Magnet’s brings reversed polarity action to the Xbox One, but is there enough to pull you in?
Magnets : Fully charged is a fairly unique game, with a familiar feel. You control Faraday who likes to stick spiked magnets into the ground and create a field of polarity which will destroy blox-bots, turning them into scrap which can then be recycled. Recycle enough scrap and a item will be created which you can use to advance.
There’s an awful lot about Magnets that is simple, controls are well explained with the tutorial, you hold a trigger button to lay magnets and soon enough you’ll be able to dash, jump and come back down with a ground pound. However the gameplay itself is far from simple, it’s actually pretty tough. So much so that even though the game is aimed at children with bright colours, cartoon like characters and control scheme, but when they get stuck and ask a parent for help, the adult will find it just as much of a struggle even if they’re familiar with games.
You will be required to surround the enemy blox-bots with your magnetic field twice to destroy them, this is true for all enemies apart from two, the tiny micro-bots which are fast and always spawn in high numbers but only require one charge, and the bosses who will usually require much more.
This isn’t too bad in early stages when you can quickly loop back on yourself, but soon enough you’ll have the speedy micro bots chasing you, while your trying to take down the larger bots for scrap, and then just as you get the hand of it there’s the bloxs that fire homing missiles at you. and to make matters worse there’s a delay when your trying to quickly lay a second magnetic field meaning it’s tougher to time quick takedowns which usually just leaves you running into a horde of bots who will quickly zap your health.
Thankfully when you supply the recycling machine with more scrap than is required you’ll also spawn a health or shield pickup, which are certainly required in later levels.
There’s also 4 additional characters to unlock, though neither will be before the final chapter, and the only one that seems a bonus (considerably better health) doesn’t unlock until you’ve completed the game.
In total there’s 4 chapters, each with 5 levels, the final round is always a boss fight, which follows the same old method of creating and collecting scrap and then recycling it to produce an item that will attract the boss for a short amount of time, you’ll be able to get a few hits, before they jump off again and you set about collecting scrap once again.
Sadly there’s not much variation through the whole game, you create, collecting and recycle, time and time again, and sure enough you’ll work your way through all twenty levels, but you won’t enjoy the cheap deaths, especially when your using boost to evade enemies only to dart off the side of the map. With no checkpoints, if you get hit, fall off the map or walk into a laser, even after clearing the area, you’ll have to start from the beginning of the level.
The pre-release version I played Multiplayer wasn’t unlocked and still didn’t unlock after completion, There is a Hard and Impossible skill difficulty that unlocks after you’ve completed the first level, and there’s the bonus of making you work by defeating certain enemies in a different way which is far better than merely throwing more enemies at you, this might be because some later levels actually felt easier because of the wealth of enemies, you could quickly obtain the scrap required in just a few loops, However if Multiplayer is fully co-operative then I imagine that will throw the games one of two ways, either team work will overcome the tedious challenge, or so many enemies will spawn you’ll end up blaming your gaming partner and soon enough resorting to a fist-fight.
As for Achievements, you’ll quickly unlock 500+ gamerscore which at least gives you the reward for taking the challenge, unfortunately there’s no additional reward for the extra challenge mode which sends you back over the story levels trying to complete them faster, with more scrap or by killing more bots, this does add a little longevity but with little variation it still feels too repetitive. Unfortunately there was also a few achievements that didn’t unlock (completing chapter 3 & 4 mainly). and the ‘Casual play’ might be an option for younger children, but with no leaderboards or achievements there’s little reason to explore the option.
Unfortunately sound and graphics aren’t a saving grace, there’s a soundtrack that carries through the entire game that’s just as repetitive as the gameplay, and while you have text pop-ups to explain the half decent story, there’s no voice acting at all. You will be treated to the buzz and bang of various bots blowing up, but there’s not enough audibly to make it stand out, Graphically it’s half-decent, bright , colourful, and quite sharp, however character models are pretty basic, and there’s a very familiar feel across each of the 5 levels with only the 4 chapters offering much different to look at, and you’ll be forced to wait till half way through the final chapter for anything that could even be considered pyrotechnics, and even then they’re on a last generation level.
With 20 levels, you should just get 4 hours of gameplay, a percentage of that will be retrying levels where you’ve had a cheap death and had to retread your steps, Multiplayer again could be a saving grace, however we couldn’t check that on the current build, challenge mode and the casual play seem tacked on with little thought or reason to explore.