Updated: Jan 25, 2019
Developer: nextReality Games
Earlier this year when I attended Dreamhack Austin, I watched a couple minutes of gameplay of Blink. I didn’t actually get a chance to play it myself while at the convention, but watching was enough to make me curious. I should preface with something about me: I'm picky when it comes to 2D platformers. This is not to say I do not like them, but I find that many are too similar one to the next. They can get repetitive. However, I love a platformer with a new and surprising mechanic. This game definitely drew me in from first glance by meeting that standard.
Blink is a 2D puzzle-platformer in which you have an ability to see the world in 2 different ways. One is a normal world as it appears to the regular eye, and one if the world of light. When you press the "blink" button to the see the world of light, you are surrounded by almost pure darkness and your only way through is to, literally, use the light. Moving forward involves precise timing to switch between the two worlds so that the light can form a path for you. Blink presents a dark and eerie world, and yet you are led forward on a hopeful journey. There’s a great contrast of solid gameplay and story-telling dialogue. The graphics are fairly basic but the hand-drawn backgrounds are worth stopping to appreciate. I did pause the game at several points to admire either the view of the background, the music, or both.
The story seems fairly simple. You are a boy traveling through this dark and fallen world to find your dad, with a couple of strange and dark elements added. However, the complex relationships that you come to encounter along the way with your family, villagers, and "others" really moved me and surprised me. Most of the game is puzzle-solving and bypassing non-combat enemies, but the short periods of story-telling and character interactions feel very important and needed as a break. The way that you travel through this world definitely inspires a feeling of loneliness, especially since you have this ability to "see" and be aware of much that others are not privy to. However, because of this, there's a warm and comforting feeling to the village and people you briefly encounter and the support the characters grant you along your journey.
Another aspect of platformers that can turn me away from a game is frustrating puzzles that prevent you from advancing. Despite the fact that Blink had some tricky portions that involved quick timing and adequate planning, it was never (highly) frustrating in these challenges. The game doesn't punish you for these errors so you're allowed to re-strategize and happily discover a solution you hadn't come across before.
I was truly hooked as soon as I started playing this game. It's not long, but in the time you have it feels like you do get to experience a satisfying climax and conclusion (not to say I wouldn't love to see a sequel to this, however). I was pleasantly surprised by this game and its cleverness; I would call it one of my favorite platformers. I definitely recommend Blink, especially if you enjoy spending time on platforming puzzles that may or may not take a couple tries and chin-scratches to get through.
Blink is available for PC.
Played on: PC (Steam)
Playtime: 3.1 hours
How I heard about this game: Indie Playground at Dreamhack Austin