Game: Blink Rogues
Genre: Action, Arcade
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam)
Developer|Publisher: Fox Dive Studio | Ultimate Games
Age Rating: EU 7+ | US Everyone
Price: US $9.99 | UK £8.99 | EU € 9,99
Release Date: May 7th, 2021
Review code provided with many thanks to Ultimate Games
Take to the Skies
Blink Rogues is a top-down shooter that plays like a shmup. Being the space shooty bang bang fan I am, I’m always intrigued when another game comes along to have a crack at the formula. Blink Rogues offers a variety of modes for single and multiplayer. The main focus of the experience seems to be on the latter, something which not a lot of space shooters do. Was this a risk worth taking? Let’s jump into another video game spaceship and see how high this ship flies next to the competition.
Since I went into this game solo I jumped first into the story mode. Here, small static art pictures and text boxes give little story snippets before you start each level. You play as Lucious, a rebellious pilot who has been called in to help to take down the bad guys whilst also looking for his brother. Translation: shoot the enemy ships and win the day. There’s not a lot of depth but it doesn’t feel like it’s really needed. Before you begin the story the game offers a tutorial to help you get to grips with the flight mechanics and weapons.
When you start a level you notice the screen is split in two vertically. Enemies constantly spawn between the two screens. The main hook of the game is that you can warp your ship between two screens by pressing a trigger button. Your ship automatically shoots standard shots at whatever is straight in front of it. You can move your ship about freely as well as press a button to flip the ship 180 degrees and shoot behind. You also have three special weapons with limited shots like a yellow shotgun which fires a short-range wide burst, red rockets which fire a long-range explosive and a purple laser that can take down several enemies in one vertical beam.
The colour coding is important as it can be used to take down specific enemies with the appropriate colour shield. The ammo is limited but enemies often drop more supplies so I usually found I could spam these weapons as much as I wanted. One doesn’t favour every situation so it’s sensible to mix up your shooty tactics regularly to take down enemies as quickly as possible. If you play the game in story mode the main aim is to take out as many enemies as possible in order to gain up to three stars and progress to the next level.
The story mode feels overly challenging. To gain a single star you need to destroy at least 40% of all enemies in the levels, which sounds reasonable but your ship feels underpowered and very slow. Enemies are constantly spawning on both screens and it’s quite hard work manoeuvring your ship to the right position and screen and then using the right weapons to clear all the enemies.
If you die, you respawn after a set amount of time, usually meaning you’ll miss the opportunity to remove more enemies. It took me multiple attempts to gain enough stars to progress to the next level making the process feel tedious and boring. It feels the experience would be better if it just let you play all ten levels and chase a high score instead of repeating the same tedious process over and over.
If you play the game in multiplayer mode the aim is to score more points than your enemy ship within 5 minutes. You can play this mode using AI bots (of three difficulty settings) but this feels like an experience best enjoyed with another human player if you can. But if you wanna kick back and watch the video gameplay itself you can actually watch two AI bots go at it and just place your bets I guess. It seems like a silly addition but I kinda like it when developers add stuff like this. Hey, sometimes one wants to watch a game and not play it.
What I did like about the versus mode is that you can totally mess with your opponent and warp to their screen and shoot them down, temporarily halting their ability to score points. I can see this possibly ending friendships if you’re lucky enough to play it with a good friend or future nemesis. The game also offers a tournament mode which I was unable to try since you need at least one other human player to enjoy it and the game doesn’t offer online multiplayer.
The game makes use of low poly 3D ships which look a little rough around the edges. The backgrounds are kind of bland and the enemy ships are just your usual assortment of simple ship designs. It’s all serviceable but nothing about the art style makes the experience stand out from the space shooter crowd.
Blink Rogues does release at an appealing budget price but its bland story mode was not enough to hold my attention for very long. The ideal setting for playing this game is going to visit that old gaming buddy on a nice summers day. Propping the switch up on a table, throwing a controller at a friend (don’t hurt them) and having some competitive fun. This game seems like it will be fun for a few rounds and those gaming memories may last a lifetime for both of you. But if you opt to go solo it’s likely you’ll lose interest pretty quickly.
Conclusion – Blink and You’ll Miss It
Blink Rogues has some good ideas for a space shooter but it’s generally let down by its slow and unrewarding gameplay. It’s possible some patching could improve the ship controls and just make the weapons pack a proper punch but in its current form, it’s just not a very good experience. It might be worth picking up to play the multiplayer mode with a friend but otherwise, this is not a ship you need to fly any time soon.
Final Verdict: I’m Not Sure