de Blob 2 on the PS3
After first making an appearance on the Wii, and then taking a turn on mobile platforms, de Blob 2 is coming to the PlayStation 3 for the first time, in a direct sequel to the original. Since it comes from a motion-sensitive background, it is no surprise to see support for PlayStation Move controls integrated into the game, but you need not have invested in Sony’s latest peripheral if you want to enjoy its colorful world for a few hours.
The aim in de Blob 2 is to turn the monochromatic world into a hive of colorful loveliness, and thanks to the superior power of the PlayStation 3, the graphics are far crisper and more vibrant than on the Nintendo Wii. You move around the eponymous hero, and at its most basic, it is a kind of paint by numbers platformer, where you literally have to follow the required color scheme in order to progress. The story is thin on the ground, but the selection of cut scenes do a good job of bringing the broadly drawn characters to life, and the simple black and white of the good versus evil plot is pleasingly reflected in the gameplay, which is not something that can be boasted by many other games.
The platforming in de Blob 2 is slick and works well with whichever control scheme you choose to employ. There is a timer which runs down, giving you an incentive to complete objectives or have your progress reset to the most recent checkpoint, but the levels are open enough to allow you a degree of exploration, as long as you can deal with the occasional setback. The game will largely see you navigating the kinds of 3D worlds which have been standard fare for over 15 years, but occasional side-scrolling sections along a 2D plane help to mix things up and give it a retro feel.
The most taxing stages of de Blob 2 can see you shouting at your PlayStation 3 with frustration, as you will be required to paint out specific patterns on a course of surfaces, and without practice it can become a little confusing. This is all part of the learning curve, but in a game that is designed with a kid-friendly graphical style, it might be seen as a small setback. Two players can jump into the game in either split-screen co-op mode, or an alternative, which mirrors Super Mario Galaxy’s standard setup with one player controlling de Blob while the other takes control of a pointer to achieve secondary tasks and help the first player along.
You gain new abilities to help you traverse the tricky platforms and paint with greater finesse as the game progresses, and the development team have done a good job of crafting the world in a coherent, cohesive manner. The chirpy musical score, great effects and sharp graphics do not have the realism or grit which is expected in more adult titles, which makes the experience relatively intriguing, particularly for those whose PlayStation 3 game library may contain several Call of Duty titles and God of War III.