de Blob Makes Me Think About Pacing

I’m just over half way through de Blob and I’m still enjoying it. The gameplay mash-up of Katamari Damacy, Super Mario Galaxy and mercenaries mode in the Resident Evil series works really well and the developers at Blue Tongue have done a great job of polishing the details around that core experience to make the game a pleasure to play.

With the core game mechanics of de Blob, I would like to play this game in 20-30 minute chunks, with the ability to save mid-mission at any time. All things considered, I think this game works great in short bursts. If you want to speed run through it, you can beat each level in about 20-30 minutes. However, if you want to get a reasonable chunk of the levels done, your time per level will balloon to the point where it’s no longer a pick-up-and-play game.

Let me preface the rest of this post by telling you a bit about myself as a gamer. I am not an OCD gamer. I do not need to play a game to 100% completion. When I play, I try and achieve everything in site, but I won’t go through a guide for secrets or struggle with anything outside the main game. When I play a main level in de Blob, on average, I finish with a gold medal, I paint about 90% of the world, and achieve 100% on 4 out of 10 categories. I’m thorough, but there is definitely room for improvement.

The problem is, for me to play the game “naturally” without forcing myself to be time-conscious, that adds up to roughly 70 minutes per level, without the ability to save mid-level. Even if this game had an experience deep enough to justify 70 minutes per level, the inability to save within reason is crazy. If I want to shorten my experience, my only two courses of action are to quit the game and lose everything, or rush though the level and miss out on stuff I would have wanted to play and squash my chances at getting a high score.

Compounding this issue is the fact that I don’t think the gameplay is deep enough to justify the length of the game’s levels. There are only four challenge types in all of the levels with little variety in how you complete them. There are other little things to do within each level, but I don’t think it adds up to a 70-minutes per level type of game. For me to get through a level, I now need to schedule time out of my life where I know I’ll be able to dedicate more than an hour to it. Also, the experience will then start to wear thin on me after 30 minutes, which means I have to power though the fatigue to finish the level the way I want to.

I don’t think I’m alone here. My brother has had the exact same problem playing through de Blob. I still think it’s a great game and worth checking out. I just wish that Blue Tongue had better paced the experience to make it exciting to play all the way through. I think the game would have been better served by reducing the scale of the levels by half and allowing to save at least after every challenge. I’ll play this through to the end and have fun doing it. I just wish I didn’t have to grind through so much of it in one sitting.

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