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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

de Blob

There isn't much that's sadder-- or more common-- in the videogame industry than when a really good game idea is tripped up by stupid, small broken elements that could easily have been avoided or fixed.

If we (players) are lucky, those broken bits are not big enough to ruin the game. Sometimes they are. But in the case of de Blob, I think the interesting gameplay idea still wins out despite problems that bring it down.

Ever since I played Me & My Katamari (the first game I ever got for my PSP), I've been taken with unusual game ideas. I'd never played anything like that before. Since then, I've always been on the lookout for original, different kinds of games. A lot of offbeat types of games are often compared to Katamari-- even if the gameplay is totally different-- and it's meant as a compliment to their originality. de Blob was one of those "in the vein of Katamari" type of games.

It's a great idea; you're basically like this living sponge that absorbs paint, and you roll & jump around painting buildings & landmarks around a town. There's a story to it, and while it basically just serves the purpose of the game, the design of all the little creatures are fairly good. The cutscenes are cute; almost reminiscient of Raving Rabbids.

The gameplay mechanics are a bit sluggish. This is a 3D platforming game, so jumping is very important. One of the biggest mistakes with the game is that the jump is mapped to waggle the Wii remote: you have to flick it up or down to jump. So it makes jumping a lot more laggy than it should be... and like I said, with a platformer, jumping is IMPORTANT. It should've been a button command. Also, the movement is very floaty; combine all that with 3D platforming... and it can make for some frustrating times... even moreso when I think about how these problems could've been easily avoided.

Then there are the glitchy moments. Your character de Blob sometimes gets stuck in areas like between pipes or alleyways. This morning I was playing and it had a game-freezing glitch which forced me to exit out of the entire game. I lost over 1 hour of gameplay progress because of it.

Which brings me to another major frustrating point: lack of save points. Saving is done automatically in de Blob, which is fine. But it only saves when you play through an ENTIRE level. Even though the level has 2-3 sections in it. Ummm.... could those end of sections maybe have been.... SAVE POINTS????? Sheesh. Seriously, none of you devs thought of that???? So if you want to make any progress in the game, you have to be willing to sit through it for more than an hour each time you play it. It's very annoying. I've talked about how save points can break a game. It's such a simple thing, yet game devs seem so completely clueless about it. And they wonder why their game doesn't sell....

de Blob certainly has some problems, like it's rough around the edges. But it's still a fun game with a lot of potential. I heard they're working on a sequel, and hopefully they'll fix some of these problems. I can see why de Blob usually gets 7-8/10 in the critics scores. Totally worth a budget price though.


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