable in each stage.
Blob must act quickly, as a countdown timer in each level will trigger a game over if fully expired. Thankfully, completing challenges that are littered across the area will result in time extensions that are more than generous. Those who prefer to take their time will be more comfortable replaying levels in Free Paint mode, which eliminates the timer. These challenges vary in difficulty, but usually require Blob to paint certain buildings a particular color or perform a task within a short time frame. Challenges are constantly popping up and with the help of your compass you can easily strive to complete them all. Fully coloring an entire building or block will earn points and liberate the friendly Raydiens. Blob can also smash attack bad guy Inkies and traverse large gaps with the help of special jump indicators.
I had some glaring issues with the controls, mostly because they don’t feel very precise. Blob never seems to jump as high as he should and when he is clinging to a vertical surface, he always seems to be working against you. A simple action such as jumping into a wall and jumping off can take multiple tries, for no apparent reason aside from sluggish input response. This can be very annoying when it results in Blob falling in water or ink and losing his necessary color. When you manage to complete a level, two other challenges unlock, these quick distractions are welcomed and help extend replay value. Aside from Story and Free Paint mode, up to 4 players can play Blob Party, a timed versus mode where players strive for the top score. This mode is frantic and fun and can provide endless replay value and family bragging rights.
De Blob remains as stylish and cute as ever with this current generation version. Bright colors and unique patterns make for a vibrant city that looks great in HD. The music and sound effects keep things upbeat with a variety of songs to choose from before playing. Everything just bursts positivity and fun, it is the type of game parents can feel comfortable letting their children experience. I was not impressed with the cutscenes, as they felt ripped straight from the Wii version, washed out and blurry. The blob characters ooze personality and the antagonist Inkies have that funny Minions vibe (despite predating Despicable Me!). There are loading times, but they are brief on my original Xbox One; overall presentation values are quite high.
As a former Wii diehard owner, I’m happy to see De Blob get a new lease on life. I’m sure many PlayStation and Xbox owners missed out on this gem back in 2008, and now they can try the definitive version at a fair $19.99 USD price. Those who played De Blob as a young adult now might have children of their own to play this version with, and that’s pretty cool. My biggest gripe is the controls, while functional they just don’t feel as precise as they should. If you played the heck out of De Blob back in the day, there might not be much for you here. Those who have young gamers at home or only played the sequel might want to share the joy of liberating Chroma City one more time.