Paint the Town . . . Any Color

In Wii's De Blob, it's your job to bring color back to the monochrome town of Chroma City.
In Wii's De Blob, it's your job to bring color back to the monochrome town of Chroma City. (Thq Via Associated Press)
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Friday, October 10, 2008

After immersing myself in the colorful world of THQ's De Blob for many hours, I came to two conclusions about this new Wii platform game: First, De Blob is without a doubt the best painting-themed video game since the obscure '80s arcade title Make Trax (a.k.a. Crush Roller). Second, this is clearly one of the most engaging, creative third-party Wii games to date.

Based on a free PC game developed by Dutch students, the game has a classic good-vs.-evil theme. The empiresque I.N.K.T. Corp. has sucked all the color out of the formerly spectral Chroma City, leaving its residents in a monochrome funk. As De Blob, your mission is to soak up paint and roll, bounce and flip through the city to free its buildings, streets and enslaved denizens from a black-and-white eternity.

You control your gelatinous character's movement using the nunchuk's control stick while swatting the Wii remote to attack Inky soldiers, open gates and load up on confiscated color from Paintbots. Help comes from four fellow revolutionaries who teach maneuvers, tricks and attacks while offering mini-challenges that must be completed to advance to subsequent levels. Your race against time is aided by several pickup items, which include clock bonuses, extra lives and tankers that provide temporary invincibility and unlimited paint.

Styles let De Blob paint in various graffiti-like patterns, and jumping on a transform engine immediately provides color to the surrounding landscape. There are also several hazards, such as hot plates, spikes and electricity. When De Blob stumbles into a blank ink puddle, he must find his way to water and dive in to save himself from oblivion. Water can also be a hazard when De Blob is happily painting away, as it removes all his paint.

It's a simple concept, but the game comes to life in the way each level of Chroma City's expansive landscape is revealed. Untouched sections that first appear as blank color-by-number sheets burst into a rainbow of hues as your character explores, much like the sepia-to-Technicolor transition in "The Wizard of Oz." Cut scenes do a great job telling a creative story, and the action is just as smooth and engaging as the cinematics. The game doesn't come anywhere near tapping the motion capability of the Wii remote, but that's not a huge issue. The visuals are stunning, and De Blob is simply fun.

-- Dirk Lammers, Associated Press

De Blob Everyone; Wii ($49.99) THQ Inc.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company

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