In the world of de Blob, the INKT Corporation has robbed the landscape of Chroma City of its color. In order to save them from the gray institutional architecture of the corporation, your role as the Blob is to literally paint the city alive again. It’s a novel and unique concept of the game. Basically, de Blob is a top down platform game with your usual array of bad guys and power ups but the point is to pick up colored paintballs and slosh your way throughout the cityscape much like Sonic does when he’s running around to collect rings. You move de Blob either through tilting the iPhone up and down or by using a finger to continuously drag the Blob in the direction you want to go. Bad guys can be attacked by stomping on them and in the iPhone version of the game that means hitting the targeted critters with a precise finger touch.
De Blob has developed a cute and intriguing visual style to it. The neat thing is you get to control it by running the town over in colors. With colors you’ll turn black dead trees into green ones, park spaces come alive with grass and the residents of Chroma City, who wander around like gray zombies, will start taking on color and jumping around in joy with a fleeter foot in their step. I loved the way the game simply lit up as you played it. The soundtrack and audio effects that accompany the game are spot on for the material.
With respect to the gameplay itself, De Blob is divided into different city blocks, which naturally act as stages in the game. Within each stage, there is an overall time limit in which you have to liberate a certain percentage of the people and paint a number of buildings. Along the way, there will also be people offering side missions a la Grand Theft Auto but obviously on a much smaller scale. Some of the NPCs will ask you to attack and kill a certain number of bad guys. Some will ask you to do a timed race separated by a series of checkpoints. At the completion of a mission you get additional points and the time on the level is extended. You don’t have to complete all the missions, which is a nice thing about de Blob, so if racing isn’t your thing, you don’t have to do those ones. In the aftermath of a failed combat mission, I didn’t like the fact that you were still ambushed by the same drones that were spawned purposely for the mission (they become a permanent fixture in the city block).
The levels themselves don’t take too long to complete so you can put your game on hold. There are over a dozen stages involved and upon finishing a stage in the campaign mode (known as Revolution), you can also go back and play each stage during the Free Splash mode.
I came away very impressed with De Blob. It is a very interesting game based on a concept developed by some Netherlands students and the title definitely has a European feel to it. It’s also a treat that the mobile platform is getting the game first. While this version on the iPhone won’t have 3D graphics that the forthcoming Wii version is going to sport, it’s able to capably stand on its own.