Blinx: The Time Sweeper

Blinx: The Time Sweeper

released on Oct 07, 2002

Blinx: The Time Sweeper

released on Oct 07, 2002

Blinx: The Time Sweeper is a platform game developed by Artoon and published by Microsoft Game Studios. It was released for the Xbox on October 7, 2002. A sequel, Blinx 2: Masters of Time and Space, was released for the Xbox in 2004.

Also in series

Blinx 2: Masters of Time and Space
Blinx 2: Masters of Time and Space

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I don't know what it is about Artoon/Arzest making games with artstyles that look pretty cool, but once you start playing them they range from kinda weaksauce to genuinely painful. There's Ghost Vibration, Balan Wonderworld, Swords of Destiny... and, sadly, this one seems to make up the list as well.

I have nothing to criticize about the game art-wise. The music is sick and fits the game like a glove, and the artstyle is really cool, and i aboslutely love Blinx's chesire-cat design made by the designer of Sonic himself, Naoto Oshima. (even though the western cover of the game makes him look like a really dumb 90's 'tude mascot, which probably contributed to poor sales)
The biggest problem with Blinx is the gameplay, and the problem with Blinx's gameplay is the pacing. You play Mario 64, Rayman 2 or honestly pretty much any other 3D platformer for 10 minutes, and even if you've never touched a single platformer before, it all clicks within those 10 mins and you get better at the game from there. Blinx? I've played this shit for hours, and it still feels like i'm playing it wrong. The game seems to place an emphasis on being fast with the grades for levels that pretty much only factor how fast you beat them, yet the game features one of the slowest moving videogame characters i've ever played with, with really basic combat based around picking up trash and throwing it at enemies, which requires careful aiming. So you're trying to go fast with some of the most slow-as-molasses physics for a 3D platformer and with not-so straightforward combat. It's a recipe for tilting.

It wasn't until i looked up high-level playthrough clips of this game online that i figured out that this game actually does have a speedrun skill ceiling, i even realized that through a combination of Fast Forward pieces + Super Bombs you buy at the store, you can jump up to high areas you weren't meant to reach. The thing is, nearly every single pro-level gameplay vid i've seen seems to have mostly to do with spamming fast forward whenever available, and the other time pieces were at best only used to beat a few puzzles on levels. Other than a few sections where you can use Rewinds with falling platforms or breaking pillars to reach higher areas, FF feels like the only power that matters for beating levels fast. And some of the other tricks like the bomb jumping feel really pinpoint. Most intuitive hacks also just don't work. Try stacking barrels on top of eachother? The lower one will just get crushed.
Yeah, sometimes you have to get on some secret areas to get the cat medals, but they rarely ever seem to connect with the fastest routes for beating a stage. It feels like an artificial attempt at replayability by having some of the medals far-apart from the levels themselves so you have to choose between a beating a stage fast and getting a good grade, or getting the cat medals, on top of the fact that you'll have to replay some stages to grind for gold or get time pieces for another level sooner or later.
That's the thing about this game. Blinx isn't actually too hard to beat in and of itself, but it's REALLY hard to play in a satisfying way. Either you're concrete-scraping your way across the game with no style or regard for time or grades whatsoever, or you looked up playthroughs and guides and learned how to beat a level in 20 seconds. The learning curve is almost non-existant. It's no wonder why this game has such a small speedrunning community despite feeling literally built around that.

I had no idea it was possible to make a 3D platformer feel grindy until BLiNX came around. The earlier levels in the game only have about 100-400G to collect, so you have to be scoop up a shitton of gold in order to get Sweepers, Health Upgrades and Time Holders to make your job less annoying and it becomes yet another way for the game to try and make you replay stages for the hell of it. On top of that, you have to rebuy sweepers you've replaced. Swapped out the TS-16000 for the vacuum that sucks up water for a few secret cat medals on Deja Vu Canals? That'll be 4000 Gold plus tip.
For extra insult to injury, the best sweeper in the game is a 100% completion reward and still has to be bought at the Shop for 90000 gold. What's the point? By the time you even unlock this item you will already have done everything worthwhile in this game. It would have been better off as an unlockable for beating the game normally or just really expensive but available at World 7 or so.

Really though, i think the biggest thing holding this game back from being fun is the fact that they wanted you to beat ALL the enemies in order to beat levels. It's bad enough that time monsters become absolute hitsponges on latter levels and some of them like the frogs or the rolling spikes take an annoying amount of care, timing and precision to get rid of quickly, but it also really breaks the flow of levels that may initially seem big, open-ended and incentivizing to carve your shortcuts to the end of the level, by instead forcing you to basically follow a breadcrumb trail of enemies to complete them. You'll just have to accept the fact that stages in this game are a lot more linear than they seem.

Not to be a heretic and try to reform the Holy Blinx, but i feel this game could have been much more fun with two simple changes
1) Every stage having a 'minimum' amount of enemies to beat in order to clear it, this can vary depending on the size and difficulty of the stage, so that you can beat levels much faster with alternative paths.
2) Being allowed to buy the time pieces you need at the item stores. It would eliminate the need to replay levels just for the sake of getting the necessary time pieces for other ones. The game lets you do this with bombs and hearts already, so why not do the same for rewinds, fast forwards and such?

This game is basically an ongoing trainwreck of mechanics with decent potential just smashing into one another without any consistency. It is one of those "i really wanted to like it" kinda games for me. It's really hard for me to say i actually hate this game because... just fucking look at it, my god.
It's the official mascot platformer of the XBOX. The same console brand i always associated with fratbro american football games and Military Industrial Complex manly testosterone shooters, and it looks like a cartoony scrimblo furry fever dream. And with the Original Xbox itself being sometimes seen as a home for challenging games like Ninja Gaiden and all those Fromsoft titles, i do feel it's pretty fitting that the official mascot platformer is one built around speedrunning and tricks. You could probably even consider Blinx to be a pioneer in that territory, but Jesus Christ, if i was a nine year old in 2002, i wouldn't have known what the hell to make out of this game either.
I kinda wanna play the sequel now but i heard with that one they just ran out in the opposite direction and made the game really easy. I just hope it doesn't trivialize time controls too much.

this game has no redeeming qualities in my eyes.

It's honestly kind of a neat game. Having to collect three of the same pickup in order to earn a consumable use of one of your time powers kind of rubs me the wrong way, though.

Hard af and I'll never beat it, heard 2 improves on that but it was too late.
Shame because Blinx had huge mascot potential, just needed something a bit more accessible to everyone. John Halo is fine, but he's not a cat. Just not a fan of more serious mascots like him, personally. They gotta be scrimblos like Blinx.

I wish this game had a remaster or some sort of recognition already...

I don't remember if my dad and I finished this one but it's dope and the soundtrack is cool. Suck, suck, suck!