2. General hints and tips
Info on the Collectibles
These collectibles look like bulbs. Most of them are found somewhere in the levels, while the other ones are earned by completing some "Bonus Challenges" (side tasks which become available at the end of the level). They increase your score, and there's one achievement (Totally inspired) for getting them all (there's a total of 480 of them, in various amounts per level). If you replay a level, the bulb-looking icon of the Inspirations you previously collected will be replaced with a smaller "atoms"-looking icon (some yellowish orbs floating around).
They look like a picture of Blob, your game character. They're simply found somewhere in the levels. They increase your score, and there's one achievement (Every picture) for getting them all (there's a total of 100 of them, in various amounts per level). If you replay a level, the picture-looking icon of the Galleries you previously collected will be replaced with an "atoms"-looking icon.
They look like a purple swirl. They're also found somewhere in the levels. There is no achievement related to picking them up, but they increase your score a lot (+5,000 points for each of them), so you should still get them all. If you replay a level, their counter will be reset and you'll be able to get them again. They also unlock some optional music tracks you can listen to. In particular, when selecting a level you've already completed (and where you got some collectibles), you can navigate with LS/D-Pad to select a small square icon of Blob. Do so, and click on this icon; a menu will prompt, asking you how "Blob is feeling...". Each of the options is an adjective (for example "Tranquil", "Intrepid", "Irrepressible") to which corresponds one of the tracks used in that level.
Liberation/Environment/Clean Up Gold Medals
These three gold medals are awarded for setting free all the citizens ("Graydians") of the level, painting all the trees of the level, destroying all the enemy objects of a level (including the common crates) respectively. Each gold medal adds +50,000 points to the score of your level, and there is an achievement for getting all the gold medals on all the levels (The People's Hero for the Liberation, Nature Lover for the Environment ones, INKT Smasher for the Clean Up). If you replay a level, everything related to the medals (citizens, trees, enemies and crates) will be reset.
Info on the Score
At the end of the level your performance is calculated and you're given a score in number, to which corresponds a "letter" rank. The highest rank is the S Rank, and that's the one you're after. There is one achievement (Nothing but the best) for getting an S Rank on every level. It's usually enough to get all the collectibles and complete all the bonus challenges (in other words get all the bonus score possible) in order to reach the amount of points required for the S Rank, although in a couple of levels (Comrade Black U, alias State College, and Inky Fabricator, alias Railyards) you may need to boost your score. The required amount of points to get the S Rank changes from level to level (the exact amounts will be listed in the Story walkthrough page).
About everything contributes to your score. At the end of the level you'll be given some "bonus score" calculated on these parameters:
- Bonus Challenges (later will follow some info on these) completed: +10,000 points for each of them
- Style items collected: +5,000 points for each of them
- Gold Medals (all the related collectibles obtained): +50,000 points for each of them
- Silver Medals (2/3 of the related collectibles obtained): +25,000 points for each of them
- Bronze Medals (1/3 of the related collectibles obtained): +10,000 points for each of them
In addition to this, during the level you can come across "Color Atoms" (they are the first thing you will see when you start playing). There are different types of Color Atoms:
- Yellow color atoms: they earn +100 points each. Not much, but it stacks up to round up your score
- Red/Blue color atoms: they earn +1,000 points each
- Green/Purple color atoms: they earn +10,000 points each, although on the screen the game displays only +1,000 for some reasons
They're always worth picking up, especially the Red/Blue and Green/Purple ones (bigger in size and effect).
The last thing you can do to boost your score in a level is to paint-over the buildings. In particular, you can get +10 points for every house you paint a second time, but only if you're choosing the "right" color. In particular, you can get the +10 points if you paint it over with a "different" color than the one it's currently painted. We'll see what this means in the next paragraph.
In this game your character can paint the stuff around him with different colors, according to his own color. There's a total of 3 primary colors, 3 secondary colors and 1 tertiary color. In addition to these, there are also two "special colors": Clear and Ink. "Clear" is a non-colored version of your character. It's the color you assume if you go in Clear Water sources (they "wash you up", so to speak). Ink is the "bad color", and you'll take some damage every second you are in this condition. You can wash off the Ink color only with Clear Water.
The three primary colors are: Red, Blue, Yellow.
By combining the primary colors with the "Paintbots" system, which will be explained in-game during the second level, you can get the three secondary colors: Purple (Red+Blue), Green (Blue+Yellow), Orange (Red+Yellow). In short, you can mix colors up by attacking these "Paintbots" enemies (Red/Blue/Yellow Paintbots), thus combining Blob's current color with the color of the Paintbot. You have a Red Blob and slam a Yellow Paintbot? You'll become Orange Blob.
By combining all the three primary colors you can get Brown, the only tertiary color. It's made of Red+Blue+Yellow, in any order, which means also Purple+Yellow, Green+Red, Orange+Blue.
Here's a "color chart" summary:
If you paint a green building with blue, sometimes you may not get the +10 points of score because blue is part of the green color (you will never get +10 points if you paint the buildings of the same color as they already are). On the contrary, if you paint a red building with blue painting, or a green building with red painting, or any other paint-over with painting colors not related to the current color of the building, you will always get the +10 points. Long story short, if you have to grind your score by repainting buildings the best thing to do is to paint them over by using the primary colors.
As you can see from the chart itself, if you combine a secondary color with one of the two colors it's made of (such as you are Purple Blob and slam a Red Paintbot) the result will be a Blob of the color of the Paintbot you've slammed. It's not possible to do the opposite combination (combine your current color with a secondary/tertiary color) because the Paintbots are only made of primary colors.
Transformation Engines are "switches" that can open up new paths in a level. You will usually find a Transformation Engine at the end of every small section of the story as you proceed, and using them will open gates, raise buildings that will reach new areas, and clear the areas of enemies, transform the ink and stuff like this. It's always advisable to use the Transformation Engines as soon as they are available. They are all story-related.
Timer and Clocks
Every level of the game is played with a timer, displayed in the upper portion of your screen. The timer is usually very generous (occasionally just generous :p), and can be raised by picking up "clocks" on the ground. There are three types of clocks:
- Green Clocks: they earn you +0:30 (30 seconds), and they are usually found after completing a story-related task
- Yellow Clocks: they earn you +1:00 (1 minute), and they are usually found after liberating a group of Graydians. We'll see what these "Graydians" are as we play through the first level (basically trapped citizens that you need to help)
- Brown Clocks: they earn you +3:00 (3 minutes), and they are just found around the places
The Clocks can widely be found also in crates that you can destroy, as well as anywhere on the ground, buildings, etc. . It's always a good idea to pick them up if they're not too far away.
The timer will stop before reaching the end of the level. In particular, in 9 levels (from the second to the tenth level) the timer will stop right at the end of the level, when you can complete the level simply by answering an in-game question after talking to Pinky (you'll see what this means as you play). In the first and eleventh levels the timer will stop right before entering the final 2D-area, after which the level will end. In the last level the timer will not stop until the very end.
When the timer stops there will be also two more things that happen. First, the Bonus Challenges will become available. Second, the "Pinky Spots" will also become available, and they allow you to fast-travel and make manual saves.
After completing all the story-related events and stopping the timer, the Bonus Challenges will appear in the level. These are optional tasks that you can complete to get Inspirations (one for every challenge you complete) and boost your score (as we previously said, every bonus challenge completed earns you +10,000 bonus score). Sometimes they also open up new paths to access even more items and score.
The game uses an auto-save feature which is not exactly the best way to keep your records fresh. There's a way to make manual saves ("induced auto-saves", actually) when the timer stops. Don't think it's useless to save at that point, since the tasks you have to complete after the main story's tasks will sometimes take more than the story tasks themselves.
Anyways, when the timer stops you will be able to see some "Pinky spots" here and there in the level. If you access them, you'll be asked if you're ready to complete the level. If you say "No", the game will save the game as soon as you quit the chat with Pinky.
After replying "No", Pinky will also ask you if you want to "Stay here" or go somewhere else. Every level is divided in various areas, and this fast-travel system will be very handy in some bigger levels.
Finally, there are three cheat codes that can be entered at any time during a level if you are close to running out of time, need a spare life or a obtain a shield. These don't impact the unlocking of achievements and can be used at will. If anything they will be required for the later levels, which get tricky with no upgrades for Blob.
To use these cheats, hold and and then input:
- Add 10 extra minutes (up to 90 minutes)
- Add a life
- Add a shield
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