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Product: Blinx: The Time Sweeper
Company: Microsoft
Website: http://www.xbox.com
Estimated Street Price: $49.95/£44.99
Review By: Byron Hinson

The Features

Blinx has been advertised as the first 4D game, meaning that Blinx is the first ever title to allow the user to pause, slow-down, fast forward, rewind and record the game you are taking part in. So blinx is the first ever Xbox title to make innovative use of the hard drive, something that I am surprised that no PC game has done before.

  • Control time, the fourth dimension: Just like using a VCR remote control in the world, you can or slow-motion the world while you move in real-time to get an edge over your enemies. Rewind the world to re-open hidden passages or get another try at a challenge. Record the action and then play the game with your pre-ordered character.
  • Get cool character upgrades and power-ups: Use your wages to buy more powerful sweepers to pick up things more huge obstacles to pick up things more quickly or move huge obstacles blocking undiscovered areas. You can buy other cooler gear to enhance your abilities.
  • Explore totally deep and twisted worlds unlike anything you've ever seen: Check out over 30 fantastical levels in "warped-reality" worlds: Venice, Canyon, Caves, Ancient Ruins, even a "fourth dimension." Hidden iteams and areas all over the warped worlds add hours of replayability.

Gameplay

Review Quotes
"The sound department doesn’t quite live up to Blinx’s graphical flair. There are voice-overs during the intro movie, but there is no speech or dialogue during the actual game"

So apart from this innovative feature mentioned earlier, what else does Blinx have to hold you to it? Well for a start Blinx is a platform game, the idea of the game is to defeat all of the “Time Monsters” that have taken over various areas of the game. In each stage of the game you have ten minutes, if you don’t complete the stage by that time your game is over.

You defeat the time monsters by using your sweeper (kind of like a vacuum cleaner), this sweeper can only hold a certain amount of items in it. The items that you pick up can be fired from your sweeper at the time monsters. Certain monsters require more items to be fired at them before they are defeated. Once all of the stages in a level have been completed you come up against a boss time monster, these bosses tend to take more firepower than the regular monsters in the game.

During the game you get to pick up gold stars and triangles, these items get turned into gold at the end of each stage, the various items that you suck up are also turned into gold later on too (it is a good idea to figure out what items get you the most money). The gold can be used in various shops, these shops contain extra lives, rewinds, pauses etc along with better sweeper upgrades which let you suck up more items.

So back to the main feature in the game, the time control system, there are five different types of time control:

  • Rewind
  • Fast Forward
  • Pause
  • Record
  • Slow Motion

You gain access to the VCR features by collecting various time crystals that are scattered around each stage; you must collect either three or four of the same type of time crystal to get either one or two extra time controls such as pause or record. This system works quite well early in the game thanks to the fact that there are an awful lot of time crystals for you to picks up, but in the later stages it can become much harder for you to find the correct amount of time crystals as there are far fewer of them to collect.

As mentioned earlier, each stage must be completed within 10 minutes; this isn’t very long and obviously can lead to some very frustrating moments in the game, especially towards the end of a stage when you lose the game by all of a few seconds. Blinx can also feel quite a bit repetitive as you tend to be doing the same thing over and over again, with the only real variety being the end of level bosses.

Graphics & Sound

Review Quotes
"Blinx is a platform game, the idea of the game is to defeat all of the “Time Monsters” that have taken over various areas of the game"

Graphically I can’t find many faults with Blinx. The main character looks absolutely superb both with some great textures and some really good animation. The level designs are also very good too with lots of animation and some really great water effects. The enemy monsters have all been well designed too, they all manage to look suitably wacky and different to what you see in most games. The only problem that I have had graphically is with some flickering on the TV screen, kind of like a V-Sync problem that you get with graphical tearing on a PC, perhaps this is due to the NTSC to PAL conversion, but either way it shouldn’t be happening on the Xbox.

The sound department doesn’t quite live up to Blinx’s graphical flair. There are voice-overs during the intro movie, but there is no speech or dialogue during the actual game, the music also managed to annoy me at first, but after the first few stages of the game I started to quite enjoy it.

Final Comments

How It Grades
Controls: 78%
Gameplay: 70%
Presentation: 86%
Graphics: 91%
Multiplayer: N/A
Sound: 73%
Manual: 81%
Interface: 71%
Price/Value: 70%
Overall: 74%

So overall how do I feel about Blinx on the Xbox? Well it is certainly pioneering in the way that it deals with the Xbox hard drive. But the innovation really ends there, as a platform game Blinx can’t compete with other console efforts such as Mario Sunshine on the Gamecube or Jak and Daxter and the recently released Ratchet and Clank on the Playstation 2 as it is too repetitive when compared to these other games despite the excellent VCR features here in Blinx.

Specs & Package
Overall Score 74%
Version Reviewed Blinx: The Time Sweeper (PAL)
Release Date Out Now
In The Box? 1 Blinx: The Time Sweeper DVD
1 Set Of Instructions
The Good Points Great Graphics
Ok Sound
Nice innovation
The Bad Points Repeats too much
Widescreen Support No
PAL 60 Support (Europe) No


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