Closing Thoughts on de Blob

When I first wrote about de Blob, I was really digging it. I loved the visual and audio presentation. The gameplay was really fun and easy to pick up. The second time I wrote about it, I voiced what was (and still is) my biggest problem with the game: its pacing. Now that I have beaten de Blob, how do I feel about this sleeper hit?

After 9 hours with de Blob and having played through the main campaign, I’m overall pretty impressed with it. The new car smell did wear out after a few hours, but for the most part, I had a good time.

What holds up all the way through is the presentation. It still looks great, the story is told well through cut scenes and comic strips and the music steals the show. The soundtrack is very strong on its own, but your ability to add flourishes to the music by colouring things helps this game go the extra mile. The colour you have will change what instrument you add to the music. I loved knowing that blue was the guitar and brown was always scratching.

As far as playing it goes, it’s a bit of a one-trick pony. If you speed-run through it, the game probably won’t wear you down. However, if you want to at least complete all the challenges in the level and paint everything you see within reason, you will probably get fatigued by this game. Not to say that the gameplay is bad. Rather, I don’t think there’s enough to it to justify the amount of time you need to play. There aren’t that many gameplay mechanics involved and only four different challenge types, which can make you feel like you’re doing the same things too often.

Adding to that feeling of burnout is the pacing. A reasonable run through of a level averages out to roughly 60 minutes without the ability to save mid-level. Being forced into playing a fairly light gameplay experience for at least 60 minutes is a bit much to ask. I would have much preferred the ability to drop-in and drop-out at any point and either add more gameplay elements or shorten the game. I almost feel like the developers padded this game in order to justify it being a full-priced game, though it would have been a better overall experience if it was shorter.

When I first started the game, controls weren’t really a problem. By the end of the game though, a few quirks had popped up. This game has minor motion control elements to it that are hit and miss. I love shaking the Wii remote and nunchuck to splash paint on major landmarks. I grew to not like having to waggle the remote to jump. You do it a lot, which could tire out your wrist. Also, for such an important function, mapping jump to the imprecise waggle can mess you over at the worst times because it fails to read your input.

The other control issue I had stems from the lack of full camera control. I think in my first post I said that it had full camera control. I should have chosen better words. It lets you re-center the camera, like Super Mario Galaxy, but you do not have full control over it. This becomes problematic in a handful of spots. Up until the very end of the game, it’s generally fine, but the endgame sequence is a lot harder than it has to be because the camera positioning makes it difficult to do what you need to do.

After playing the first level, I thought I was in for a super awesome experience. While problems with the game have cropped up and brought down my high, I still feel that de Blob is a very good game and totally worth giving a chance. Kudos to Blue Tongue and THQ for taking the Wii seriously and putting out a good product.

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