Talk about oddball (and pain-free) coincidences. I was doing a bit of rearranging of the game library and a my copy of de Blob for the Nintendo Wii fell on my head thanks to me moving one too many games at once. No, I wasn’t injured at all, thanks. However, I did think out loud something along the lines of “Now, this was a really fun game!” and maybe an hour after talking to myself, I get an email from one of THQ/Nordic’s psychic PR team that there’s an HD version of the game with a few enhancements headed to PS4. As the kids say “Who’da thunk it?” or something like that. Hey, I’m out of touch with the modern slang these days, so just keep quiet in the back there (hey, I heard you smirking!) and read the rest of this review.
Anyway, the game is a pretty cool 3D plarformer/puzzle/action game set in Chroma City, sapped of every color but a few shades of grey (less than 50, though) by the evil INKT Corporation. As de Blob, you’re part of a small resistance out to return things to glorious brilliance by laying paint on almost anything and everything you can. It’s a mash-up influences from Jet Set Radio and a few mascot platformers that works well despite some tricky jumping and camera issues. It’s also packing a pretty infectious dynamic score that cues you in to how well or poorly you’re doing, something more games could use (well, in my opinion, at least).
While it’s pretty simple in terms of story and character motivation, it’s also a game that’s chock full of large levels with plenty of challenges and collectibles to acquire. Unless you hate repetition in game where pulling off repetitive motions is key, there’s never a dull moment here. Although to be frank, the sometimes seemingly laid back pacing is nowhere as speedy as in most of the better Sonic or Mario games. Actually, there’s a timer in play throughout the game’s levels that generally gives you more than enough time to complete stages, but might slightly frustrate younger gamers who just want to color up the environment at their leisure. The solution for this is completing a map and unlocking it in Free Play mode, of course.
You’ll also learn some basic color mixing as paint it gotten from little drones that carry red, yellow, or blue paint. There’s a tutorial that teaches you the basics, but you’ll soon discover you can get pretty creative when you want or need to. There are spots that need to be painted a specific color in a certain period of time, but once you’re done with these tasks, you can go paint the town red, green, brown or some other color all you wish. There are also strategically placed spots where after completing a certain percentage of a level, hitting them sends out a huge burst of color that fills in more areas and makes things look super pretty.
What’s not that pretty are the double jumping/precision bouncing required to reach some areas and a camera that can’t quite let you see where you need to go in tight spaces or areas where walls or structures make it hard to gauge jumps. While you can complete the game despite these issues, if you’re a painterly perfectionist, you may run out of time on maps where the game’s camera and that funky jumping double-team you to time out on a stage. Boo. Still, the super-crisp visuals benefit from the HD upgrade, although the cut scenes didn’t seem to get remastered. Then again, this is the sort of super-stylized game where you won’t hear the kids whining at all (or anyone else who gets that not EVERY game requires graphics blowing your eyelids off with all that “NEXT-GEN POWAAAAA!” or whatever those “gamer types” say these days).
In addition to that lengthy main game, there are some neat mini-games, the free roam mode and even some fun multiplayer action along for the ride. Some may compare what’s here to Splatoon, but it’s very much not at all the same deal. Although the game will no doubt owe some small success to Nintendo’s newer game if a PS4-only owner hasn’t yet tried that popular series and wants to brag a bit for some reason. Well, until THQ/Nordic announces a Switch version at some point (unconfirmed, but you kind of get the feeling it might happen sooner than later). In any event, go grab this for yourself of the kids and keep some fingers crossed that the even better sequel de Blob 2 is getting an update as well for consoles.
Score: B (80%)
Review code provided by the publisher