Blink is a smooth, relaxing, and extremely enjoyable experience.
I have been talking, writing, reviewing Indie games for a long time. After a while you begin to see patterns or formulas form when it comes to Indie games. It’s not that they become predictable or boring, on the contrary. So when I say that Blink is a Limbo-like title, I mean that in a good way completely. It doesn’t change the fact though, that this is a Puzzle/Platformer starring a child with a strange power that helps him overcome gaps, and shadowy death monsters with an awesome art style. If Walking Simulator/Roguelike can be a genre, can’t Limbo-like be one?
I am aware that Puzzle/platformers have long existed before Braid and Limbo came to be but they are the bar these days. Games such as BOOR, Inside and Never Alone continue to prove the passion and demand for these types of games. It’s a crowded genre to say the least but one I hold in high esteem and love. One the developers seems to as well. Which is why I’m more than happy then to start by saying I highly recommend Blink.
Blink is about a small child whose father goes missing. No, not at the bar type missing but really missing. Without much explanation you wake up inside a mysterious temple and an invisible voice reaches out to you. It gifts you with a power to slip into, “The Eye.” In the Eye, the laws of physics are different. This begins your quest to find your father and unravel the mystery of the voice and shadow monsters that have begun to plague your village. It’s simple, neat and well told. It’s no Stephen King story mind you, but it gets the major points across without unnecessary complexities.
The story does evolve and even culminates in a pretty awesome boss battle. For most of the game though its a rather monotone mood but in a good way. While the puzzles are challenging and even had me scratching my head at times. I never felt frustrated or angry at my mistakes, certainly not cheated. Blink has fantastic controls and responds remarkably well. The entire experience is very fluid and enjoyable from beginning to end. When I started playing it, I didn’t stop until I had beat the game. It’s that just smooth and enjoyable.
To be fair Blink is a rather short experience, topping out for me at 2 hours of total game time. I am fairly experienced at these titles though and it may take longer for others. This is still a rather short experience but I don’t find the pricing unfair at £4.99/$6.99. Especially when others have charged way more for the same amount of game time. (coughINSIDEcough)
Let’s talk about how puzzles work in this game.
With a press of a button the kid can transport himself into the Eye, a realm where an after image can be used to traverse the terrain. The most basic way to explain it is, you’re using light to create a shadow that acts a platform once you slip into this realm. One important thing to note though is that in the absence of light there is nothing. Which means you will fall into nothing, which happened frequently to me. Also you can’t stay very long in The Eye realm, as it will consume you.
What is very impressive is how well this entire system works. You can use light to trap your enemies inside of barriers, create stairwells for yourself, and use the absence of light to slip through walls. It’s all very strange, but it when you get the hang of it, its awesome. The game does begin throwing in more obstacles as you progress. The Shadow monsters are slow and somewhat stupid but become faster and more feral in the Eye. Some shadow creatures can only see you once you slip into the Eye. This leads to it becoming terrifying as they run you down while you try to move through an area. Later areas throw in lanterns, fog, and platforms that shift into The Eye with you. I cannot stress enough that this is a very smooth and wonderfully done progression. It kept things fun but not stressful. I loved that.
One thing I feel that will perhaps make a person think twice is the art style of this game. Beauty is in the Eye of the beholder in this case. (pun intended.) I will be frank in saying that the sprites for the Humans in this game are weird, and they’re my least favorite part. I felt like I was controlling a hot dog child wrapped in a coat. On the other hand, everything else looks spectacular. The rigid nature of the sprites works well for the shadow monsters and makes them feel alien. The backgrounds and the environments are gorgeous and feel like a painting. I couldn’t stop hitting my screen cap button while playing.
Every area you enter tells a different story and has its own tone.
Details are abundant and there was plenty of times I stopped and spoke to some sheep. The final area of the game is, by far, the most memorable and really just tops things off so very well. Of course none of this really works without a good soundtrack. Thankfully, Blink has an orchestral soundtrack and it’s exactly what you would expect for this type of game. It elevates the game and I never got tired of it. Sound effects while minimal, are sufficient but nothing inspiring.
As to the odds and ends, Blink does feature Steam achievements but currently no Steam cards. The game features full controller support. No rebindable keys sadly. Replay value is something that will be lacking for this type of game. You might pick it up again in six months and have fun though. This is standard for most games of this nature. The game runs on flash and has zero options menus, those with higher resolutions will have an experience that may vary. Keep that in mind.
Does Blink bring anything new to the table/innovate? Not necessarily but it does what it set out to do perfectly. If you have played games like Limbo/Braid you know what to expect. If you have never played any of them then this is a great place to start. I never found a bug nor crashed while playing. The nature of the puzzles and mechanics of your powers is executed perfectly. It’s what I took most away from this game. It was just a joy to play. Hopefully more people play Blink and spread the love of Indie Games.
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