Blake was snooping around the Infendo offices the other day asking the writers about original IP due out for the Wii this year, and I was honestly less than helpful. I think I grunted something about how Disaster: Day of Crisis might be out this year and then went back to playing Super Mario Bros. 2, which I had dusted off in a fit of nostalgia over the weekend.
Unfortunately, I forgot about De Blob. Shame on me, because it’s looking more and more like one of the true gems of 2008 for the system and a defining moment for developer Blue Tongue (THQ publishing).
The title took a predicable track in the media since it was announced last year. First, it was kiddy. Then some first impressions and hands-on time was had, and the game and its coverage started to mature. Today, PALGN gives another preview that belies what Blue Tongue’s developers are attempting to do. In a word? The Simpsons.
Blue Tongue’s De Blob’s bright and humourous appearance belies its more serious influences. Take one look at the game or even a quick play and you could be forgiven for writing it off as simplistic, or even ”˜kiddie’. Walking away from THQ, however, and our notepads were full of words like art deco, revolutionaries, Matt Groening and synesthesia (though we had to look that last one up). […] Blue Tongue says they’ve followed Matt Groening’s maxim of “writing for adults as you get the kids for free” when designing De Blob.
The controls are best described as Strikers Charged-like in their execution. Slight wrist flicks replace some of the button mashing, and nothing done in this Wii-exclusive title couldn’t be done with a traditional controller. That said, I personally enjoy smashing my opponents in Charged with a violent wrist flick, and I’ll bet I feel the same way when I get my hands on de Blob later this year.
Blue Tongue said the game is a Wii exclusive because they felt the innovative console was a perfect fit for their creative game, but I’m pretty sure it had more to do with cost, given the controls aren’t that innovative. Related to that, of course, is the fact that saving money on development costs can often translate into better art direction, story and character development. De Blob, apparently, has that in spades.
And there’s something very satisfying about draping glaringly mismatched colours through a grey, bland city. De Blob’s Art Director, Terry Lane, said his approach to designing the city was to make it as irresistible as possible to “colour in”. The resultant art-deco concrete jungle certainly results in the urge to turn your Wiimote into a paintbrush (something that can be achieved, by the way, in those normally boring loading screens). Speaking of Art Design, the look of the game is surely its biggest success so far. If Blob himself looks a little bit like Batman, having let himself go a bit and fallen into a vat of paint, then the unpainted Chroma looks satisfyingly like a Gotham-lite, minus all that darkness.
Will it succeed or fail? We shall see. Blue Tongue’s resume is littered with licensed games, but with De Blob they might have just the right mix of approachability and art design to make things colorful enough to come though.