Review: Blinx 2: Masters of Time & Space (XB)

Blinx 2: Masters of Time & Space
Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Artoon
Genre: Action Platformer
Release Date: 11/16/04

I’m not a born skeptic. You have to make me one. After the first Blinx, I was not expecting a great deal out of the sequel. In fact there were a few times I asked myself, “Why are they even making a sequel?” The good news is that once I’m a skeptic, it’s not too hard to convert me back into a believer. I was pleasantly surprised with what Blinx 2 had to offer and really did enjoy playing the game.

Let’s Review:

1. Story

Cats and pigs. What more is there to life? Okay, so the combination sounds a little bit weird but Artoon somehow manages to pulls it off. The whole game starts out with a cut scene of a gang of pigs(the Tom-Tom gang) trying to raid treasure. Of course they just so happen to stumble across the a giant time crystal that controls all time. The pigs are portrayed as nothing but bumbling disgusting and of course the pig’s “boss” can’t control himself and ends up shattering the crystal. And this spells doom for the entire world. (of course) The crazy cats, led by none other than Blinx himself, are left trying to clean up the mess and gather the big crystal pieces. Meanwhile the Tom-Tom gang raids the Time factory that is left running on time reserves until Blinx and his teammates can come back with all the crystal pieces.

It doesn’t stop there. The pigs mix it up a little when “Boss”, as his lackeys refer to him, has a dream where he sees a beautiful girl named Mina calling for help. So of course “Boss” gets it into his thick skull that he needs all of the crystal pieces to hook up with Mina. “Mina, Mina, Mina!” he can’t seem to stop saying. It isn’t until later that you find out who Mina is(sorta) and see how the cats and the pigs hinder each other every step of the way.

Overall, while it’s not majestic and captivating, it has you following along with a grin. There’s a good amount of predictabilty and not a great deal of drama, but it’s a story that’s fun for everyone. The pigs are used a great deal for comic relief and I like the way the game was designed to switch between both perspectives of cat and pig.

Score: 7/10

2. Graphics

The graphics weren’t cutting edge or “fresh.” It was a cartoony world of time and space where the pig and cats are at each other’s throats. I like what they did on the time effects like pause, rewind or fast forward. By a smart use of technology they made it feel like you were really able to control time. Other small touches like the periscope view when your pigs are shuffling through their space holes and the simple movements of the characters make me think that a lot of thought was put into the graphics. In true form of the games out this year you can also customize everything about your character. Make your cat look like a pig or vice versa. The amount of options give you a lot of flexibilty with your character. All in all, I was not disappointed with the graphics.

Score: 7/10

3. Sound

Beep, Bloop, Blat! I think the best part of the sound was the sound effects. They did a lot with sound to make the time controls feel a little more real. I also felt great when I would spit garbage out of my vacuum and vanquish a time monster with a satisfying “pop!” The music itself is fitting enough but it didn’t captivate me or make me feel like I was privy to anything special. It went along great with the game, but you won’t catch me picking up the Blinx 2 soundtrack if it’s published.

Score: 6/10

4. Control

If you played the original Blinx, you probably skipped right to this part. Alright, I can be wrong, but the control in the orignal Blinx were enough to make people want to tear out their hair. Bad camera angles and time crystals that wouldn’t get picked up in the right order. It was a fight just to play the game. The good news is that things have changed. The controls are smooth and it’s almost too easy to pick up time crystals. I spent almost no time in the tutorials trying to figure out how to utilize the control system. I thought it might be complicated with the amount of time and space manipulation but the developers made it simple so that you could concentrate on other parts of the game other than wrestling with your controller.

Score: 9/10

5. Replayability

I’d play it again. Well, maybe not by myself. The great part about this game is that it has multiplayer cooperative and competition so you can play it over and over without getting bored. (I just realized that I really like to use the phrase “over and over” again and again… Which leads me to another realization about the phrase “again and again”…. Maybe I just like the word “and.” Anyway, onward and upward.) Blinx 2 is a game I would play over. You just won’t catch me glued to the screen. But that’s another review section so, moving on.

Score: 6/10

6. Balance

If I had one thing bad to say about this game in the beginning was that it was too easy. I get really bored when a game doesn’t provide enough challenge. As I continued to play and my characters gained different skills, it got a bit more interesting. Blinx 2 is an action game but it’s also a puzzle game. You can’t blast your way through the levels; you have to figure the best ways to get past obstacles using the tools in your arsenal. I like using brain and skill, because when it came to some of the boss fights it did require a bit of skill(and frustration) on my part. Then again, I have to be honest and say I’m no good with live action games but can’t help but play them.

Score: 8/10

7. Originality

Yeah, it’s a sequel but that doesn’t mean that it’s completely devoid of any originality. I was pleased with the amount of thought that was put into creating a story that could appeal to a variety of audiences. There was a bit of predictabilty in the story line, but that didn’t make it any less fun to play. In my opinion, it does take a few creative minds to build a game that plays around both time and space.

Score: 6/10

8. Addicitveness

You know how there are some games where in your every free second away from that game you can’t stop thinking about it. In fact there may be some days that you even wake up thinking about it. Well… this game was not one of those. It was enjoyable to play and I got a kick out of the story but it didn’t keep me glued at the hip to my Xbox. No offense, Blinx, but you’re just not as hott as Sam Fischer.

Score: 4/10

9. Appeal Factor

Around the office, all the gals are asking me what are the video games that they should buy for their kids. Makes me feel frikkin ancient to be playing a video game that I would recommend for a 12 year old, but Blinx is that type of game that an adult can play and feel good about letting the younger kiddos play. Now if you like the FPS games to shoot around and let off steam, it’s probably not for you. If you like sitting back after a hard day and letting your brain turn into jello, you probably don’t want to be solving the time puzzles. For the most part I think that Blinx 2 does appeal to a wider audience than most games.

Score: 8/10

10. Miscellaneous

The original Blinx was harder to control and more frustrating to deal with. The best part about this game? Artoon listened. They listened to the complaints of the gamers that played the original and did what they could to improve the game quality for everyone. For that they deserve 11 roses and half a box of chocolates. (What? Can I have none for myself?) Okay so I didn’t send a single chocolate, but they do at least deserve a few bonus points for caring about people’s opinions.

Score: 9/10

1. Story: 7/10
2. Graphics: 7/10
3. Sound: 6/10
4. Control: 9/10
5. Replayability: 6/10
6. Balance: 8/10
7. Originality: 6/10
8. Addicitveness: 4/10
9. Appeal Factor: 8/10
10. Miscellaneous: 9/10



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