de Blob 2 was originally released back in the 7th generation of consoles, where it was popularised on the Wii, and is now getting a second life on PS4 and Xbox One. The port definitely shows it’s age visually, but getting past that and seeing the core gameplay it has to offer, de Blob 2 is still a solid 3D Platformer after 7 years.
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Platforms Available: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Developer: Blue Tongue
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Release Date: February 27, 2018
This review is based on a review code provided by THQ Nordic.
The game revolves completely around color and spreading it by platforming all over the levels in the game. You act as the brush and the levels are your canvas. This also bleeds into the story, where the villain from the first game is trying take away all the color from the world and make everything drab and gray, so it’s up to you to restore things. The story, surprisingly, has some deep undertones and is quite political in nature, by taking inspiration from historical dictators and their effects on society. For a game that visually presents itself as a light-hearted game for kids, its premise is quite mature.
It’s gameplay isn’t quite as deep, but still enjoyable. Each level you begin with starts out with all the color gone from it and all the inhabitants being brainwashed or forced to suppress their color. To bring back the color in, you’ll have to do a series of objectives throughout the level, which vary from taking down the villain’s contraptions to painting buildings a certain color. The levels themselves are quite big in size, while not open world per se, but big enough to explore it and find various collectibles; similar to a Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kanzooie. Also, each level also contains mini areas that change the perspective from 3D to 2D, where you’ll have a set mission in order to exit, which is a great way to change up the pace of the game.
Going through each mission is never a chore, especially since the reward is instant, with the tracking of your progress being visually apparent in the world. It’s satisfying to just jump around and paint various objects in the world and see them transform into vibrant and bright colors. Although, the jumping around can sometimes be not as satisfying. Platforming can be a bit wonky, where at times you’ll feel you’re not entirely sure if you’ll make the jump or can reach a platform. This can also be apparent with the game’s wall-traversal mechanic. Sometimes making it work is more of a challenge than getting from point A to B. Also, the camera doesn’t do you any favors either, where it can stutter or bug out due to other objects around you. These complaints don’t take too much away from the fun to be had in playing de Blob 2, but do cause enough of an annoyance to warrant a groan or two while playing.
What’s surprising the most about de Blob 2, and adds more to the satisfaction of coloring objects in the world, is the music. de Blob 2 uses its music dynamically with the gameplay, whereas your painting different building or objects, a new instrument or riff will join the accompaniment in the background. Each different color brings a different style or instrument to your background music. It’s all especially noticeable when you start out in a level, where there’s no color, therefore no music. As you slowly fill out the world, the music swells up and builds up along with it. You’ll find yourself just carelessly coloring away to hear new notes or instruments, in order to add more flavor to the music.
de Blob 2’s visual presentation, however, isn’t anything special. This is, of course, understandable, since it’s just merely a port of a game released seven years ago. The game doesn’t look bad, but it definitely shows its age and indicates a game that was definitely released on 7th generation hardware. The only upgrade and benefit I can see is the resolution looking slightly crisper, but it’s apparent that the game wasn’t optimized enough to utilize the new hardware and stabilize the frame rate.
de Blob 2 is a fun and unique platformer, even by today’s standards. Its use of color and music in its gameplay is dynamic and satisfying, while the story has deep undertones and hints of political issues. There are some minor annoyances here and there, but overall de Blob 2 is a fun game and a great example of dynamic gameplay.