As I’ve said before, I’m a huge fan of couch multiplayer/party games. A natural feature of these games prior to online multiplayer, was the split screen. Today’s game is designed from the bottom-up to accommodate the split screen, and creates gameplay elements that actively benefit from it. Blink: Rogues is an arcade shoot-em-up with a focus on 1v1 multiplayer via score attack. Players play simultaneously on the same screen and level, trying to leverage the highest score possible until the very end of the stage. There are two screens to navigate, one at a time, which capitalizes on a player function called Blink. Players have a short cooldown blink ability that transposes them in the same position on the other side of the screen, enabling a continuous flow of enemies to take down. I would say that, despite my generally positive vibes towards the game, I must acknowledge it feels very niche, but in a good way. Specialized. While the game may seem simplistic on the surface, I think there is a lot of room for mastery, and the multiplayer shows promise.
Blink: Rogues has relatively accessible controls: three separate key for laser/rocket/shotgun, moving, blink. There are enemies with color-coded shields that require specific secondary fire, and blinking into your half will trigger a special ability chosen at the start of the game. There are three modes as of now: a single player campaign, survival mode, and the multiplayer mode. The campaign does a good job incorporating ways to capitalize on the split screen with seemingly undodgeable obstacles or wall layouts. Similarly to a rhythm game, this is a mode that demands near perfection to get three-medal scores and to top the leaderboards. With a no-hit score multiplier at hand, there is a healthy amount of tension throughout the three to six minute levels that will keep you on your toes.
The multiplayer is similar in function – scores matter, but now you compete for your kills and can even shoot each other down via blinking across the stage. Getting the kill shot on bosses is the name of the game though, as scores tend to feel neck and neck. A seldom used maneuver becomes much more prevalent in multiplayer, the ability to change orientation to face up or down. In this way, rivals can fire at each other and quickly reposition to catch enemies trailing offscreen. There’s not much more to break down, as the controls and game feel are a lot better to play than any footage will give it justice.
Blink: Rogues is a specialized game for shmup fans who might be less into bullet hell, but still into fast-paced arcade fun. The controls are tight, enemy types varied, and the addition of the pivot and blink bring a new edge to the classic formula. I hope new updates, such as varied map selection, ship upgrades/powerups, or new bosses can help this game grow and thrive. For an early access showcase, there is a lot of potential and fun to be had at this stage.
Blink: Rogues was developed by Fox Dive Studio
Available on Steam for $7.99.
A Steam Copy was provided by the devs.
Hellfirebam has awarded Blink: Rogues The Indie Seal of Approval.