Originally released in 2011, de Blob 2 is a 3D platformer who’s initial version was developed by Blue Tongue Entertainment, and the port to the current generation systems was developed by BlitWorks. I never had the opportunity to play the original, so I was extremely eager to experience it for the first time and be able to take it with me on the go.
de Blob 2’s story surprised me with just how well written it was. 3D platformers aren’t always known for interesting stories and focus more on gameplay, but de Blob 2’s plot is unique and interesting, and even includes subtle political tones. Starting where the first game left off, de Blob 2’s main antagonist, Comrade Black, a ruthless leader set on turning the entire world black and white void of any beauty, returns in another attempt to rid the world of color. This time, however, he’s brought help. Papa Blanc is the cult leader, who brainwashes the unsuspecting civilians of Prisma City as they become part of “The Blancs”. The cute and heroic protagonist Blob has to team up with his friends to bring back the color into the world.
While I say “where the first game left off”, the story is not deep enough to require playing the first game. Its main purpose is to give the player a motivation to see the game through to the end and piece together the multiple stages of the game, in the same way, you don’t need to have played any previous Mario titles to understand Super Mario Odyssey’s plot.
The story is told through cute, well-made cutscenes. While there is no voice acting, the characters speak their own language akin to the language the Inklings use in Splatoon. I find that oftentimes games whose character dialogue sound like random noises get very annoying and repetitive, but in de Blob, the range of expression still conveys the emotion of the characters and remains interesting enough to keep the volume. If you’re really not in the mood for cutscenes, during the loading screen there is a small recap in the form of a small comic, keeping even the most impatient gamers up to date.
Once the game starts you are introduced to the several gameplay mechanics that the game consists of. Moving and jumping around the levels is pretty obvious as it follows the same control scheme as every other 3D platformer. It gets more intricate when Blob starts using his array of special moves. Blobs main attack is jumping onto enemies and objects, but there are also stronger attacks for tougher objects and enemies.
With all these different obstacles present on the screen it would be easy to constantly hit the wrong targets, but that’s where the ever so important lock-on system comes in. Holding the LZ trigger enables you to lock onto targets, and moving the right stick shifts the targets. It works incredibly well and makes traversing through the levels and smashing every enemy fast-paced and enjoyable.
The other important factor of gameplay, of course, is coloring the city. At the beginning of each stage, Blob starts off colorless and in order to absorb color needs to either jump into the puddles of colored ink or jump onto the inkbots, Comrade Blacks robots that suck up ink off the street and keep it in a container.
Throughout the stages, certain buildings need to be painted specific colors. The buildings are painted merely by touching them, and colors can be switched by jumping into the corresponding puddles, or mixing them with the colors from the inkbots. These small objectives are supposed to break the monotony of jumping around destroying and painting everything so carelessly by requiring a more precise movement. However, I found them to be uninteresting and tedious rather than serving their intended purpose.
Another attempt the game makes to switch up gameplay is the 2D sections in each stage. Throughout the game, you are tasked with infiltrating the various underground bases of Comrade Black and Papa Blanc, either to save civilians, weed out the enemies, or opening up a color reservoir. These 2D sections use the same lock-on system but introduce more puzzles and challenges, with certain switches and doors only being unlockable with certain colors, and more obstacles to avoid. These sections are the perfect break from the usual gameplay and add far more playability.
Something that really stuck out to me in de Blob 2 was not just the soundtrack, but the sound production as a whole. At the beginning of a level, the area is grey, there is almost no sound, and it matches the dreary colorless world perfectly. As you go around bringing the city back to color and life, the sounds of the city and the music starts to fill your ears.
With every splat of paint on a building, an instrument would play a quick jingle. Not only that, but each color had its own distinct instrument, which kept the sounds from becoming repetitive, and no level ever sounded the same. As satisfying as it was to see my progress in a level as more and more color appeared, I found it just as rewarding to hear all the progress I had made.
The biggest gripe that I had with the game was the timer. While you complete all the objectives in the levels, a timer counts down in the top middle of the screen. If the timer runs out before you complete the levels, it resets you back to the begging. This is the game’s solution to my other complaint of the game being too easy, but I find it to be more of an annoyance than a boost in difficulty.
When you restart, the clock is set to whatever time you had when you hit the checkpoint instead of giving you the little extra time the player obviously needs. It’s pretty easy to pick up extra time by smashing crates, but if you happen to be in one of the platforming sections, there’s no way around having to restart.
As a fan of fun, lighthearted platformers, I had a good time with de Blob 2. Interesting gameplay mechanics, great soundtrack and a cute art style, all make this an enjoyable experience. On the surface, it’s a fun game that anyone in the house can enjoy. As you play longer, the game’s attempts to break up the slightly repetitive gameplay, fall short, even with the 2D sections.
At $30 on the North American e-Shop it’s not a bad deal, and if you’re a fan of the series, de Blob 2 is certainly an excellent addition to your Switch library. If you haven’t played either of the games but are a fan of platformers that aren’t too difficult or are looking for a great game for your kids, I definitely recommend checking this out. If you’re unsure, or just scrolled past de Blob 2 in the e-Shop and thought it looked interesting, I would recommend holding off. Wait for a sale, or give the game a test run on an older system as the copies are cheaper, but the Switch version is certainly the best way to experience the game. It is a great game to just pick up and play.
A Nintendo Switch review copy of De Blob 2 was provided by THQ Nordic for the purpose of this review.