All together now - booooooooooooo!
Looking like the illegitimate child of Batman and a space hopper, the Blob certainly takes after his dad when it comes to saving the world. You see, the evil Comrade Black, the leader of the INKT Corporation is back, and ready to wage his war on colour once more. Disguised as Papa Blanc, the leader of the Blanc Party, he's trying to rig the election to trick the fun-loving Raydian people, so he can rule Prisma City with a gray fist. It's up to the Blob, his friend Pinky and the rest of the Colour Underground to put a stop to his evil plan, before it's too late.
This is where you come in. Playing as the Blob, you get to roll round the various levels basically colouring everything in again. You do this by soaking up paint and rolling round bumping into buildings and the like to colour them in. Along the way you'll find groups of citizens who've been brainwashed and turned into Graydians - you can free them by rolling over them and painting them too. Every so often, you'll have to climb inside key buildings and liberate them from the inside out, by activating various coloured switches, smashing through walls and slamming colour on the INKT guards to bring them to their senses.
De Blob 2 is essentially a platform game - you'll need to jump from building to building and platform to platform, colouring them in as you go, and in the inside sections you'll be avoiding all sorts of traps, which could drain your colour, preventing you from pressing a coloured switch or smashing through a wall. Every building and enemy you colour in and every INKT object you smash costs a certain number of paint points - the Blob can hold one hundred at once, but with your dash costing eighty at once, you'll need a certain amount of planning and some backtracking to pick up more paint for you to successfully complete the level. A few levels in, the concept of mixing colours by smashing robots full of paint is introduced, so you'll find yourself thinking back to primary school trying to remember which colours make brown so you can colour in the library.
Blob's the king of the castle, and Comrade Black's the dirty rascal.
Attacking the various INKT Corporation employees is a simple matter of holding LT and pressing A to jump on top of them, turning them into normal, colourful citizens in the process. Or at least, it's simple to begin with - the problem comes when different enemies start to be introduced, like ones that need to be charged at, rather that squashed, especially when the ones that have spikes on the top of them start to appear. Holding LT simply targets the nearest enemy - which means, while your happily squashing your everyday garden enemies, some twat with his stupid spiky head will come and you'll attempt to jump him into oblivion, not realising he's there, only to get hurt instead.
For people like me, who get rather OCD about collectables and pickups, you'll love De Blob 2 - there's about 12 Style pick-ups per level (that let you paint buildings in different designs), 10 Gallery cards (that unlock pictures and movies in the gallery) and 40 or 50 Inspiration lightbulbs, which can be exchanged for upgrades for Blob. Some are in obvious places like on top of buildings or boats, but some are harder to find, located in various nooks and crannies, or down the little manhole things, behind smashable walls. Whereas a lot of games let you come back later and pick up the few you missed, saving the ones you had found before, in this if you don't manage to find them all on your first go through, you'll need to come back and find all of them again another day.
But what is obviously intended to be a fun, happy go lucky, relaxing game can turn into the spawn of Satan at times. The levels are very, very long - which wouldn't be too much of a problem if it weren't for the lack of checkpoints - if you die you are reset miles back, sometimes by an hour or more. Another needless addition is the time limit, which yo-yos between ample time and ohmygodIonlyhavetensecondsleft, depending on the circumstances - for example, I finished the first level with thirty eight minutes to spare, yet died twice on the second level from running out of time. I loathe and detest time limits at the best of times, seeing as I like to amble round collecting the various collectables, admiring the scenery and just generally messing about, but here more than a couple of collectable detours could spell serious trouble.
My strategy to get round this is to take less detours and just go from mission to mission in each level, because once you finish the level the time limit is abolished, letting you wonder round to your heart's content, collecting stuff and completing the myriad of extra challenges that appear once you've finished the level. But even then, you can still find yourself struggling for time, seeing as the main source of extra time comes from painting buildings to release Graydians, which when liberated, reward you with extra time - which you find yourself doing less of if you're taking the direct route through the level.
2D sections let you transform the buildings from the inside out.
While not a phenomenally difficult game, you may find yourself struggling with the time limit - if this is the case, there is an easier difficulty setting available, where it gives you a lot time, as well as more lives. It also makes the painting challenges much, much easier, as once you've splatted the correct colour on a building it stays that way - on normal difficulty, you often find you have to paint the buildings in a specific order. For example, if you had a square building that needs to be painted red, with a big pillar on top that wants to be yellow, you'll have to be yellow first as you'll need to jump onto the square building to paint the pillar, before changing to red for the building. This means the easy mode would be perfect for younger players - although it doesn't solve the infrequent checkpoint problem.
A second player can lend a hand too as Blob's partner in crime, Pinky, in a similar style to Super Mario Galaxy or Rabbids Go Home - they control a targeting circle on-screen that lets them shoot enemies and crates, paint trees and Graydians, collect time, change Blob's colour and save him if he falls in pools of ink. Again, this would be great for helping out kids or less experienced players, although we would have liked proper LEGO-style co-op, where you need to work together to solve puzzles and stuff, but I guess you can't win them all...
Despite it's irritating flaws, De Blob 2 is still a very good game - just make sure you set aside plenty of time for it, as the levels are long, with few - if any - checkpoints. It could have been so much better though, with the addition of more regular checkpoints and completely removing the time limit, as these can make it seem unnecessarily harsh when you do fail - so much so people may get put off by it.
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