Blinx 2 Masters of Time & Space Xbox
by Microsoft Game Studios
Developed by Artoon
Release Date: Out Now
Blinx 2 Masters of Time & Space is of course the sequel to Blinx The Time Sweeper. In the first game a bunch of evil pigs known as the Tom Tom Gang captured the Princess and also stole time crystals that not only disrupted the flow of time but also released many time monsters. In Blinx 2 the Tom Tom Gang are once again up to their tricks and they've shattered the mysterious Big Crystal which has set the universe on the road to destruction. The Big Crystal must be reassembled if the universe is to be saved. Your goal is to collect all of those Big Crystal pieces and help restore order. In a surprising twist though you also get to control a member of the Tom Tom Gang and whilst Blinx and his pals are masters of time, the Tom Tom Gang are masters of space.
Unusually for a sequel you don't actually control the main character but nevertheless you'll still see Blinx in the games cutscenes. In Blinx 2 you'll create your own characters to play as. First of all you'll control your own time sweeping cat and later on you'll get to create your very own pig. The amount of options for creating your own characters is amazing. You can alter everything from eye and tail size to the style of their costumes. Of course whether you create a tall thin or small fat pig or cat makes no difference to the way the game plays but it's great to be able to customise your characters. That said though it would have been great to have had the choice to play as Blinx again. Imagine buying a Mario or Sonic game and you can't play as Mario or Sonic, it would be a little disappointing.
Now we here at Deaf Gamers thought that Blinx The Time Sweeper was a very enjoyable game. It was challenging and required a fair amount of thought. Taking a look at other reviews though it's obvious that many thought the game was too complicated and as a result Blinx 2 has been dumbed down a lot and some of the elements that irritated some people have been removed. Before, you had to collect time crystals in a specific order if you wanted to harness their power but now you just collect them all as you go along and you are automatically given the time controls that they offer. If you're hit by an enemy it used to be instant death but now you have a health bar that will decrease if you're hit but you're still alive. You can also find items such as milk to refill your health bar. At times the game feels like it's holding your hand a little too much and provides too many hints. Blinx let you get on with it and figure it out for yourself. At times Blinx 2 feels like it's setting you a challenge and giving you the answer in the same breath.
In Blinx 2 though it's not just about controlling the Time Sweepers and you also get to have fun with the Tom Tom Gang. Whilst this is a nice inclusion, in theory, I didn't enjoy playing as the Tom Tom Gang half as much and this is one of the problems with the approach that Artoon have taken. Most gamers will either prefer the Time Sweepers or the Tom Tom Gang and few will find both as good. The Tom Tom Gang missions consist of using stealth and space controls such as Warp Tunnels and Hypercloaks. The pigs also get to use gadgets such as decoys to distract enemies and banana skins to trip them up and incapacitate them for a while. The Tom Tom Gang missions are not poor by a long stretch but I didn't enjoy them as much.
Blinx 2 has support for 4 player games and a 2 player co-operative mode. The 2 player co-operative mode can be played by playing the single player game and simply choosing the 2 player option. The game is played on a horizontal split-screen and depending on the difficulty level you choose, you can either do the same things or split the tasks between you. The Vs. Mode allows 2-4 players to have a Battle Royale or Cats vs Pigs matches. These games are actually quite enjoyable and it's a shame the whole thing wasn't on Xbox Live with more players taking part.
You usually expect sequels to look better than the original game but for some reason this isn't so with Blinx 2. The characters and enemies seem just as good, in some cases better than those in the original but some of the environments look kind of fuzzy compared to those in the first Blinx game. For the most part the game still looks good but it's a shame that some of the levels have a slightly fuzzy quality to them.
Blinx fans will be pleased to learn that Blinx 2 is subtitled. As a result you'll be able to enjoy the games cutscenes. The tutorials and all the information you receive whilst in the missions is in text too so there's no problems at all which is excellent. In several areas of the game, such as the Tom Tom Gang's HQ you can talk to other characters and these conversations are text only so again there are no problems. The only area where it could have been better is when you use one of the time controls. Using a pause for instance triggers a kind of ticking noise which keeps gamers informed of how long the pause will last. There isn't any visual notification for this countdown. This isn't a major problem though and in no way spoils the experience. You'll also find that there are enemy indicator arcs which show which way an enemy is coming toward you (if the arcs are yellow the enemies are not aware of you but if they are orange then they can see you and will attack) which is again a great feature. Mission objectives are given in text only at the start of each mission and they can be recalled, in an abridged style, by pressing the start button.
Whilst Blinx 2 has made the whole thing simpler and less irritating, in some respects, personally I don't think the game is as enjoyable as Blinx The Time Sweeper. That said though I can see the game appealing to a wider audience this time around as it's more forgiving with no time constraints and more varied game play. The ability to create your own character is a nice touch and many will appreciate the amount of customisation options that have been included. The Xbox isn't well blessed when it comes to exclusive platform style games and whilst Blinx 2 certainly isn't a classic it's still enjoyable and many will appreciate the amount of variety the game offers.
Game Rating: 7.6/10
It's both a good sequel in some ways and a disappointing one in others. Artoon have simplified the whole thing and whilst this makes it more accessible it also means it's not going to appeal as much to those who really liked the first game.
No problems as it's fully subtitled.