If you do decide to take the extra time, there are medals for liberating every trapped character, painting every building and tree and purging every scrap of INKT material. Completing these bonus tasks earns inspiration points to spend on Blob's abilities – how much paint he can carry at once, or how many lives he starts a level with. But the rewards for sticking around and mopping up every last patch of grey aren't enough to prevent you rushing towards the next new thing.
Besides, between levels, you get to see Blue Tongue's superb cut-scenes, which achieve Pixar-like expressiveness without the need for dialogue. The Inkies are charismatic, comedic baddies. They're led by Comrade Black, an Inky with an impressive hat, whose attempts to eliminate Blob get ever more elaborate and entertaining. These scenes really are something to look forward to rather than something to hammer the A button through – few developers recently have shown such a gift for cartoon slapstick comedy.
Blob himself (itself?) and his buddies aren't quite as characterful (I always have preferred bad guys). But he represents a sweet little message: don't worry, be happy, wear bright clothing, never be afraid to dance. When Blob first arrives in a colour-devoid city as a splash of bright yellow, surrounded on all sides by grumpy-looking, tie-wearing denizens with briefcases hurrying towards grey buildings without looking at each other, it's hard not to laugh.
There are a few things about de Blob 2 that could be better. The camera is wilful, fond of positioning itself in front of Blob rather than behind him and of swinging around just after (or even during) tricky jumps. Blob doesn't feel as elastic as I'd like – it's as if he's weighed down by all the paint. And the time limits are rather strange; they were generous enough not to be an actual problem for me at any point, but their presence still seems antithetical to de Blob's happy-go-lucky, paint-and-play philosophy.
The two-player co-operative mode is also half-baked. It gives player two an on-screen cursor to position over baddies and items, but in combination with the ever-moving camera it's extremely difficult to use. Considering that it's presumably intended to help younger players feel involved with their parents'/older siblings' game, that's not a good thing.
Ultimately, though, that excellent idea at its core is enough to keep you going all the way through to the end of de Blob 2. It's an endearing, creative and charismatic platformer with an abundance of bright ideas and the wisdom not to overplay any of them. It's just what you need in the middle of a dull, grey February.
8 / 10
This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game – we were unable to obtain Wii code in time to test it out fully, but we will update the text with any significant differences.