Blinx: The Time Sweeper
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7  |  Blinx: The Time Sweeper
pixelSHREDDER , 11/6/2005 9:31:40 AM
When Blinx was in development, it was hoped that it would become the flagship platformer that XBox so desperately needed. It had flair, it was innovative, and it even had the obligatory universally-likeable main character. What could go wrong? Well, for starters, about everything else.

Game Play
Blinx is a game where style was obviously a top priority over substance, and it definitely shows. Whereas any respectful platformer relies on smooth game play, Blinx relies on his bag of technical tricks to get the job done. It was clear that the developers wanted to add something unique to the game, an innovative feature that only the XBox could handle. Unfortunately, it seems too much attention was paid to this one aspect of the gameplay, while the rest of the game suffers as a result. Everything else that Blinx does is just old hat - walk, jump, etc. - even his weapon adds little originality, with a 1-button operation similar to weapons from many other games of its kind. The vacuum, if anything, hinders the flow of the game, as Blinx cannot do anything while his vacuum is in use. A small, but painfully noticeable, flaw. Another tragically flawed aspect of play is the fact that there is NO run button. In most levels, you'll find that your clock is your biggest enemy, as you watch Blinx casually stroll toward the goal gate with only seconds left. These flaws give the player a strong sense of helplessness, violating a cardinal rule of platformers - give the player as much control as possible. The camera isn't so bad, especially compared to ridiculous cameras in similar games, though objects frequently obscure your view of the action.

Graphics
The game's bizarre broken world comes to life on XBox, with twisted backgrounds, and warped in-game objects. It's fairly cartoony, without any really powerful effects or details, but it pays off in the frame rates, which are nigh-perfect.

Sound
Anyone who's ever played an old Saturn game, such as Nights or Daytona USA, will find a haunting familiarity in the in-game tunes. Some of the music is eerily similar to the vaguely soothing Nights soundtracks, which is definitely not a bad thing. Some of it can get slightly annoying after a while, but generally it's catchy and upbeat. The sound effects are nothing special, but they compliment the music just fine. However, given the cartoony atmosphere, it seems like more kinky sound effects would have fit the mood more appropriately. Oh well.

Innovations
Here's where Blinx shines. During the game, if you collect the proper combination of special crystals that are scattered throughout the level using your vacuum, you gain special abilities to use in the game. Most of these are intended for use specific spots, however, and are obviously placed in the levels, so there's a lot less fun involved.

Blinx has 5 special abilities at his disposal, which make use of XBox hard drive to create some pretty unique effects. For example, if Blinx activates a Rewind command, the action around him (a collapsing bridge, moving logs, etc.) go backwards for a short time. Moves like these potentially adds a ton of strategy, but are never really fully utilized. However, in future games these innovations could be something to build a franchise on.

Replay Value
Unlike most other platformers, Blinx has little surprises, aside from the typical "Collect the secret medals, get stuff" that so many other games have done better. Other than that, there's really no reason to pick Blinx up again, unless you missed some medals in your first go-around.

Overall, Blinx is a game that does a lot wrong, but is still a decent platformer at heart. If you like the added spice of the Time Control abilities, and you're willing to overlook a few glaring flaws, then Blinx is a worthy purchase. But for anyone who thinks that a game's controls should improve game play, rather than add to the challenge of the overall game, your best bet is to rent it first. It's all a matter of taste.


Ratings (out of 10)

Game Play: 6
Graphics: 8
Sound: 9
Replay Value: Low
Fun Factor: 7

Overall Rating:
7/10

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