Magnetic

Review

posted 7/3/2003 by Tyler Sager
other articles by Tyler Sager
Platforms: PC
And now for a quick little review about a neat little puzzle game, Magnetic. Designed by Peter Hewitt and a very small developing team, Magnetic drops the players into a fun little world of puzzly goodness. Although this game isn’t for everyone, those who enjoy a good brain-burner are in for quite a treat.

Magnetic plays a lot like the original Myst. Players find themselves on a tropical island laden with games and puzzles. Adventuring around the island involves moving from screen to screen, looking for the puzzle hotspots. Unlike many games, there are no instructions in Magnetic—learning how to play the game is just another part of the puzzle. Some things, like movement, are quite intuitive. Other things, like figuring out exactly how to work and finally solve each puzzle, can take quite a bit of thought (and cursing, and banging heads on desks, and throwing mice at monitors…). This really isn’t a game for the easily frustrated.

Thankfully for those of us with less than infinite patience, Magnetic gives the player a little friend to help out on the journey. This guide pipes in with hints and helps, the occasional jokes, and a bit of history about the island itself. For the first few puzzles, they practically hold your hand through the solving. After a while, however, the hints are fewer and the puzzles a bit more devious.

The puzzles themselves are quite varied. Some of the puzzles are variations on familiar themes, others are quite original. Because of the large variety of puzzles, players will find themselves breezing through a particular puzzle while spending hours battling another. These puzzles run the gamut from spatial acuity tests and word scrambles to games of skill against a fairly competent computer opponent. While solving the puzzles, a much larger puzzle/mystery unfolds, adding another layer to the game. I don’t want to go to far into that, because giving even minor spoilers could ruin some of the fun of the game.

Magnetic is a limited-budget game, so players won’t find flashy graphics and sound. In fact, the graphics might even be considered quite dated. Of course, this makes Magnetic have amazingly low system requirements. The game ran well overall, and I didn’t notice any bugs. Now, I am almost ashamed to admit that I thought I had found a but, until I finally realized that I just didn’t quite figure out how to play a particular puzzle. Did I mention that patience is a good thing when playing Magnetic?

It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to play a decent puzzle title, and Magnetic fits the bill. For those wanting a good mental workout and the satisfaction of solving a complex mystery, pop on over to the developer’s website (www.mulawa.net) and give this puzzly goodness a try.


B-
An entertaining and challenging brain-burner, Magnetic is a good choice for those looking for a nice little bout of puzzle solving fun. This is most assuredly not for those lacking patience, however.


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