THQ Nordic is on a roll at the moment, they have released some excellent remasters of their back catalogue, like de Blob, along with some new content like Black Mirror and Rad Rodgers. Not only this, they have also acquired Koch Media and have a host of games coming soon such as Darksiders 3 and Biomutant – THQ really is making a strong come-back as a brand! So, you can imagine how happy I was when I saw that not only were we getting de Blob but we were also getting de Blob 2 remastered for modern consoles. I have such fond memories of this game as it’s the one I used to play the most on my Xbox 360 back in the day – So, let’s take control of Blob and paint this town red as we face off against Comrade Black one more time.
de Blob 2 is very similar to de Blob in more than just the mechanics, the story begins with Blob once again landing within a town drained of colour and life. As he makes his way through to Prisma City, colouring in everything along his way and bringing and song and dance into everyone’s hearts, he discovers that Papa Blanc, a priest-like figure, is actually Comrade Black (who was our antagonist in the first game) in disguise! He’s back with his army of grey goons as they seek out all forms of colour and drain it whilst rigging the current election in Comrade Black’s favour so that he may, once again, be the evil ruler of the land.
Now, it’s up to Blob to once again harness his paint-sucking abilities and go around colouring in all that has been drained whilst saving the civilians from their monotone-monstrosity by literally ‘slapping them with colour’. This time though, Blob isn’t taking on this rather big task on his own, he is joined by a fellow companion called Pinky, who is surprisingly bright pink. de Blob 2 offers some new mechanics and some new gameplay perspectives which we didn’t see in the original along with a co-op aspect during the main game. The levels are once again huge 30-60 minute adventures and this time there is more to do once you hit the levels end-point. Blob really has begun his biggest adventure to date.
Gameplay wise, if you have read my review of the original de Blob then you can skip this paragraph! In order to liberate the level you are in, you must “paint the town red” so to speak. As a literal blob, Blob can absorb paint by sitting in pools of colour, jumping on tank Inkies (enemies with colour tanks on their backs) or via the new ink fountains (which shoot a colour up into the air). Once you have colour in your cheeks, you simply roll, smack, bump, and slam into anything and everything and it will once again regain colour and life – buildings and objects will be coloured in with the colour you have and the landscape will be restored to their original colour. Also returning is the ability to mix colours, so you can become a yellow ball of Sunny-D and then slam into a tank Inkie who is carrying blue and instantly become Green Meanie; however, this time around you will also see ink pools of brown, purple, orange and green – so you don’t always have to mix colours to get these as they are sometimes pre-mixed.
Another new colour is the ‘Rainbow ability’ which is a godsend for the parts I hate the most, the parts where you have to colour a whole block of buildings in certain colours. If you haven’t played the game before then you may not understand – they have buildings with various layers, so in order to get to some buildings, you are required to jump on others. One of the tasks is to colour them in certain colours and it’s so easy to bump the wrong one and have to go back and re-colour your blob – which can get a bit tedious. The Rainbow ability basically lets you hit anything you want and it will instantly be the colour it has to be to pass the task at hand! These abilities are very rare though and the majority of the time, you won’t have one.
As with the first title, you are given a time limit when you enter the stage – there is an easy mode which gives you more time if you are struggling. As you colour things in, complete tasks, take out the Inkies and save the citizens, you will receive clocks as rewards which gradually increase the timer 30-60 seconds here and there. However, once you have finished all the main mission points of the level Pinkie will appear and the timer will stop – this gives you the chance to go back and complete everything you missed without the fear of running out of time. My advice, B-line to the end of the level and then literally make the level your playground as you go around completing all the tasks and finding all the collectables.
One of the first changes you’ll notice is how you take over the major landmarks. In the original game you would just become a specific colour and then bash into the building to take it over and colour it in – in de Blob 2 you still have to be a certain colour and have enough ink absorbed in order to ‘attack’ the building but this time you go inside and into a 2.5D mode! These segments usually consist of you travelling through tunnels and rooms as you find colours, hit coloured switches, avoid oil and water whilst defeating enemies and mini-boss priests. These are great at first as they really help give you a break between the 3D colouring-in you are doing but they do become more and more frequent later on which kinda makes you wish they had another approach to taking over buildings as well in order to mix it up a little.
Another change comes in the form of a new move – a charge attack. This consumes a lot of your coloured ink supply but it allows Blob to smash through multiple enemies, break crates, bash in secret walls and even damage heavy tanks (as in the vehicles, not the tanks on the back of Inkies). de Blob 2 also comes with new and old collectables, you still have your ‘Style’ bonuses, which increase your score, but this time we also have light bulbs and gallery pics to collect. The gallery pics unlock gallery pics (clearly) but the light bulbs allow you to upgrade your skills in designated upgrade points. This is a cool mechanic as you can reduce the amount of ink you use during the dash attack, increase your health and defence and even increase how many bullets player two has (I’ll come to this in a minute). Word of advice, if you are going for the platinum then DON’T buy any upgrades – a trophy relies on you completing the game from beginning to end with no upgrades bought.
Another big difference is the end-game (per level). Once you reach Pinkie and you have the ability to explore, you can bring up your map and see all the things you missed in regards to buildings to colour, trees, crates to smash and bonus tasks. The bonus tasks are new – they are mini-objectives for you to complete. I found that most of these I had already completed so upon starting some missions, I was just greeted with a “You have already done this, thank you Blob” and received my light bulb reward. These tasks add more gameplay to the exploration once the timer is gone and offers tasks whilst continuing to colour-in the towns.
The enemies have been enhanced for the sequel – we have the return of the standard Inkies and the tank Inkies but also have Blancs (priest-like enemies), tanks, mounted turrets, remote controlled UFOS, and some specialised Inkies with unique abilities. Most enemies can be destroyed by simply jumping then homing in on them with a butt-smash but the UFOs have to be dodged by ducking before they see you and then taking out their controller Inkie. If the UFO grabs you then it will try and drag you into the nearest black ink puddle (which damages you). It would have been nice if they had given us more attacks and allowed us to take out enemies differently, but it’s a game aimed at kids with the emphasis on colouring-in – so it’s all good!
The multiplayer returns once again, only this time as a co-op! During the actual game, a second player can jump in and take control of Pinkie – they will be able to shoot at Inkies, pick up items and paint the various objects. It’s not exactly a full-on Co-op experience but if you have a younger child who is having trouble, you could take over from them and they can jump in as player two so they don’t feel left out while you help them.
However, we do have a full-on multiplayer co-op mode which I’m happy to say is great. You play through the main campaign levels with a friend and have to paint the whole of the map in a much shorter time than you do in single player. Team-work is key as you must spread out and not cover the same grounds if you wish to be successful. This aspect was really fun to play, even though it was a lot harder, as it expands on the single-player aspect rather than just tacking on a multiplayer mode for the sake of it.
Now onto two things I really didn’t like – which is a shame as the first game nailed it so I’m not sure if it’s a port issue or if it was like this back in the day, I really can’t remember if it was this bad.
1. The camera controls are terrible. The camera has this thing where it likes to tell you what it thinks you should be looking at – so as you move and start jumping on buildings if you rotate the camera, a few seconds later the camera will snap back to its original position. I don’t just mean in regards to up and down, I mean left and right! This makes some jumps and precise colouring-in a bit of a pain at times. I found that I was constantly fighting with the camera and it really annoyed me – I imagine it is trying to centre it behind your head, but it does it every few seconds and usually it’s right at the moment you don’t want it too.
2. The light bar no longer lights up in the colour you have absorbed. Okay, this one is a PS4 only issue and one that was an added bonus with the first game but still, if the first game had the light bar on the controller change to the colour you are currently drenched in, why doesn’t the sequel? Especially when the sequel is almost double the price. This one didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the game, so it won’t go against my grade, but it’s still something I feel shouldn’t have been removed/missing from de Blob 2 on PS4.
With that out of the way, onto the great things – Graphics and sound. Graphically the game is just as gorgeous as the first game. It’s been fully remastered this time, so all the cutscenes are a much higher quality and the game itself seems a lot sharper and brighter! Even on a 1080p TV with my pro, the colours were popping out of the screen with all the simple textures that are coloured in neon-like tones. Speaking of tones… The staple audio is back once again. You have a jazz-like beat playing constantly in the background on a loop and as you colour things in you get different musical tones playing – if you haven’t played either of the games, this is great. Depending on your colour and what you’re painting, the tones and instruments will be different so you are literally making the music up as you go along.
The game also ran without a hitch on my PS4 Pro – no obvious slowdowns, no stutter, no pacing issues, no crashes, nothing.
Trophy Wise, the game has a 30+ hours estimated completion time and a 4/10 difficulty rating on www.playstationtrophies.org. There is one missable which I mentioned above, you have to play the game without buying any upgrades, other than that all the levels can be replayed and there are plenty of guides out there telling you where all the collectables are. This is a game where I would probably advise using a guide if going for the platinum as I haven’t so far and I’ve spent about 90 minutes on each level and still can’t find all of the items. Supposedly some items can only be collected at certain points of the level – so I imagine I’ve just missed them. Either way – happy hunting!
de Blob 2 took everything that was popular and iconic about the first game and expanded on just about every aspect for the sequel. In terms of the remaster, this one looks a lot nicer with higher resolution cutscenes and sharper visuals. Fans of the original game will be happy with all the new mechanics in play and those seeking a challenge will love the Blob Party mode. Even though the camera is a new enemy which you must constantly face off against, the game was still a joy to play and impressed me in every other way. I have no problem recommending this to people who played the original game, the remastered first game or even to de Blob virgins.
de Blob 2
- Music is great with the whole 'making it up as you go along' approach
- The graphics look great for the remaster - very colourful
- The new mechanics are welcomed and work well
- The new Blob Party offers a challenge to even the hardcore players
- New tasks added once you get to the end of a level which make the final clean-up more enjoyable
- The light bar no longer lights up in the absorbed inks colour
- The game begins to over-use the 2.5D segments
- The camera controls are your worst enemy
- Priced £10 more than the first game, although I don't see why