de Blob 2: The Underground

de Blob 2: The Underground Preview for Wii

On: WiiXbox 360PS3DS
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7Out of 10
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de Blob 2: The Underground screenshot
de Blob 2: The Underground screenshot

We don't tend to hear much about the state of game development Down Under, but de Blob was one of the few third-party Wii games to successfully drag itself out of Australia and into internationals sales charts. With humble beginnings as a student project for a course in game design, it's come a long way since that 2008 release date, evolving into an IP that has sold over 900,000 units.

de Blob 2 carries on from the blob origins of the first game. Just a couple years after you, a blob, and the friendly resistance, The Colour Underground, brought primary colours to the stark, black-and-white Reich-city you called home, the faintly fascist INKT organisation got back down to business and reduced everything to various shades of grey. What do we do this in game, then? I'll give you one guess… one guess and a lot of colours.

Using the same mentality as the likes of Jet Set Radio, your objective once more is to cover every monochromatic wall and object with paint. In this case you'll be using your genial blob thing as a brush. The blob that you control directly affects the state of the world by soaking up paint in the strategically-placed pools around the city, and then leaking colour onto every colourless surface. Inevitably your character runs out of paint and is forced to look for the nearest pool to baste in, so de Blob 2 is as much a scavenger hunt for paint puddles as it is a graffiti-based platformer.

This might also be de Blob's primary weakness. Considering every level features an in-game timer that encourages you to race to the end, it can be more laborious than fun to find your next pool and stop to slowly marinate in it, gifting yourself the maximum level of paint you can hold. As you progress you'll be asked to provide slightly more complicated colour variations for the city. An objective to colour an area orange will mean you'll have to find both a red and yellow pool to soak in, for example.

de Blob 2: The Underground screenshot

But occasionally the changes in pace actually accentuate the game's personality. While in your normal paint-less state the blob is fast, scuttle-y even, but after soaking up a gallon of colour he'll bob slowly like a drunk at a mobile disco. Similarly, different liquid will have different effects on him. Absorb a dark lead-like goo and Blob will transform into a rock-hard and indestructible ball that can plow through enemies, splitting a group of them like bowling pins.

Alternatively, after sucking in the lead gunk you can attach yourself to magnetised walls as part of the game's focus on vertical platforming. You'll experience a similar effect with the introduction of Gravity Wall surfaces, essentially just another way of allowing you to climb walls. It's an element that's particularly highlighted in the game's two dimensional sequences. You'll be able to access side-scrolling platforming sequences by entering specific buildings, in tasks that focus on flipping polarity-altering switches, riding elevators, or attempting to avoid wall-spikes as you're thrown back and forth between different gravitational pulls. So beyond the simple paint-'em-up qualities of de Blob, you're given a secondary level of complexity with these physics puzzles.

The main issue that has been fixed since the original de Blob is the incredibly annoying save system. Previously each level would be broken into three sub-sections, but would only include one save point. This meant that completionists would be spending even longer playing a level if they ran into trouble at any point, as they'd often be forced to replay the same specific areas. This time around the game auto saves any time your Blob changes the game world.

Once you've dealt with the main storyline you'll be able to go back to previous levels to finish off leftover missions, or to paint any remaining objects you missed last time around. And happily by this point the game won't include a timer, meaning you'll be able to muck about the world at a relaxed pace. Generally speaking de Blob 2 appears to be an effort in tinkering with a formula without particularly changing it, but considering the relative success of its predecessor, it looks like the little Australian game that could is coming into its own as a franchise.

de Blob 2 is due for release on Wii, Xbox 360, PS3 and DS on February 25.

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Game Stats

Release Date: 25/03/2011
Publisher: THQ
Genre: Platformer
No. Players: 1-2
Rating: PEGI 3+
Site Rank: 2,265 245
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