Xbox needs a hero. Nintendo has Mario, Sega had Sonic and PlayStation seems to have a range of them from Crash Bandicoot to Lara Croft. Blinx, a time catching cat, is Microsoft’s latest hope and one that unfortunately is unlikely to stick around for the long run.
That isn’t to say however that the game is crap, on the contrary, this game follows all the usual rules of a 3D platform style game with a cute hero. Since its release its won many awards included the Best Xbox game at E3 in 2002. The levels are fun and the graphics charming.
All in Japanese, or some crazy made up language (we can’t really tell) the games premise is as wacky as you can get. You play Blinx, a cat who works in a time factory making sure we all get time in equal doses etc. But in true computer game style the factory is attacked by Ugo, Bentio and Cino - the time thieves. As the only time sweeper still standing, your job is to stop the evil hordes, the monsters created by the time glitches and eventually save the princess that they’ve happened to kidnap at the same time. Still with us? If that wasn’t enough you’ve only got a limited time is each level before the region will become unstable and vanish for good. All sounds pretty simple doesn’t it?
Once you’ve got over the wackiness of the storyline, the game pretty much becomes your standard 3D platform adventure based over some 35 levels. Each level gets progressively harder to complete, with more and more baddies as the story unfolds. The levels are further broken down into stages and with in each ‘round’ you have three stages and a boss, as well as a shop to buy more health, bigger guns and other such delights.
Baddies can be defeated by throwing rubbish at them that you find around the games levels. Knowing how to get out of trouble or a sticky situation in the game is always helpful and here using Blinx’s time powers you can control the time within the game. Rewind, fast forward, pause, slow and record are all available to you and its here where the game shines in its fresh and imaginative approach.
You can easily see how perhaps slow or fast forward could help you, but the inclusion of rewind - for when you know you are about to die - and record - make a copy of yourself to kill bosses and baddies quicker - offer a nice element to this game. The skills aren’t just handed to you willy-nilly and you have to collect a certain amount of symbols to access the skills. Even then you are only ever allowed to hold three at any one time and this make collecting them just as tactical as playing the game itself.
Overall this is nothing more than your average 3D platform adventure. The graphics are cute, the characters even cuter. Yet while it is nothing new or necessarily original about the whole thing, the way it has been carried out is very well polished. It won't be everyone's cup of tea, but for the younger audiences or those wanting to waste some time on their Xbox, this will be right up your street.