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Blinx 2: Masters of Time and Space

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Blinx 2: Masters of Time and Space (released in Japan as Blinx 2: Battle of Time and Space) is a 3D third-person platform game developed by Artoon and published by Microsoft Game Studios. It was released for the Xbox on November 18, 2004.

Its predecessor, Blinx: The Time Sweeper, was released for the Xbox in 2002.

With the July 12, 2007 backwards compatibility update for the Xbox 360, Blinx 2 can now also be played on the Xbox 360.[1]

Characters

In Blinx 2 the player controls either a Time Sweeper (an anthropomorphic cat) or a Tom Tom (a pig) on their mission to prevent the end of the world by finding the 8 fragments of the all-powerful Big Crystal.

The Time Sweepers monitor time so they can sweep up rubbish on the ground to fire as ammo. Their enemies are Time Monsters and the Tom Tom Gang. They also must face the segments of the Big Crystal, when they mutate into bosses.

In Blinx 2, there are various missions the player must complete in order to find the Big Crystal. As many of the Time Monsters respawn when needed, the 'Time Sweep' mission of the original Blinx no longer applies.

The Tom Toms are a rowdy bunch, who use guns, turrets, tanks and other traps (for example, a decoy which morphs into a Tom Tom to lure Time Sweepers away). Their enemies are the Time Sweepers, the K9-1000 dogs, and two bosses.

Players can completely customize the looks of their two characters, with an extremely deep customization system. During the game's production, many viewed this as a revolutionary new standard in character creation, however the game's limited advertising following its release caused it to go widely unnoticed.

Time Controls

Once again, the Time Sweeper places six different Time Controls at the player's disposal. Five of these are based on controls commonly found on VCRs. The Time Control and Time Sweepers available in Blinx 2 are slightly different from the Time Controls and Time Sweepers available to Blinx in Blinx 1.

The Time Crystals themselves work and appear differently also. In Blinx 2, the Time Crystals are shaped as their symbols in the Time Sweeper on-screen 'VCR' interface. Also, the player can collect the Time Crystals in any order to gain Time Controls. The player has a separate stock of Time Crystals for each Time Control, and when they hold three of any Crystal, it is converted into a Time Control. The 'collect 4 in a row to gain 2 Time Controls at once' rule is not present in Blinx 2.

The Time Controls are as in Blinx: The Time Sweeper with some exceptions.

  • FF - Two orange chevrons pointing to the right. Time Crystal - Orange chevrons pointing up. This Time Control is wildly different from its Blinx 1 counterpart. Blinx 2's FF causes time to slightly speed up for the world and its inhabitants but imbues the player's cat with energy, allowing them to run faster, jump higher, and fall slower. The player is no longer invulnerable during FF, and, as with all Blinx 2 Time Controls, any contact with an enemy during FF will cause the Time Control to be cancelled and the player to take damage.

The sixth Time Control, RETRY, is triggered manually in Blinx 2, but it can only be triggered when the player is knocked out by an enemy or lost to an infinite chasm.

In Blinx 2, each Time Sweeper has its own Time Control capacity, and each Time Control is stored separately. The starting Sweepers can only store two PAUSE, two REW and two RETRY. Upgraded Sweepers can hold up to five of each Time Control.

There is an upgrade available for each Time Sweeper which allows two Time Controls (except RETRY) to be mixed into a hybrid Time Control, which can exhibit powers possessed by both its parent Controls. For example, the player can mix REC and SLOW into a hybrid Time Control SLOW + REC, which is the same as a REC, except its 'recording' and 'playback' are both doubled (20 seconds instead of 10), and the world is afflicted by the power of SLOW. All pairings of REW, FF, PAUSE, REC and SLOW are possible (except pairing a Time Control with itself), but some combinations are more useful than others.

At certain points in the game, the player is confronted by large concealed weapons. When these are triggered, the game freezes for few seconds asking the player to choose one of two REACTIVE Time Controls (a feature new for Blinx 2). REACTIVE Time Controls are free Time Controls (triggered by the player's Operator back at the Time Factory) that allow the player to dodge or eliminate the impending threat. If the player fails to choose a REACTIVE Time Control, then the game is resumed, and the player is free to use one of the regular Time Controls as normal, or to simply dodge out of the way of the threat.

  • PAUSE REACTIVE - This is the same as a regular PAUSE, but it lasts for slightly longer. If the player wanders out of range of the threat during PAUSE REACTIVE, and then back into the threat if the weapon fires for a second time, then the player is offered a second REACTIVE, but only the PAUSE REACTIVE is available.
  • SLOW REACTIVE - This REACTIVE slows down the threat, roots the player to the spot, and challenges the player to dodge the incoming threat by moving the analog thumbstick to match on-screen commands. If the player does not react in time or pulls the wrong direction then the threat will instantly kill the player's character.

Criticism

This game received a large amount of harsh criticism for being marketed as a direct sequel to the first game,[citation needed] which implied that Blinx had a major role in the game; other than appearing in cutscenes and talking to the player in some of the Time Sweeper levels, the character played virtually no role in the plot, nor is he playable.

In fact, the game seemed to feature an entire storyline worth of original characters, none of whom are ever directly introduced. All cutscenes seemed to revolve around these mysterious cats and pigs, yet none make any contribution to the gameplay.

Blinx 2 was also criticisedTemplate:By whom because its final boss, the Scissor Demon, bears a resemblance to Tarrasque from Dungeons and Dragons, reflecting badly on the game's tone.

From a different point-of-view, Blinx 2 was also criticised for its significant additions of violence from its predecessor, particularly when playing as the Tom-Toms due to their weapons.

Also, many players[who?] complained about the constant help messages ruining the game's puzzle aspects. Puzzles can be solved effortlessly because the operator's help messages directly spell out how to solve them, rather than allowing the players to think for themselves.

Difficulty

The most common complaint any reviewer addressed in reviews for the first game was the difficulty. However, despite all criticisms made for this game and compared to the first, the sequel is much fairer when it comes to difficulty. The controls are also improved and the playable characters move faster too. The player can switch it at any time in the pause menu if they want more challenge.

References

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