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de Blob Review - Wii

8
Gameplay: 7 stars 7
Graphics: 8 stars 8
Audio: 9 stars 9
Multiplayer: 5 stars 5
Innovation: 7 stars 7
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Introduction

I’ve reviewed some Australian games in the past. They are not always particularly good. In our fledgling industry, it is rare that you see a game with a new concept faithfully brought to fruition. Sure, we do a lot of racing games, and some decent platformers, but the small studios and small budgets of our nation tend to prevent risky, innovative ideas from getting off the ground. There are exceptions, though; we can claim 2K Boston/2K Australia’s BioShock as one of our own, and the subject of this review, de Blob, deserves similar recognition. While the game's original concept was developed by a team of eight students in The Netherlands' Utrecht School of the Arts – it was going to be a PC downloadable title –THQ saw the potential, acquired the rights, and gave it to the Blue Tongue team in Melbourne.

Gameplay

The concept of de Blob is simple. The colourful Chroma City has been taken over by the evil INKT Corporation, and its inhabitants, the Raydians, have been imprisoned. Comrade Black, INKT’s autocrat, despises colour and has desaturated the world into monochrome. Our hero and protagonist, the titular Blob, sees the devastation from his home in the outskirts of the city, and with the help of some underground revolutionaries, he sets out to bring colour back to the world and overthrow the dictatorship.

As de Blob, you navigate through the environments, collecting paint from small storage robots and liberally spreading it across buildings, reclaiming landmarks and beating back the enemy forces. Only the three primary colours are collected – red, yellow and blue – but if you smash a robot and mix colours you can make four more: orange, green, purple and brown (with all three). You’ll need to keep an eye on the paint you’re holding, as it represents your health – spikes will drain points, as will extended periods in water. The INKT forces will spray you with ink, which can kill you if you don’t find some fresh water to clean off.

Some enemies require considerable amounts of paint to dispatch – up to fifty points, of a possible one hundred – and painting the environment costs a point for each object. Every ten points, you get physically bigger, which on occasion lends an unintended, I suspect, challenge to certain objectives when you realise you are actually too big or slow to overcome a certain obstacle and must use up some paint. You spend points fighting enemies and bringing colour back to the buildings of Chroma City, but you need to keep up the paint to transform landmarks and stay alive. There’s a persistent push and pull between the two opposites – it’s very elegant.

Every object you paint contributes to your score, though you get less for touching something that has already been coloured in. When you reach certain thresholds, you'll automatically unlock gates to new areas, and earn Transform Engines that appear in predetermined locations to take some of the hard work out of its reclamation. ...

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