If you are unaware that Microsoft has released a follow up to 2002’s Blinx: the Time Sweeper, don’t feel bad, the game was snuck out with almost no fanfare in one of the most crowded holiday seasons in history. But unlike a lot of other good games that suffered the same fate, Blinx 2: Masters of Time & Space probably deserves to be lost and forgotten.
If you missed the first installment, it featured Blinx the cat with his vacuum cleaner on a quest to defeat the Tom-Tom Gang. But Blinx wasn’t just about making things nice and clean, he harnessed the power to manipulate time. The problem is that the game just wasn’t all that much fun, and the story was excruciatingly lame. The idea of shifting time was a good one, and on year after the launch of Blinx another game, Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time, showed us how it was supposed to be done.
Now Blinx is back with a sequel, actually, Blinx isn’t back, but there’s a sequel. See, you don’t actually play Blinx at any point in this game; instead the game starts out with you designing your own character. Choosing from various sizes, colors, and shapes you make your cat look just the way you want him and giving him that special name. Once ready you’re set up with a team and thrown into boot camp where you learn all about your powers and attacks.
The game play is pretty straight forward and anybody who has played a 3D platformer before will feel right at home. Team Blinx’s attacks involve using their vacuums to suck up various objects around the stage and blowing them back at the enemies. You can lock onto your foes or simply use the first-person crosshairs to help you aim; either way defeating your enemies is a breeze.
Things get a little trickier when using the various time techniques, though. Here you get a chance to manipulate time in a number of interesting ways, such as pausing the action so you can avoid enemies or climb moving objects. You can also make everything Slow-Motion as well as speed things up with the Fast Forward. If you’re looking to change events that have happened already (such as bridges being blown up), you can simply push the rewind button to alter the outcome. And there’s the record button, which is there just in case you really need two characters for a puzzle.
Since most of the enemies can be taken out without the aid of these time techniques, most of the time you’ll only be using them for puzzles. Each level provides you with an interesting set of objectives, but none of them are especially difficult. In fact, even in later levels the game insists on explaining how to complete every puzzle practically before you get to it. The puzzles themselves are so laughably easy that you’ll wonder why they even bothered putting them in the game in the first place.
And just when you thought it couldn’t get much worse, you completely stop playing as Team Blinx and play as the enemy, the evil Tom-Tom Gang. That’s right, half of the game involves you playing as the people you’re trying to defeat the other half of the game. This isn’t done for style or to fill in the background story, rather it’s an attempt to try out a new style of game play that has absolutely nothing to do with time manipulation.
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