The first de Blob game was charming and vibrant, and one of the few motion-controlled games to make excellent use of the Wii Remote while still grounding movement in the analog stick on the Nunchuck. There was also a hint of indie cred to its name - the design originated from a student game design project in the Netherlands. The one thing I really wished de Blob had was the sort of high definition visuals found on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
Lucky me, that's exactly what de Blob 2 delivers; unlucky me, that's just about all de Blob 2 delivers on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
The Xbox 360 version gets a pass because it doesn't feature motion controls, but the Move implementation in the PlayStation 3 version is next to useless. The most elaborate feat you can accomplish is drawing coloured lines during the load screens and shaking off the odd enemy that clings to de Blob as it rolls around the landscape, spreading bright colours as it goes.
That's not to say that the non-motion controls in de Blob 2 are bad - the controller uses an intuitive adventure game scheme with the camera mapped to the left stick and movement mapped to the right. But if this is a sequel to a game that got motion controls right, you'd think they'd at least try to keep the scheme intact between the Wii and Move. As it is, playing with the Move actually feels like a handicap, as you have to constantly keep the Move controller in sight of the PlayStation Eye.
That aside, de Blob 2 still largely misses its marks. Some of the features that made the first game great are still there: the funky soundtrack, the charming cut-scenes, the vibrant colors. Even some of the things they've added to punch up the "game" part of de Blob make for good fun, like the 2D underground sections where de Blob has to roll his way through a maze of switches, power ups, and ink-spraying enemies.
But some of the minor gameplay choices severely compromise the overall experience. For example, there's a character development system that lets you trade "Inspiration" pick-ups top improve de Blob's health, protection and paint charge stats. This would be a great introduction if the game let you replay old levels in free-play mode, but instead it forces you to repeat the story quest just to go back and collect more Inspiration. Even the story replays wouldn't be so bad if the game allowed you to skip all cut scenes, but again, it doesn't.
Most troublesome of all is the timer, which sucks the fun out of fooling around with paint. I wasn't a fan of the timed segments in the first game, either, but at least those weren't required to advance the story. Even though Easy Mode passes out extra time pick-ups like Halloween candy, I get the feeling that Halfbrick Studios made time a major part of the gameplay to score some cred with the core market, and that's a shame. It gets in the way of the thing that de Blob is really all about: rolling around, and making a mess.
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