For one of the most cheerful, childlike and downright peppy games of the year, de Blob 2 takes on some heavy themes. Vote-rigging. Student protests. Brainwashing religions.
There's even a bizarre allusion to Tiananmen Square, where a lone protester faced off with a tank.
But de Blob never wallows in politics - it's simply a background for the hopelessly optimistic premise that you can paint the world happy. It's enough to make you want to sling a bucket of red paint at the Houses of Parliament.
As de Blob, your power is to absorb colours and deposit your cargo on the colour-drained world. Paint buildings, crush the white oppressors (releasing their gaily-
coloured captives), and charge yourself with enough of the right colour to break into the landmarks and transform them from within.
Painting, as well as getting hit or inked will shrink you, and if you reach an undesirable size zero, that's one life lost.
The big, lovely world-painting game is so upbeat that you can forgive the shallow difficulty curve and furry platforming - and you do get used to the initially treacherous camera.
In your raids on the city's landmarks, the 3D world flattens into a 2D game. In either case it's a simple matter of colour matching and splatting bad guys - keeping an eye on your size, and refilling regularly in the colour pools.
de Blob 2 feels like an amiable, almost therapeutic game, so one decision leaves us bewildered. For no plot-related reason whatsoever, every world is governed by an overarching countdown timer that spans all of the many missions.
You get regular time-extends, but it's neither an effective nor enjoyable means of generating urgency, and it manages to spoil the otherwise enjoyably sedative effects of painting a world.
It's not enough to kill the appeal, though. Experienced gamers will find de Blob 2 lacking in challenge for the entire first half of the game, but this is pitched perfectly at kids, with a simple control scheme, bags of colour, and a valuable - if sometimes incoherent - nugget of anti-corporate propaganda.
If, however, you're of an age where you think cartoons are childish - whatever hellish age that is - ignore the score and steer clear.
Use your kids as an excuse to play
- Mouthwatering candy-sweet visuals
- Brilliant cutscene movies
- Subversion 101 for kids
- Not for experienced gamers
- Platforming wears a big woolly coat