Tuesday, June 26

Review: de Blob [Nintendo Switch eShop]

While some have bemoaned the number of ports from other consoles coming to the Switch my opinion has been that as long as they’re of a sufficiently high quality I’m all for it. Especially when well-made games come to the platform there’s a new opportunity to discover a hidden gem you may have missed or simply never had the chance to check out. That’s very much the case for me with de Blob, an extremely colorful platformer with a style all its own that I’d heard positive things about but just never found the time to check out.

Playing through the game as, you guessed it, a blob who is able to take on colored paint, your task is to return vibrant color to your now mostly drab and monochromatic. Invaders have taken over, robbing the city of its personality and culture, and your job is to revitalize it all once more. This is best done by following the pretty simple mission structure which you can activate by going to well-marked checkpoints. Some involve coloring certain areas specific colors, others will feel like a checkpointed race of sorts, and some require you to use a specific color in quantity to restore major landmarks back to their former glory. You’ll need to be careful to be on the lookout for pools of ink or the few types of enemies that are lurking about but in general as long as you remain in tune with where a water source is (to cleanse yourself of the murky ink) you’ll be able to recover when you make a mistake once in a while.

As you progress and get to later cities the level of challenge will advance slowly but in general the game’s friendly and extremely forgiving, with an emphasis far more focused on fun and creativity than pressure and deadlines. As you complete each challenge, or recolor blocks of buildings and rejuvenate their inhabitants, you’ll collect additional time on top of the generally generous amount you start with to color enough of the city to unlock gated checkpoints that block your progress. While there are a few variations on modes, including ones you can unlock for multiplayer, it’s really the main story mode that stands out as worthwhile, the rest are more just nice add-ons, with nothing likely holding interest for all that long.

My only objections with the game are relatively minor, though they’re worth keeping in mind if you’re considering picking it up. The first is that the control feels pretty good most of the time but the mechanics with jumping high, wall jumping, and how the architecture can sometimes foul things up does come up on occasion. Overall this can feel clumsy, in one case preventing you from pulling off a move to get higher and in others with you flying a bit wildly off a building when you didn’t mean to. This issue may not have been as prevalent if it weren’t for the camera and its periodic issues with sticking with the action appropriately, even when you’re trying to keep it in place manually. The only other concern is only that the levels can be pretty massive, some clocking in around an hour depending on how you play them. This all can be fine and the game still works well, just some food for thought as otherwise everything about the game clicks quite nicely.

All in all I was very pleasantly surprised by de Blob and its light style and creative play. Even though I wouldn’t consider the vast majority of it challenging, making it pretty ideal for kids, everything still felt fresh and fun along the journey. While I’m hoping the sequel, which I suspect will make it to Switch as well, is able to address some of my relatively minor concerns I’d still consider it a platformer well worth checking out for gamers of all ages and skill levels.

Score: 8

  • Vibrant colors, terrific music, and a distinctive art style
  • The skills needed to enjoy the game are pretty basic overall, making it very appropriate for gamers of all ages
  • Missions are generally straightforward and there’s a built-in compass for helping you figure out where to go if you get a bit lost

  • Controls can, at times, feel a bit sloppy, particularly when trying to wall jump or use some other more advanced techniques
  • Occasional fights with the camera
  • Levels can be a bit over-long, some clocking in around an hour or more