Blinx: The Time Sweeper
Blinx: The Time Sweeper is a platform game developed by Artoon and published by Microsoft Game Studios. It was released for the Xbox on 7 October 2002. A sequel, Blinx 2: Masters of Time and Space, was released for the Xbox in 2004.
Advertised as "The World's First 4D Action Game", Blinx: The Time Sweeper is a third-person platformer game, in which the player controls the titular character Blinx, an anthropomorphic cat, who is on a mission to prevent the end of World B1Q64 and rescue its princess from the Tom-Tom Gang. Blinx is outfitted with a 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.
In Blinx: The Time Sweeper, the player takes on the role of Blinx, an anthropomorphic cat who works at a facility known as the Time Factory. The Time Factory is a facility dedicated to the creation, distribution and maintenance of the flow of time throughout the universe. When glitches or corruptions in time are found, the Time Factory dispatches Time Sweepers to locate and correct them. Left unchecked, temporal glitches can manifest themselves into malevolent time monsters, distorting everything with which they come into contact.
When a gang of evil pigs known as the Tom-Tom Gang begin stealing time from World B1Q64, it becomes temporally unstable to the extent that the Time Sweepers decide that it is safer for all worlds if the supply of time to World B1Q64 be halted, suspending it and its inhabitants indefinitely. When Blinx receives a message from a young princess trapped within the doomed world, Blinx proceeds to the room in which the portal leading to World B1Q64 is kept in. Although the rest of the Time Factory staff are against it, Blinx dives into the portal moments before it closes. He then travels to several parts of the world, fighting the time monsters, and recovering the resulting crystals in a desperate attempt to save World B1Q64.
After a long journey, he manages to catch up with the Tom-Toms and the princess in Momentopolis. He follows them towards the stadium, which is surrounded by a large number time crystals. Suddenly, light emerges in the centre of the stadium's platform, causing the Tom-Tom Gang and the Princess to freeze, and circle the light, along with the rest of the time crystals. The combination of time crystals, Princess, and Tom-Toms creates the final time monster: the Chronohorn, which can use Time Controls as well. Before Blinx can fight it, the Chronohorn rewinds time, and forces Blinx to fight four previous bosses (all of which are the ameliorated versions of the ones that you fight in rounds 1, 2, 3 and 5). After he defeats them all again, he fights the Chronohorn, wins and saves the sleeping princess while letting the Tom-Toms escape.
With the Tom-Toms gone, and time beginning to flow in World B1Q64 again, Blinx is content that his mission is complete. As the princess wakes up on the bench she was placed on, Blinx reluctantly says goodbye and leaves. The princess tries to follow him, but he jumps into a portal and ends up back in the Time Factory to be welcomed by applause from the other Time Sweepers. An announcement from the Mother Computer explains that World B1Q64 will not be cut off from the Time Factory, and Blinx is congratulated by the CEO, the Operator and the Administrator of the Time Factory. After the credits roll, the player sees a message written by the princess (her real name, Princess Lena, is revealed at this point). The message says that Lena has the time crystals that Blinx collected, and that she will use them for the most important thing of all. Using the time crystals, she rewinds time to when Blinx is about to leave. Before he jumps in the portal again, she wakes up, gives Blinx a hug, and thanks him.
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.
While already available via backwards compatibility on the Xbox 360, on 10 April 2018, Microsoft announced that 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 seen in the "You are watching..." bumper that appeared after every show on the Nickelodeon GAS network.
- A Platinum Hits edition of the game for NTSC was released in 2003 (some time after 22 Aug). This version was a difficulty patch where object placement, time monsters and time monster health were tweaked.
- The Classics edition of the game was released for PAL on 26 March 2004. This edition is the same as the original.
- 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 for $10.
- The backwards compatible Spanish and Japanese versions are the same as the Platinum version for unknown reasons.
- The Shop theme is a reuse of one of Mariko Nanba's tracks 'click clock'.
- 'click clock' was featured Mariko Nanba's album nanosounds SWINGING CIRCUIT album (under the alias 'Nosleeves') which was released a few months prior to the game's release.
- The opening features the game's title being announced by using a text-to-speech “Alex” voice synthesizer with Whisper effect, which is featured on any given Apple computer, and was popular for usage in the late 90s and early 2000s, also appearing in Serial Experiments Lain’s opening credits, Suda51’s Killer7 and No More Heroes.
- In an interview with Ed Fries, Blinx was never truly intended to be the next big video game mascot character for the US market. He was pushed as "the cute mascot character for Japan”.
Last updated on 14 Jan 2023