THQ Wii Showcase • Page 4

Battle of the Bands, Big Beach Sports, Deadly Creatures and de Blob.

de Blob

  • Developer - Blue Tongue
  • Release date - September

We like games with nice indie back-stories, so we'll indulge de Blob's: originally a Dutch PC freeware game that you can still download, it was put together by Utrecht University students to show how the railroad section of the city might appear in ten years' time. For some reason the answer was a game where you prance around covering clusters of curvy skyscrapers in bright paint. According to THQ's press bumf, "the city of Utrecht has since adopted the character of de Blob to be its mascot", and Utrecht does seem to be well into it. So what's the Wii version like?

Well, it's a sort of 3D platform game where you play a little grinning blob who rolls around according to what you do with the analogue stick, and has the power to colour entire buildings by dousing himself in paint and bashing into them. This needs to be done, too, because in the world of de Blob the evil INKT Corporation has declared that colour is a crime, and sucked the consequently white and grey world dry of it.

As you navigate the futuristic streets, you can jump up by flicking the remote, and slam down on things while airborne by pressing B. These things include roving Leech Bots - the INKT Corporation's evil colour-suckers, but also your allies in the sense that they fill you up with "paint points", which govern how many times you can splatter a new building, tree, statue or other object before you return to your silvery base colour and need to hunt down some more paint.

As well as moving around and jumping on things to try and reach high points and colour everything in sight, you can also stick to the sides of buildings and roll down them gradually, using additional flicks to bound from one surface to another. Using these wall-running and surface-to-surface jumps, you can reach even more unassailable heights and foment your colourful little revolution. You can centre the camera with Z, although it rarely caused us enough problems to necessitate this.

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Paint and click.

There are missions as you go. First these help you learn the ropes - asking you to follow waypoints you can only reach by wall-running - but they soon change up. An early one tells you that an INKT security camera is facing a particular direction, allows you to tap into it, and challenges you to make the area it surveys as multi-coloured as possible.

Once an area is colourful enough, you can activate an icon that properly brightens it up, along with its subdued citizenry, and providing you've amassed enough "colorwatts" you can open a gate to the next bit. Maximising your impact seems to involve mixing up your choice of colours. Although the basics are red, blue and yellow, you can create mixtures by hitting one colour and then another, as the game sometimes asks you to do.

Along with Story mode, which is the one we saw, there's multiplayer, and Sprint levels that ask you to complete a single objective as fast as possible, with various medals to earn. You can see some of that in our EGTV gameplay videos, and Blue Tongue points out that improvement unlocks additional content from the game's Art Gallery.

It's certainly a game where the artwork will win it points. It lacks the subtlety of personality that made Katamari Damacy such a treasure, looking a bit more like a Nickelodeon Mercury Meltdown, but de Blob is a good-looking champion and the way he (she? it?) trails paint around and splatters buildings is fancy enough. Rather than simply rollering it on, his initial impact splatter gradually radiates out in tendrils of light and dark shades. Depending on the colour you're using, the music alternates between various styles, too.

Providing it keeps evolving as it goes on (and the signs are there that it does, as those videos demonstrate), it could be one to watch. Just remember to wear old clothes.

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