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de Blob - new impressions

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From what we saw, de Blob’s levels are fairly long. And with the Wii becoming more about instant-gratification experiences over extended play sessions, de Blob would be lacking in ADD-friendly fun if it weren’t for its Sprint Challenges. Sprint Challenges are a separate mode made up of small, timed, objective-based levels that reward medals based on performance. One level, called Crane Fighting, sticks some enemies on top of a series of construction cranes spaced far apart. To succeed, you have to lock on to one enemy, hit it with a homing attack to bridge the gap between your crane and the target’s, then readjust and do it again in rapid succession. There’s a curveball here, though: A Sprint Challenge doesn’t end unless you exit the stage, or the time runs out and you fail. So the choice is yours: get enough points for a bronze medal and safely get out, or go for the gold and risk failure.

With a September release looming, de Blob might have just enough to put it ahead of the pack, but it certainly won’t get there without a few more coats of paint to cover up some unsightly cracks in its wall. The camera, for one, required constant centering with the C button. Even more pressing are the somewhat unresponsive controls. Jumping, for us, was especially frustrating, as we had to really whip the Wii remote to get de Blob to move effectively - not exactly good when 90 percent of the gameplay is jumping. Once we got the hang of it, however, we were sending Blob careening off the sides of skyscrapers, doing wall jumps the length of entire blocks as he bounded from building to building. It was a blast, though our arms were the worse for it. Finally, though the game’s color and sound might be enough to distract from it, we couldn’t help but notice lots of fog in the distance, with scenery that popped in as we moved (or rolled/oozed) toward it.

Despite our nitpicking, it’s not often that we’re excited for the debut of another franchise mascot in an action-platforming game. With some tightening up of the graphics and controls and a little bit of spit shine, it may just add a big splash of color to the Wii lineup’s increasingly drab décor.

Aug 11, 2008

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