North American Wii cover art
|Developer(s)||Blue Tongue Entertainment (Wii)
8 July 2008
|Distribution||Nintendo optical disc, digital distribution|
de Blob, is a 2008 platform-puzzle video game that allows players to explore and liberate an alien city from the evil, monochromatic INKT Corporation that has taken over the city and outlawed all color and fun from daily life. Playing as de Blob, gamers embark on a quest to re-animate the fictional place of Chroma City (a parody of Manhattan), and bring character back to the oppressed, by splattering buildings, landmarks, and citizens with color.
de Blob was developed by Blue Tongue for the Wii and a cancelled version for the Nintendo DS was being made by the now-shut down developer Helixe, whose former employees have since formed DoubleTap Games. Both were published by THQ. The game was originally scheduled for a February 2008 release, but it was delayed and then released on 22 September 2008 for the Wii.
The player character — de Blob — starts out as a ball of clear "water". de Blob is free to roll around and collect paint from Paintbots in the three colors of red, yellow and blue, which can be combined into orange, green, purple, and brown. de Blob then merely has to touch a building, lamppost, billboard, or other object for the entire surface of said object to be smeared in his current color. As he colors the city, the game's soundtrack, featuring live bands which recorded slow and fast versions of each "lick" (each hit), gradually adds more instrumentation as well as an additional "layer" of sound corresponding to de Blob's current colour—being red usually adds a saxophone solo to the music, for example. As de Blob collects paint, his size increases to a maximum of 100; each object he paints costs a paint point, as does attacking enemies. de Blob can get rid of his colour with water.
While de Blob is free to paint, there are various missions which can or must be completed. These missions are given by various members of the Color Underground and include painting certain buildings certain colours and transforming a landmark with enough of a certain color of paint (for example, 30 yellow paint points). Each of the 10 huge levels have a main landmark to paint, which may require more than one colour and more paint points than usual.
There are various hazards to avoid, however. Pools of ink turn de Blob black and cause him to lose paint points constantly; when he reaches 0, he loses a life. Ink must be washed out with water. The INKT forces, Inkies, will send out footsoldiers to stop de Blob, as well as other forces—handheld ink guns, turrets, tanks, jetbikes, and even Inkies that are immune to all but one colour. There are other hazards such as hotplates, spikes, and electric plates.
As de Blob paints the city and completes missions, points are accumulated. Each gate separating the player from the next part of a stage can be opened by reaching a certain number of points. Once the final gate is open, the stage can be completed.
Told through a combination of pre-rendered cinematic sequences and in-game dialog, de Blob tells the story of Chroma City, its invasion by the INKT Corporation and its subsequent liberation by the titular Blob and the Colour Underground.
Initially a lively and colourful city populated by its equally colourful and diverse citizens, the Raydians, Chroma City is suddenly invaded by the INKT Corporation. A corporate military dictatorship, INKT is led by the villainous Comrade Black and dedicated to the eradication of colour through its "War on Colour". Chroma City quickly falls to the invading army of Inkies and colour-draining Leechbots, leaving its landscape barren, its flora withered and its fauna in hiding. The citizens are rounded up and turned into "Graydians", encased in homogeneous gray prison suits distinguished only by a bar code on the back of each shell. The Graydians are forced to serve as both menial labor and as a living resource of ink, mined literally from their sadness.
Hero Blob witnesses the takeover of Chroma City from his jungle retreat and goes into action, first rescuing the only remaining pocket of resistance, the "Colour Underground". Blob joins the group, and under their orders, begins to win back sections of the city and arouse the vicious ire of Comrade Black. Comrade Black orders everything from propaganda campaigns to the creation of supersoldiers in an attempt to stop Blob, to no avail.
With nearly all of Chroma City in control of the Colour Underground, Comrade Black desperately orders all his troops to retreat to his spaceship in Lake Raydia, and attempts to launch all the stolen colour into a black hole where it will be lost forever. Blob manages to stowaway onto the spaceship and defeat Comrade Black, then detonates a device that devours the spacecraft in a burst of color and whimsy. With the Raydians finally safe, Blob returns to the jungle, napping on a tree as he was at the story's beginning.
|This section requires expansion. (November 2010)|
The game de Blob was originally developed as a downloadable game for the Windows PC by eight students studying Game Design & Development at the Utrecht School of the Arts and one student studying Game and Media Technology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Five members of the team later formed Ronimo Games.
At the time of conception, sections of Utrecht were being rebuilt and the principal task in creating the game was to convey how the railroad station area of Utrecht would look in 10 years. The city of Utrecht has adopted the de Blob character as its mascot. THQ noticed the game and was very impressed with the team's work, and acquired the rights to the game. THQ handed over the game to Blue Tongue Entertainment and Helixe and the companies each developed their own versions for different consoles.
de Blob received favourable reviews overall. IGN called it "one of the best third-party efforts to come over to Wii in a long time." Nintendo Power said "Admittedly, there's not a ton of variety...but it remains fun throughout". Nintendo World Report claimed "de Blob is defined by its pure unadulterated fun", giving the game a 9.0 rating. Game Informer said "The game is missing the most important element to a game: the gameplay." Eurogamer described de Blob as "excellent and thoroughly original", while noting that "the best and worst thing about de Blob is that it's got 'Destined For Cult Status' written all over it". Edge rated de Blob 8/10, calling it "a game for meandering in, for absorbing and messing around with." Gamespot gave the Wii version 8.0/10. Official Nintendo Magazine awarded the game 92% and a Gold Award, stating that "de Blob is an absolutely flippin' awesome videogame." N-Europe said that De Blob was "the most colourful and ambitiously fresh" title on the Wii. It won or was nominated for several Wii-specific awards from IGN in its 2008 video game awards, including Best Platform Game, Best Graphics Technology, and Best Use of Sound. It was nominated for several other Wii-specific awards by IGN, including Best New IP, Best Original Score, Most Innovative Design, and Game of the Year.
de Blob sold more than 230,000 copies by December 2008 in the United States. THQ stated they have shipped more than 700,000 copies of the game, and have sold more than 700,000 copies worldwide. THQ CEO Brian Farrell believed the success of the game was related to its "Nintendo-esque" style. THQ responded to these sales by telling IGN to tell their readers to expect more de Blob in the future.
During THQ's fiscal third quarter conference call, president and CEO Brian Farrell announced both de Blob and Saints Row will see new titles in the coming years.
"Our de Blob franchise will be back again in fiscal 2011", stated Farrell. "We successfully launched this highly-rated franchise in fiscal 2009 to broad, critical acclaim."
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- de Blob Sequel Announced - Wii News at IGN