|To be fair to I.N.K.T. you'd probably be a bit mad if someone ran all over your generic factory setting defecating over everything too.|
The levels are populated with walls laid out in such a way as to provide several possible paths to the exit, but with only one that will see Blob rescue all of the areaís Graydians. Thereís nothing actually inherently wrong with the concept; initially it works well as the game throws a few neat designs at the player in the beginning stages and if the player has any hope at all of saving all their little friends during these early forays then they have to plan the route out in exact detail before making any moves. The game keeps you involved by throwing in the odd layout wherein the player must properly apply themselves in order to look past the obvious paths and see the optimal route. The problem is that all of these thought-provoking designs are based on the same couple of tricks and it doesnít take long for the brain to become easily accustomed to these few but somewhat sneaky patterns and hardwire them into your problem solving approach.
Thereís no real progression structure in place with just three modes on offer. In the first you have unlimited time to complete a puzzle, the second scores you based on your completion time, actually penalising the ranks of slower players, and the final replaces this scoring penalty system with a game over screen should you prove too lethargic. In the end they all play pretty much the same way and the difference between the second and third modes is essentially superficial and has no impact on what the player actually does in-game.
Couple this factor with the limited grid design and you have a game that unfortunately, despite having a promising initial concept, suffers greatly from a total lack of diversity and replayability. The gameís small grid size is constrained by the limitations of the capacitive display and the lack of any widespread adoption of capacitive styluses, but despite this the designers could have still squeezed larger layouts into the screenís real estate or even added some small degree of scrolling into the mix without adversely affecting the ease of play. This small number of tiles unfortunately means that puzzle layouts repeat themselves a lot, at some times just reusing segments and at others repeating them in their entirety. Itís even possible to see the same level appear twice within the span of five minutes if particularly unlucky.
|The blue levels encourage you to beat them as fast as possible for extra points, while the green ones just leave it to the banal gameplay to make you push onwards.|
By relying simply on the usage of different wall layouts the developers have crippled de Blobís long term appeal as there are only so many patterns and routes you can form on this scale of grid. Had they included traps or other puzzle elements such as different types of Graydians that changed the state of play, grid modifying switches or other types of varied elements then they would have been able to wring a greater degree of variety from the restricted playing field. But as things stand the various routes soon become hardcoded into the playerís brain, rendering the time-based challenge moot and turning the game into a tedium of grinding as the player repeats the same old puzzles time and again over the course of play.
de Blob does feature some really nice character designs, full of personality and aesthetic flair, including the Graydians themselves who burst into colour and bounce across the screen towards the exit point, and the rather adorable I.N.K.T. enforcers who chase you round on the final mode, squeaking the whole time as they try to run you down. The rest of the game's art style is slick and stylish with monochromatic backdrops that are brought to life as the player navigates the grid. However, there is only one setting for the whole game and a few different sets of background art assets would have at least gone some way towards keeping the game visually interesting, even if the gameplay isnít.
It may be a mobile game but thereís no excuse for such a shockingly short-lived experience. The game allows the difficulty to be tailored by the player but this seems to have no real correlation to the complexity of the grids and you can easily see everything the title has to offer within the first hour. Yes, it is well suited to quick three-minute bursts but when every time you boot it up it feels like a complete rehash of the last time you played thereís no incentive to return. The nice production values canít hide the stunted gameplay mechanics and the obvious lack of effort put into this rushed for release title. Definitely avoid.