A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this E-rated game is creative and fascinating to play, and while lots of fun at first, it gets hard from about mid-game on. It's too hard for the younger end of the intended audience of 6- to 12-year-olds. The game has an easier mode, but unfortunately, you can't get to it until after you've mastered the harder story mode. The storyline is shown in Pixar-quality video cutscenes with silly characters and antics.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
The Wii game DE BLOB has an exciting premise: roll a super absorbent ball-guy over paint and then bump him up against blighted urban environments so that he can color them back to life, and in doing so, defeat the monochromatic bad guys. This character, the titular de Blob, also has the unique talent of creating music as he rolls, which changes and riffs every time he bumps into something or changes color. The game tells a story of how Comrade Black's INKT Corporation took over the colorful city of Chroma and sucked out all the color. Fighting this invasion of monochromatic gray is de Blob and a group of dissenters known as the Color Underground.
As you play your way through the 10 different levels representing sectors of the Chroma City, you control de Blob by using the analog stick on the Nunchuk to make him roll and flipping down the Wii remote to make him jump. He can even bounce up onto the side of a building and then roll down the whole block painting it as he goes. Painting earns you points as does completing challenges given to you by other members of the Color Underground. These challenges vary and get progressively more difficult. In some, you are tasked with painting specific areas certain colors in a limited time. In others, you combat INKT operatives by squishing them before they spray you with black ink. Some have you racing through urban courses, figuring out ways to get to out-of-the-way places in a limited time. You need to collect a requisite number of points to open a series of gates within each level so that you can move through the neighborhoods of Chroma City. And you can't just dawdle, because these levels are timed with few save points. Replaying a level can take about an hour.
Is it any good?
This could have been a great game instead of just a good game. Playing on the first few levels is exciting and fun. But then the gameplay ratchets up in difficulty. The developers tried to appeal to too many audiences and as a consequence, created a game that doesn't play well with very many. It would have been a perfect game for kids and casual gamers if they had kept the gameplay easy all the way through instead of just at the beginning few levels. And hardcore gamers would have enjoyed the novelty of this game if the developers hadn't made it so easy for the first half. Plus, why not have appealed to both audiences by simply providing an easy level with lots of save points and endless lives, and a hard level with short time frames?
As is, this is a game that's best for 10- to 14-year-olds who are good at gaming. It would work well in a family of kids where the oldest is proficient enough at platform-gaming to play through the story mode so as to unlock the easier, Free Paint mode for his or her younger siblings. In the Free Paint mode, everyone can have fun controlling this zany blob of paint without running into enemies or time limits. Too bad you can't get to it until you have played through the challenging story mode.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes this game so unique. When you played through the levels, did you take the time to try to paint all the buildings or were challenges more important to you? Why do you think that the developers made the gameplay so hard when it started out so easy?
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