Blinx: The Time Sweeper

Review

posted 11/9/2002 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: Xbox
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you could control time? You know, walk around with a remote control and have the ability to pause, record, and rewind time as you pleased? Then Blinx just might be your bag, the first game to revolve around 4 dimensions, with the 4th dimension representing time. By injecting this unique element into the rapidly staling 3D platformer genre, Artoon is hoping to place itself above the rest of the competition.

The story starts out simple enough, you’re a janitorial cat named Blinx who just happens to be a keeper of time. A princess is captured by a group of otherworldly beings so of course you’ll take it upon yourself to rescue her. By collecting similar crystals, Blinx unlocks certain functions of a VCR. For instance, if he were to collect three blue crystals he’d be able to pause time and move around freely while the rest of the world is halted to a stop. Likewise, you can collect three red crystals and unlock the record function of your VCR. The record function becomes a vital part of the majority of the game’s puzzles. For instance, sometimes you’ll come across teeter totters and since you only have one player, you’ll need to record yourself jumping on one side of the totter while you stand on the other, thus launching you to your next destination.

Blinx is a janitor of some sorts, by utilizing his vacuum-like weapon, he can suck up the garbage in a level. The garbage that is sucked up is then used as a projectile that is harmful to your enemies. All of the game’s combat revolves around sucking up garbage and then hurling it at your opponents, it’s as simple as that. Each level places you a starting point where you have 10 minutes to rid the level of all of your enemies. After doing so you’ll have to hoof it to the exit in order to be successful. While in the beginning it’s pretty fun to walk around and suck up pieces of garbage, it quickly becomes old hat. Combat is rather repetitive and while there are a few variations in the action, it’s all generally the same. Facing a boss requires you to run around, pick up pieces of trash and (you guessed it) launching it at them.

While rather intuitive, the puzzles become old quite rapidly, a result of the element of time not being used as efficiently as it should have been. The first few times you happen upon the puzzles you’ll probably be rather amazed by the way that they are constructed. We were pretty pleased when we saw that an early puzzle involved the use of the rewind function to reconstruct a bridge that had been destroyed. Eventually though, much like the rest of the game’s action, it gets repetitive and ultimately predictable. Levels are constructed from a general template, starting point filled with trash. Run around collect some gems; launch trash at all of the enemies in a level and then head for the exit. It’s a concept that runs its course far too quickly and it is in this respect that the game ultimately falls short.
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