Prior to playing the game at Nintendo’s press event last week, my expectations for THQ’s de Blob for the Wii were non-existent. However, once I started rolling around the game’s drab grey world, sloshing life-giving paint onto any object I bumped into, I was pretty immediately won over by the game’s charming visual style and OCD-baiting gameplay. It doesn’t seem like a complicated game, but the time I spent with de Blob was enjoyable nonetheless.
There’s some back story nonsense about the evil I.N.K.D. corporation stealing the color out of the world, but all you really need to know is that, as the titular Blob, your job is to absorb the color reservoirs of little color-sucking robots, then slap that paint onto your dreary surroundings. Simply bumping into objects like buildings, trees, and park benches will cause color to bleed out over them, the visual effect for which is pretty nice. Another nice and somewhat subtle touch is the way the music builds as you paint, with different colors of paint triggering different kinds of instruments.
The more you paint, the more the world around you expands. Paint a full block of buildings and revelrous residents will come pouring out; paint enough of the immediate area, and a path to the next area will open up. There will be missions that require you to paint certain objects certain colors or to create a new color by mixing together other colors, but frankly, I found the basic mechanics of painting stuff so satisfying that I didn’t feel the immediate need to bother with missions.
I also got to dabble around with a split-screen multiplayer mode that Jeff pretty aptly described as being like graffiti mode in Tony Hawk, with everyone running around, trying to paint the most objects. You can paint over objects your opponents have already painted, and there are various power-ups and traps you can lay to trip up the other players. It seemed OK, but there are seven other multiplayer modes in de Blob, so it’s not enough to dismiss the multiplayer out of hand.
I sensed shades of Jet Set Radio and Elebits–-two games I hold in good regard–during my session with de Blob, and I left curious to see if the game that gets built around it will be as entertaining as the core mechanics. I guess we’ll all find out when the game hits the Wii this September.