Ah, if only fixing all the world's injustices and oppressions were as simple as unleashing a charming cartoon blob of color and letting him splash paint like an unstoppable ball of Sherwin-Williams. Something tells me the folks surrounding the Capitol these last weeks might find that solution even more welcome than a slice of Ian's Pizza.
For now, anyway, we'll have to limit this kind of colorful force for creativity and democracy to the major videogame consoles: The unstoppable De Blob has expanded beyond the Wii to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
And in De Blob 2, he's facing a familiar problem: The pint-size Comrade Black and his evil INKT Corporation may have been obliterated by the color resistance in the first game, but it hasn't taken long for them to find other locales to set up shop and other innocents to subvert.
Yes, they really are oppressive bastards, which is what makes rolling around the environment and splashing some color upside their heads -- or, better, squishing or bull-rushing them into oblivion -- feel like you're finger-painting for freedom and democracy.
The real draw is how satisfying playing "color my world" in De Blob's upbeat environments proves to be. Colorizing the Graydians, the poor proletarians who've been washed out by the INKT Corporation, results in ticker-tape cheers and celebration. Bump into the barren white stump of a tree, and it literally springs to life. Nudge bleach-white trains and trucks, and they sail into the skies. As long as you can avoid enemies and stay out of the water and pools of ink -- and as long as the timer doesn't run out--you're free to be as color-creative as you wanna be.
A lack of variety in the mission palette was the lone blotch on the original De Blob -- turns out that splashing buildings and objects with paint before a timer ran out got a little old after 15 or so go-rounds. Repetition's much less of an issue here -- each of the game's 12 levels is broken up by new side-scrolling segments set inside caves and buildings, some of which find De Blob messing with gravity and rolling up the sides of walls. The objectives here aren't exactly rocket science, but they make a welcome change.
The camera and targeting system are good but not perfect. Given that many of the platforms, ledges and rooftops De Blob perches on can be slim and precarious, not being able to see where you're standing in relation to where you need to land is tricky. De Blob 2 offers a solution in the form of a targeting mechanic -- you can hold down the left trigger and jump huge distances to squash enemies or free Graydians. It's great, except when you're faced with multiple enemies, each of which has to be taken down with a specific color of paint or attack, and the targeting system opts to focus on the wrong one. Guess that's what happens when you splash the paint around -- it looks colorful, but sometimes the splotches go awry.