Blinx: The Time Sweeper
|Blinx: The Time Sweeper|
|Publisher(s)||Microsoft Game Studios|
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. In 2014, Microsoft dropped the Blinx trademark.
Advertised as "The World's First 4D Action Game", Blinx: The Time Sweeper is a third-person platform game, in which the player controls the titular character Blinx, an anthropomorphic cat, who is on a mission to prevent the end of Dimension B1Q64 and rescue its princess from the evil Tom-Tom Gang. Blinx is outfitted with the TS-1000 Vacuum Cleaner, with which he can exert control over time itself through five unique "Time Controls": slowing down time, speeding it up, recording himself, reversing time, and stopping it entirely via pausing.
The player takes on the role of Blinx, an anthropomorphic cat who works as a Time Sweeper at the Time Factory, a facility located outside of Time itself that is dedicated to the creation, distribution and maintenance of the flow of time throughout countless dimensions and the universe as a whole. Whenever Time Glitches are found in any part of a dimension, Time Sweepers like Blinx are dispatched to whatever dimension the Glitches are in to locate and correct them before they solidify into Time Crystals. If left unchecked, the Crystals will manifest themselves into Time Monsters, and said Monsters will roam freely among whatever dimension they're in, disrupting time and distorting whatever they come into contact with. However, when the Tom-Tom Gang, a malevolent army of pigs, begin to steal and destroy countless Time Crystals in a dimension known by the codename "B1Q64", it becomes unstable to the extent that the Time Sweepers decide, for the safety of all other dimensions, to halt the supply of time to it, suspending it and its inhabitants indefinitely. But when Blinx spots Princess Lena, the monarch of Dimension B1Q64, being held hostage by the Tom-Tom Gang, he enters the dimension via the Time Sweepers' Time Portal moments before it closes to rescue her.
Blinx as a mascot
GameSpy suggests that Blinx was proposed as a possible mascot for the Xbox system, rivaling Nintendo's Mario and Link, Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog, Capcom's Mega Man and Ryu, Namco's Pac-Man, Konami's Frogger, Ubisoft's Rayman, Sony's Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon (which later both became properties of Activision), Eidos's Lara Croft, Squaresoft's Cid and Cloud (though Square would merge with Enix by 2003), and Rare's Banjo Kazooie (which would later be owned by Microsoft), and since the main character of Halo: Combat Evolved (Master Chief) was considered too violent (and also lacking in identity behind a visor), and the officials wanted a "friendly, furry face" to lead the sales among the younger clientele. Due to the game's unpopularity, it never achieved the suggested goal and Master Chief is unofficially seen as the mascot, though Blinx was in fact proposed as the mascot for the Xbox in Japan for a while.
While already available via backwards compatibility on the Xbox 360, on April 10 2018, it was announced by Microsoft, backwards compatibility would be supported for Blinx: The Time Sweeper on Xbox One on April 17 2018. Physical discs will be playable on the system, while available on the Xbox Live Store as a digital download.
Blinx was met with a mildly positive reception upon release, as GameRankings gave it a score of 73.09%, while Metacritic gave it 71 out of 100. GameSpy included the game in its "Most Overrated Games Ever" feature. Although the graphics were generally praised, the game's execution, notably the control method, was considered to have resulted in the game being too difficult. Saleswise, by 2003, 156,000 copies were sold. In 2003, Blinx also entered the Platinum Hits range (as part of the all-age Platinum Family Hits).
GameSpot editor Greg Kasavin gave it a score of 6.3 out of 10, noting that players get a sense of relief from completing a level, rather than enjoyment or satisfaction. Electronic Gaming Monthly gave it 7.5/5.5/8: the second reviewer found the game to be tedious and repetitive, but the third believed that "issues aside, the unique style and play mechanics make [it] stand out". In Japan, Famitsu gave it a score of 31 out of 40.
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