previews\ Oct 21, 2007 at 8:00 pm

de Blob - WII - Preview 2

E for All 2007 Preview

Kids love markers. They love them so much that, if not supervised, they may just run wild and cover the whole house in red, green, and blue. But what might be ugly to Mommy and Daddy is a beautiful masterpiece to little Timmy – a world he can call his own.

With a mix of that whimsical, childlike behavior, Katamari Damacy-style controls, and environments that have no color, de Blob is a new, Wii and DS-exclusive adventure game for the masses. You control a blob whose body is capable of absorbing color. The color then flies off de Blob as he rolls across the world, which begins with nothing more than a series of white buildings.

Paint is acquired via walking canisters. New colors are forged by slamming into more than one canister before the current paint color runs out. The game doesn't provide a meter for this purpose, but the average canister seemed to last for 60 - 90 seconds. After that de Blob returned to his normal white color, which has a slight gray hue.

The controls are coming along well but do not appear to be specifically designed for the Wii remote (even though this is a Wii exclusive as far as the home consoles are concerned). Character movement is tied to the nunchuck as expected. You'll use the thumbstick to roll through the game's 3D worlds, and press the A button to jump. This works fine, but at the same time I wonder: where are the motion or point-based elements? It'd be great if you could launch color from de Blob's ogre-like body by waving the remote toward the area of the screen you wish to paint.

Many of the areas in the game are platform-heavy, so you'll spend a lot of time climbing buildings, jumping over bridges, and avoiding patches of water. H2O may be refreshing to us, but one splash and de Blob loses his color. The effect is cool – it washes his body with the subtleties of real paint. But then you have to look for more canisters, and if your paint was a special mix, you'll need to find more than one before getting back to the mission.

de Blob's demo goals were limited by time and required the player to seek out several areas of the level. Once found, de Blob could jump on or roll up against them to add color or change their current color to the one that has been requested. A small map on the bottom right side of the screen showed where to travel, but this feature did not seem to be complete. It was usually easier to ignore the map (because it wasn't always accurate) and paint everything in sight. This seemed to be the preferred method of play by the kids and parents that flooded de Blob's kiosks.

If you're into the rolling-through-the-world, influence-what-you-touch gameplay of Katamari Damacy, de Blob should be your next favorite game. Look for it in the first quarter of 2008.

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