de Blob

Another neat touch (and one that plenty of sandbox games could learn from) is radar that swivels around de Blob himself. Like a glowing belt suspended in midair, points of interest - challenges, paint pots and so on - hang on it in the general direction you should head. It certainly comes into its own when you’re inked by an enemy and develop the sudden need to find a fountain in which to clean yourself. Fail to reach one in time and our poor Blob will waste away to nothing, polluting the landscape with oily black in the process.

Despite its bright, child-friendly exterior, the challenge is well located between pre-school and old-school, and earlier stages ease you into your skill set. Painting a row of ten buildings purple, for example, teaches you both how to chain buildings together with a Tony Hawk-esque wall skirting move and the importance of mixing paint pots together to reach your desired colour. But things soon ramp up, with dashes down paint-free sewer canals patrolled by I.N.K.T. forces kitted out with Star Wars-y speederbikes.

Then there’s the multiplayer. It offers variations on the painting theme (from paint free-for-alls to a race to such-and-such a building), and the language leaving our lips was far from child-friendly as we cavorted across roof tops aiming to splatter rival turf with our own gang colours. De Blob couldn’t be further from an Average Joe game.

Mar 19, 2008