Blinx: Review - Xbox

The concept is good, but the execution should've been so much better.

Friday, March 28, 2003

Blinx is, without a doubt, the best console game to come out of Microsoft Studios to date. Now, before you rush out and buy a copy, realize that it's being compared to sub par titles like Azurik and Nightcaster. Blinx does have some very interesting gameplay though, and has one thing that Microsoft games have all been missing to date, a really great concept.


A bunny with an attitude.

Who wouldn't want to have a remote control for the universe? Lord knows many a chubby gamer dreamed of such a device during those tough Junior High years. Well Blinx happens to have one, and now you get to use it. Blinx is a time sweeper, and there's more to it than just a fancy title. He's an extra-dimensional kitty with a great responsibility. He's in charge of taking out time monsters who threaten to rip our world apart at the seams.

As Blinx, you use your vacuum cleaner to suck up the ever-present garbage and chuck it at your foes. Simple enough, but once in a while, you run into a monster that even a well aimed refrigerator can't stop, and that's when it's time to use the remote.

By collecting time crystals in the proper combination, you gain the ability to rewind, slow, pause, or even record time. This is where the game gets really interesting. There are lots of puzzling spots in the game, and Blinx has a solution to all of them. Try rewinding time to mend a broken bridge, or reverse the flow of water and access a new secret area. Have you found a monster too big for one cat to stop? Try recording yourself fighting the goliath, then playback and have a virtual Blinx assist you. Purchasing 'replays' will give you an instant rewind when you die.

A great idea for a game, but does it pan out? Well, Blinx is fun, no doubt about it. There's a lot of innovation in this game. But you'll also find a lot of frustration. Blinx has this little problem with his auto aim system in that it doesn't work. Enemies fly around in the sky, bounce up and down, and make it hard to hit. Of course, the computer is supposed to aim for you, but often doesn't. Even when you have a non moving enemy's back to you, the computer will occasionally take the liberty of having you fire your last trash shot into a wall in the opposite direction. You'll also have a lot of shots fire through the time monsters without counting as hits. If the center of the trash didn't hit, it doesn't work.

It's nice to be able to get a replay to bring you back to life. It's unfortunate that when you are brought back to life, you also lose the last three seconds of action you performed before you died. Monsters you killed are brought back to life, and any ammo you collected is lost. This is really frustrating if you and a monster died simultaneously, expect it to be back, chasing you down once more. If you died desperately collecting ammo, you've lost it, and have to again risk sucking it down before the enemy strike.


Great use of colors.

The greatest annoyance comes from the fact that every level is timed. Being a game based on time travel and all, it really doesn't come as a surprise. However, you will often die to a time out, and often it won't be your fault. You can only hit an enemy once before it gets stunned, and becomes temporarily invincible. Nearly half of your time hunting monsters will be wasted watching them stumble about, waiting to be able to shoot again. This not only slows down the gameplay, but also needlessly costs you lives.

So who should play Blinx? A person with a fair sense of patience.

Don't count out the kitty yet though, there is quite a bit of good in Blinx. The graphics are crisp and sharp. You can have a great time running around in the cities or underwater caverns and marveling at the great colors and details. Try shooting some garbage off a rooftop, it flies forever, and amazingly, you can watch it scale out into nothingness.

Don't expect a great soundtrack though. Blinx has some terrible synthesized music that is reminiscent of an episode of early 80's Tom and Jerry 'toons. For those of you not old enough to remember, it sounds like something an eight year old with a keyboard could generate. Of course, younger players may find this satisfactory but if you're older than fifteen, anticipate a need to mute your TV.


We have high hopes for the sequel.

There should be so much more to this game, but isn't. Microsoft was almost there. The game is still fun, but has too many sore spots to be top notch. Maybe we'll be blessed with a slightly more polished sequel.

Graphics A
Sound C-
Gameplay B
Replay B-

Overall 81% B-