De Blob PS4 Review: Kind of a Mess, But Still Fun

by David Sanchez December 6, 2017 @ 10:38 am

When de Blob launched for the Wii all the way back in 2008, it quickly became one of the most beloved third-party offerings on the console. I missed out on the game back then, and I always felt like it was a must-play Wii title that eluded me. I got a second chance to check out de Blob recently on PlayStation 4, and after now playing it, I don’t really think I missed that much almost a decade ago. That said, while de Blob is most certainly flawed, it’s still a fun time for the most part.

You play as a group of rebels in a war against the vile INKT Corporation. The villainous group is out to rid the world of color, and it’s your job to put an end to that plan. There’s a Pixar-esque charm to the way de Blob handles its tale of war and revolution, but admittedly, the gibberish-filled cutscenes that play before you start each of the game’s 10 stages are hardly exciting to watch. They’re also kind of ugly, with low-res visuals that look like they were taken straight from the original Wii game.

Levels in de Blob are quite sizable, with multiple sections containing different objectives. These sections are locked at first, and in order to open up new areas, and ultimately the exit, you must first obtain a predetermined score. Racking up points can be done in several ways. The most straightforward way to earn points is by painting everything in sight. This is done by collecting color pick-ups that change protagonist Blob’s color and then basically just touching everything from walls to buildings to friendly characters.

Aside from just painting the levels, there are also different objective-based challenges for you to complete that really up your score. Challenges include defeating waves of enemies, painting entire blocks of buildings, and adding combinations of specific colors to different landmarks. Nothing’s especially difficult to do, but because Blob doesn’t exactly control all that well, it’s easy to fumble around the levels, which leads to frustration since every challenge runs on a timer.

Though fun, the challenges can be a bit too simple. And after about an hour of playing, you’ll notice that there are really only a handful of these, and they repeat all too often. It won’t be long before you’re burnt out on painting color-coded buildings or eliminating pesky baddies.

It’s hard not to get hung up on the fact that de Blob is nine-year-old game because, well, it plays exactly like what you’d expect a nine-year-old game to play like. It’s not really polished, the camera’s a pain to deal with at times, and the controls aren’t the most responsive. In fact, it’s the controls that led to some of the most frustrating moments I had playing. The bigger Blob gets, the more unwieldy he becomes, and in levels that focus on having you scaling tall buildings while avoiding obnoxiously-placed obstacles, this is really problematic.

You can get through the 10 stages in de Blob in four or five hours if you just play the required challenges to get to the exits. But if you want to complete every challenge and earn every post-level medal, you’re bound to spend double or even triple that amount of time. But honestly, I can’t see how anyone would want to have to deal with the game’s problems just to do everything it has to offer, even if it is entertaining along the way. There’s also a multiplayer mode with a handful of throwaway mini-games, but it’s largely forgettable.

Visually speaking, a proper HD remaster this is not. A lot of the care you see put into some other more recent HD remakes is sorely missing here. That said, the game still has an undeniable level of charm thanks in part to its animated film vibe and focus on color. It’s not pretty, but it’s still fairly endearing to look at.

Thankfully, the music of de Blob holds up a lot better than the graphics. You’ll hear each of the game’s tunes for extended periods as you tackle the lengthy levels, but all of the tracks are actually pretty good. They’re all super catchy, too, and because they get slightly remixed depending on Blob’s color at any given moment, they’re really fun to listen to and never get old. That funk-influenced mix that’s triggered by purple Blob is especially cool.

In 2008, de Blob was pretty much considered a must-play. That’s no longer the case in 2017, when there are so many platformers that are more enjoyable overall and more fun to play. Still, there’s no denying that de Blob is a delightful little game. The $20 asking price is a bit steep, but if you’re feeling nostalgic, or if you catch it on sale, there’s some good fun to be had here.

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