05 Dec, 2004

Blinx 2: Masters of Time and Space Review

Xbox Review | Blinx and you will miss it.
Aside from arcade racers, platformers appear to be the flavour of 2004 with an abundance of them appearing on all consoles, most of these platformers have been quite good (Jak III / Sly 2) whereas some have been mediocre. So which category does Blinx 2: Masters of Time and Space fit into?

The original Blinx was unveiled to the gaming public at E3, 2002. The revolutionary thing about Blinx was that it fully utilized the Xbox hard-drive. Gamers were able to control “time” and play the game as if they were using a VCR. The gamer could reverse time, stop time, pause time, slow down time and even fast-forward time.

Microsoft referred to the original Blinx as the first 4D platformer. Unfortunately and ironically, it was the games tiny time limits that became a big drawback and the game was quickly finished and the time controlling aspects sometimes became an unnecessary chore. The time controlling aspects displayed in Blinx were also bettered when Prince of Persia: Sands of Time came along.

So, after some pretty average sales and some pretty average reviews, Microsoft have taken a gamble on their beloved cat and have released Blinx 2, It not only has a lot to prove, but it has a lot of competition. Not only can gamers look forward to controlling time, they are now able to control Space, in the world’s first (you guessed it) 5D game.

The cat customisation options are surprisingly decent.

The cat customisation options are surprisingly decent.
Blinx 2 begins by following a trend that every platformer appears to be moving in lately, blurring the line between platforming and other genres. In fact, Blinx 2 is a combination of platforming, stealth and action gaming. Gamers will also play as a timesweeper and a pig as they control time and space. These are two completely different options that are both an advantage and a disadvantage.

Players have the option of customizing their pig and their cat, this is a good little feature but most people will find themselves skipping to the auto customize game. Just like the preview we played a couple of months ago Blinx 2 begins with a short tutorial level, which serves as an introduction for first time players and a refresher course for those who played the original but don’t remember much about it.

The story is relatively simple and not hard to understand, the time crystals have once again shattered all over the earth and it is up to the timesweeper’s to go collect them or evil will reign over good. The story is pretty standard but we honestly didn’t expect anything more from Blinx 2. It does help to set the setting of the game well enough though.

Two player support is also included (unfortunately and surprisingly Xbox Live is not supported) Gamers can play through the game co-operatively or they can play in battle mode. In Battle Mode, gamers can choose to lead a squad of cats using time control powers or command a team of enemy pigs using space control powers. The co-operative play in story mode actually introduces new concepts to make it more challenging for two players, also included are specific two player challenges.

The vacuum cleaner that the Time sweepers possess now sweeps up trash faster and this allows for quicker game play. There are definitely more enemies present in this version of the game and the time crystals can now be swept up in any order. This allows for a lot more freedom, it allows for a faster game and it also makes the game more intuitive. It is hard to describe but the game just feels better and is easier to pick up and play. This also means it is a little easier than Blinx.

This is a cat stroking his guitar.. and smiling.

This is a cat stroking his guitar.. and smiling.
I didn’t find the space pig levels to be nearly as good as with the time sweepers. The developer, Artoon have really put two kinds of games into one which can often mean that the game will only like some of the game. I personally found the time sweeper’s levels to be much better, but it will all boil down to personal opinion, those who like both the time sweeper’s play and the pig’s space controlling will love this game.

Blinx 2 is also significantly lengthier than its predecessor, it should take most gamers about ten to fifteen hours to go through the game completely and the multiplayer should add to that. We still think that Blinx 2 would have benefited from some kind of Xbox Live support, even if it was just the ability to download new levels.

As one would expect from a first party title the graphics in Blinx 2 are brilliant and the game looks significantly better than the original Blinx. Environments are much more detailed and the surroundings look much more expansive than ever before. Despite all of these graphical improvements the game still looks like it is set in the Blinx universe which is great.

The soundtrack is a little lackluster, the music is annoying and there is no custom soundtrack option. Once again, this would have been a pretty easy addition to include. The music is really average and borders on tedious after a while.

So what we have is a game that feels better and looks better than its predecessor. While playing Blinx 2 I felt that there were a few things that were not in the game which should have been. It is ironic that the reason they are not in the game is probably due to a lack of time on the developer’s behalf. Custom soundtracks and Xbox Live support (any form of it) would have bumped this score up to an eight, but as it stands we feel that Microsoft may have rushed this out a bit to soon.

The game definitely feels better than its predecessor and plays better, and a lot of the time that is all that matters. Blinx 2 is the kind of game you will only really see on Xbox (bar Prince of Persia but that has only limited time control aspects) So it is definitely worth a look.
The Score
Blinx 2: Masters of Time and Space is an improvement upon its predecessor but is unfortunately released at the same time as some other big platformers. Still, if you're looking for a good Xbox exclusive platformer this christmas Blinx is your man (or cat).
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Blinx 2: Masters of Time and Space Content

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07 Oct, 2004 PALGN goes "hands-on" with Blinx 2 over 2 months before its release. A CATaclysmic failure? (sorry..) or a 5D revolution? PALGN tells all.
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