Blinx 2: Masters of Time and Space Hands-On

Microsoft's temporally minded kitty is playable at TGS. We went hands-on and came away with favorable impressions.

TOKYO--Microsoft is still trying to claw its way to the top in the Japanese console market, and one of its newest attempts to gain a foothold is Blinx 2: Masters of Time and Space, which the company is showing off at its Tokyo Game Show booth. Though the first Blinx debuted to less-than-favorable reviews, we gave this new sequel a fighting chance and found that it may very well earn the "most improved" superlative in the 2004 Xbox yearbook.

Our first look at Blinx 2 has all the basic details of the demo we played at TGS. While we only got to watch the game a while back, we got to actually play through it on the show floor, so we'll say that the game's feel is much more appealing than that of its infamous predecessor. Blinx 2 features a control scheme that's loose enough to let you can run around, dodge enemies, and jump obstacles quickly; thankfully, the clunky feel that marked the original game's control is absent here. The game simply flows more smoothly than the first Blinx did. This new sequel feels comparable to any given platformer, in gameplay terms, which is certainly a good sign.

We found both the cats and the pigs to be quite playable in Blinx 2, though we'd give the nod to the kitties simply because the time controls are so accessible this time around. You don't have to worry about bad time combos anymore. Simply pick up three of the relevant time items and you'll gain the associated power. That meant we were able to pause, rewind, and slow down time frequently, which was satisfying, since the time controls are the point of the game to begin with. The pigs are more stealth-oriented, and we got to try out several of the porcine weapons--such as the banana peel, the slingshot, and the time grenade--during the demo. It seems like the two gameplay styles will provide a decent amount of variety as you work your way through the single-player campaign.

Obviously, we can't yet make any grand proclamations about Blinx 2, such as "Way better than the first one!" Then again, the signs are there. We'll have to see how the later levels turn out, in terms of puzzle and combat variety, before we can say for sure, but Microsoft and Artoon definitely seem to have done their homework, because the demo version of Blinx 2 improves on most of the weaker aspects of the original game. We'll bring you more on the game soon.

For more updates, be sure to check GameSpot's coverage of the Tokyo Game Show 2004.

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