If you've ever wondered why you don't see more kids' games reviewed on your favorite gaming web sites, it's not just because that 8-year-olds don't make up the primary readership. It's also because professional reviewers often have a hard time placing themselves in the necessary mindset to really determine whether a game aimed at someone who has yet to master bike riding is really any good. Fortunately, this is of little concern with a game like de Blob 2, which is a good time no matter how old you are.
Comrade Black returns from the de Blob and is once again determined to rid the world of all color. His inky minions bust out all sorts of heavy weaponry - from tanks to rigged elections - to twist the world to their own monochromatic whims. Directed by his pal Pinky, the happy-go-lucky and permanently peppy Blob sets out to restore color to the world by painting everything in sight.
A hero as mighty as Blob need not fiddle about with brushes and buckets, however; he simply sops up a bunch of paint and rolls around, smacking into things. Anything he touches turns whatever color he's sporting - red, orange, green, blue, purple, yellow, or even brown. Paint points keep track of how much pigment Blob has at his disposal. When he needs to top off, he can either wade into a puddle of paint or smash open a paintbot, with a compass pointing to the closest colors.
The object of each level is to restore the color balance by retaking key landmarks, like the library or police station, back from Comrade Black's forces. These missions are brief, 2d platforming sections that usually require Blob to squash some enemies and flip some switches. The challenge usually lies in managing to stay painted long enough to reach the color-coded switch that you need to smack in order to proceed. Ink will turn you black, water will wash you clean, and accidentally slamming into the wrong color paintbot will force you to retrace your steps.
These story missions are the core of the game, but they're not where you'll have the most fun. Your enjoyment of de Blob 2 will come from just rolling around town, painting everything you can possibly reach, reclaiming the land from the nefarious colorphobes. The appeal for kids is obvious, but experienced gamers will find a lot to love, too. There's something undeniably entertaining about turning a block of bleached buildings into a shockingly bright collection of purple, orange, and yellow structures. It's garish and wonderful and incredibly easy to pull off. With one touch, Blob can instantly coat an entire structure in paint, so there's no fiddling with the camera to track that spot you missed.
Completionists will quickly become obsessed with de Blob 2's collectibles and challenges. Not only are there lots of tokens, icons, and widgets to pick up, but you also receive rewards for liberating every last citizen, painting every tree, and smashing every bit of INKT Corporation junk. Exploring each location in order to track down every last trinket is remarkably relaxing when it's combined with the game's effortless painting mechanic.