I love me some puzzle games. In fact, I love them so much that we at Robotube are working on our own WiiWare puzzler. Bloktonik. (The plugs…have they no shame?) So, when I saw Magnetis pop up this past Monday, my curiosity got the better of me, and I could not resist checking it out.
Coming from a virtually unknown company, Yullaby, and without much fanfare or prior marketing buzz, I was a bit skeptical. I think you will find my thoughts on this one surprising.
Magnetis is a simple block-drop puzzler with a rotate control, but as I have learned over the years, it is typically unwise to try to compare new puzzle games to existing ones, as that just muddies the mindset going into it. The game, I must say, is quite unique. Blocks contain differently colored magnet icons, with their poles pointing either left or right, or conductor blocks, which can occupy the spaces between the magnetic fields. As you have probably surmised, you must get a right magnet to connect with a left magnet to make a connection, and eliminate the blocks. There can be as many conductors between them as you wish. You cannot, however, connect two differently colored magnets. This will create “bad blocks” which can only be destroyed by eliminating blocks nearby.
The blocks fall onto a conveyor belt, which you control by pressing left or right. You don’t really control the falling blocks themselves, except for quick-dropping. The game ends when the chute from which the blocks fall is completely blocked-up.
So, simple enough, right? What did I think of the game mechanic? Pretty brilliant, I must say. I thoroughly enjoyed playing the game, and found it relaxing and addicting at the same time. There’s just enough brain power required to keep you on your toes, but not too much where you’re gnashing your teeth and sweating. What really stands out with Magnetis is it’s production value. Right down to the nicely animated Channel icon, the game gives off that fresh scent of quality. I’d say it seems quite Nintendo-inspired. The soundtrack is also fantastic.
Ofline multiplayer is included with split-screen battle modes, as well as time attack and local high score boards. Just enough extras for your pittance of a 500 point fee.
Any quibbles? Again, for a lousy 500 points, not too many, I must say. No online multiplayer, but if you expect that for 500 points at this stage in WiiWare’s life, you’ve got another thing coming. One minor gameplay issue that may not have been handled as elegantly as I think it could have been would be a little technical quirk I noticed. If you fill up one line of non-connecting magnets, that line is basically inaccessible now, since all connections happen only horizontally, not vertically. The line seems to degrade very slowly over time after which it eventually disappears, which I guess is OK and obviously they realized that this was a problem in the gameplay, though some kind of “bomb” or “special block” may have been crafted that could more directly handle the issue. It would require some thought since, given the gameplay, it would be a tough issue to design around, but the timer solution works well enough, albeit feeling a bit forced.
Overall, for the crazy low price, every puzzle fan needs this in their WiiWare collection. With fine production value, simple and addicting gameplay and overall fun-factor, Magnetis will….attract….you? (pinky finger in corner of mouth.)