Color! After a long winter of heavy gray, one's eyes are practically dying to drink in some natural vibrancy. Green leaves, blue skies, brown bark, red sunsets, all lit up by an almost cartoonishly bright yellow sun. The endless white and gray of winter can, to put it as politely as possible, piss off. And here's de Blob 2, a game about injecting vivid color into a dull and lifeless world, proving once again that timing is everything.
After Blob kicked Comrade Black and his I.N.K.T. Corporation out of Prisma City in the original de Blob, there was only a brief vacation before Black returned. The Comrade has (somehow) once again leeched the color out of the city, forcing the citizenry into lives of bland conformity in a featureless world. Just as in the original de Blob, it's your job to liven up the city by soaking up color and spreading it around to every building, citizen, billboard, and tree you can find.
de Blob 2 is an strong improvement over the original in just about every way.
Blob can absorb a color either by soaking in a paint pool or smashing into a paint-bot, and simply touching a building will paint it that color. Once an entire block or building cluster has been colored, the gray and downtrodden residents come out to be painted back to their original upbeat, lively selves. The music picks up, cars fly about, the streets fill with people, and Blob gets that little bit closer to defeating the forces of utter blandness.
While the Inkies aren't about to put up with this, they aren't particularly good at fighting back. So long as Blob has paint he can take them down with ease thanks to a helpful lock-on and very fast slam attack. Some Inkies require a charging attack while others can only be taken out by a specific color, but all of them are pushovers. While de Blob 2 is vibrant and fun, it's a theme throughout the entire game that there's not a lot of challenge to be had. As Blob goes through the (very long) levels taking out story missions and tracking down the usual assortment of collectibles, losing a life is usually due more to carelessness than a tough stretch of enemies. Blob's health is his paint meter, and there's plenty to go around. Time is a bigger enemy than Comrade Black.
Each level starts out with the timer ticking away, and there's no way to reach the end without grabbing a few pick-ups along the way. Freeing Prisma City's residents and taking out clusters of Inkies usually earns thirty seconds to a minute bonus time, but it's still easy to have the clock run down while exploring off the beaten path. When the story section of the level is over, Blob can look around at his leisure, but it's still hard to resist the urge to poke into every nook and cranny until then.
Once the story section is complete, however, bonus missions open up, though these lean towards OCD busywork rather than a gaming challenge: paint all the buildings in a section, take out all Inkies, break all of an item, or do a little platforming to reach the billboards. After that you can color all the trees and and missed residents before leaving the level at last, which may be a good idea unless you want to redo all the story sections from scratch. Thankfully, levels save after every completed mission and goal, nicely fixing the biggest problem with the original de Blob.
de Blob 2 is an strong improvement over the original in just about every way. The numerous cut scenes are funnier, the world is bigger and more detailed, the side-scrolling sections inside buildings supplement the free-roaming aspects very well, and the only thing missing is the sense of Revolution! that permeated the first game. The levels are huge and get more creative the deeper in you go, and while the challenges get a bit repetitious they still manage to be entertaining just out of sheer vitality. It's incredibly satisfying to chase the gray out of the city, driving away the gloominess and injecting life and color into everything you touch. de Blob 2 is a bright and upbeat shot of anarchy-lite, and a fun little antidote to the gray pre-spring blahs.