The latest game by Ultimate Games S.A., Blink Rogues deserves a lot of credit for trying something new with the shooter genre. Unfortunately, even with all the unique features, the end result is an overly difficult shmup that challenges for all the wrong reasons.
So what makes Blink: Rogues so unique? To start, the screen is divided vertically into two: a left side and a right side. With the tap of a button, the player’s ship can instantly warp to the other side of the screen, essentially forcing the player to play two games simultaneously. This vertical shooter is also unique because the playable craft is constantly firing the basic machine gun without the need to button mash. This is actually a godsend and wish more shooters offered and auto-shoot option. The final element that makes this shooter stand out is the ability to flip the ship and shoot in the opposite direction by tapping the trigger button. In other words, you might need to concentrate your fire power from the bottom of the screen as opposed to the top. The problem is, in additional to just trying to keep track of everything, the flipping animated takes a little too much time and might need to swap back by the time the transition ends. Outside of the auto-shoot feature, all these gameplay elements sound good on paper but makes it much too difficult to manage when put into practice.
This is a really difficult game. Even with the health bar and special shots activated by pressing a face button, reaching the 2nd level requires an enormous amount of skill and precision. The threshold to unlock that next stage is also different. Instead of reaching the end and then taking down a boss, the player must also defeat a certain amount of enemies to proceed. Even if you have the insane ability to multitask by blinking between both sides of the screen, most enemies are bullet sponges. To defeat most enemies, you need to blink and be in perfect firing position as soon as possible before the enemy flies off screen. There are a total of ten missions, each grading the player out of three stars, but earning just a single star on the first stage is nearly impossible.
Blinking between both sides of the screen also is not very accurate. Since there is no indicator, like a shadow placed on the opposite side of the screen, the player can never be sure where exactly the teleport will register. There are times where you need to be pixel perfect too, resulting in much more frustration than fun. The narrative also receives heavy focus, a feature often neglected in shooters. Unfortunately, this also becomes annoying since text boxes appear during combat. With so many things happening on screen at any given time, having text bubbles appear during a stage is a poor choice since the player can never read it.
Surprisingly, this Switch eShop game actually has a competitive multiplayer aspect. Don’t get too excited because when playing against the AI, you have no chance. The AI ship ruthlessly hunts you down without mercy to the point where it become comical by your second death. Fighting face to face in a shooter game is unique but not when it is presented this way. The soundtrack also gets annoying quickly.
Blink: Rogues has some really good ideas. In fact, this shooter has some of the most innovated features I’ve played in a shooter game in a long while. Unfortunately, nothing is done particularly well and the overall presentation and fun factor drastically suffers because of it.