Following the success of de Blob, a quirky puzzle/platformer which released on the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS in 2008, THQ put Blue Tongue Entertainment straight back to work on a sequel, which this time appeared on the PS3 and Xbox 360 as well as Nintendo's consoles. It's a good thing too, as the original brought something new to the genre and it's something that has flourished again in this sequel.
de Blob, and naturally, de Blob 2 has a premise that revolves around colour, lots of vibrant colour. So it's only natural that the game's antagonist, Comrade Black, despises colour and wants to live in a world that's purely monochrome. After hearing reports that he's escaped, Blob goes to investigate. He quickly learns that Comrade Black has wasted little time in trying to take over the world, as a holiday resort, Paradise Island, has its residents turned into Gradians, and all the colour is sapped from the environment.
After returning Paradise Island to normal, Blob goes to the mainland and finds a similar pattern, except this time it appears as though Comrade Black is nowhere to be found. Instead, a political leader called Papa Blanc is behind the disturbance. It all turns out to be a ruse though, as it's really a devious plot by Comrade Black to force the citizens of the world to live in a land of desaturation.
As an overall plot, watching it play out is rather humorous. None of the characters speak anything over than gibberish, but you can still make out some names. It's the execution that's the best part though, especially Comrade Black's little mishaps as his plans start to go horribly wrong.
Gameplay is based around traversing through huge levels, in what really feels like a massive open-world game. When you start a level, the entire place will be completely void of any colour, but this will quickly change. As soon as you touch a colour, Blob will change to match, and it's also possible to combine primary colours to produce colours such as orange or purple. While it's not necessary to colour most things in to progress at a base level, just rolling down a road and seeing the grass go from grey to green is extremely satisfying.
While most of the game does revolve around platforming elements, either in the 3D or 2D form, there are also some basic puzzle elements. These are never all that taxing, and sometimes they're quite monotonous as they more often than not involve painting certain buildings certain colours. Why this is monotonous, is because if they're stacked, they have to be coloured in certain orders, and you might accidentally touch the wrong building, meaning you then have to go and mix colours all over again. It's much better when you get the Rainbow Mode power-up though, which just paints things the right colour automatically.
Aside from this, you'll also have to perform combat against Comrade Black's minions. They start off very basic, just chasing after you, but will quickly upgrade themselves to minions who have anti-Blob helmet technology and colour-homing missile launches - not all that friendly to say the least. Most of the combat is fun, especially bouncing around like crazy on enemies, but some of the harder enemies can only be killed by performing a rolling attack. And this is where a problem occurs, namely in the game's targeting system.
The game decides what target to attack, not you. You can, of course, try to influence its decision, but it's really out of your hands, especially if there are a ton of enemies around. Why is this annoying? Well, you might accidentally hit a colour you didn't want, or you may attack an enemy with the wrong kind of attack, causing you to take damage. If you lock on to the wrong enemy when performing a rolling attack, you may also fly off somewhere. It can be a little frustrating and it spoils what's otherwise a perfectly fine affair.
To make the whole thing a bit more challenging, there are perils which appear throughout. The most frequent one is Ink, which if touched, causes Blob to effectively drown himself. There's also fire pits and the chance of being electrocuted. Most things can be solved by finding some clean water though, which is nice. It just means that, unless you have a Hazmat power-up, you'll have to go and collect your colours all over again.
As previously mentioned, the game also has some 2D sections. These generally occur when you're trying to liberate a building or are underneath the city. They're often rather fun, and provide a bit more of a challenge than the typical open-world gameplay that's prevalent on the surface.
Graphically, de Blob 2 is very charming. Watching environments gain their colour is an absolute joy and will bring a smile to even the most cynical gamer. It doesn't try to do anything fancy, it just does what's required, in a very clean and smooth way. The music also fits in perfectly with the graphical style, with it being of a very cheerful nature.
One thing you'll find as you play through the game, is that you'll want to stick with a level until it's completely finished. Sure, you can just skip through and do the story elements, but you'll leave the landscape half-coloured and it will grate at you. There are numerous side objectives on every level to complete and you'll get a medal for saving all of the citizens, colouring all of the trees in and smashing all objects. At the end, you'll also be given a score depending on how well you did.
It does start to suffer from a bit of fatigue as you play through the game, but considering how many levels there are, and how long each level is, it's to be expected really. You won't feel less guilty about now saving the citizens or painting in everything though, you just might get a bit bored of doing the objectives that are a prerequisite for this to happen.
Blob can also be upgraded to offer more lives, more health and more defence. But not just that, Pinky can also be upgraded, so a second player can join in and make Blob much more effective.
To round things out, there's a multiplayer mode called Blob Party, which is good for two players. It's plays out much like the single player campaign, but it's a competitive mode. The game will set a challenge, such as paint a building a certain colour, and you compete to do it first and then collect the spoils afterwards.
de Blob 2 is a fine sequel and it expands upon the original in every way. It has enjoyable gameplay, a fun plot and a premise that keeps you coming back for more. Some dodgy targeting controls aside, the combat is pretty fun, but there is a bit of tedium with regards to the puzzles that the game poses. Still, it's an enjoyable experience and once that's sure to bring a smile to anyone's face.