A Magnetic Adventure
Magnets, levers, buttons, switches, gears, springs, rope, blocks of wood... They all exist for one purpose: to create puzzles for us to solve! Or, at least they do in A Magnetic Adventure, a physics-based puzzle solving game from Alawar Games. Tied together with a loose story you'll forget the minute you learn it, A Magnetic Adventure is all about moving totems to special marks on certain parts of the stage. Getting there requires some creative puzzle solving of the "drag stuff around" nature.
As you probably guessed, the central mechanic of A Magnetic Adventure is magnetics. You can click and drag loose metal objects in each level and use them to solve puzzles. Keys and locks, for example, are prime targets to be dragged around, and you can even turn wheels, gears, and switch levers that are made of metal. Anything blocked by another object, anything secured to the ground, or anything not made of metal (cursed wood! *shakes fist*) you can only affect indirectly, usually by moving something metal nearby and giving it a push.
Levels are unlocked groups at a time, allowing you to hop between a set of stages in case you get stuck. At the end of each map you'll get to complete a special puzzle stage with a different gimmick, most of which are at interesting (and quirky) enough to break up the straight cerebral gameplay. Each contraption is fairly simple to figure out, though from time to time you'll need to use a trial and error to learn what to do. Solving puzzles is almost all brain power, so you won't need to worry about pulling off last-second maneuvers to get the totem to the goal.
Analysis: A Magnetic Adventure is one of those games that takes some time to get started. A lengthy tutorial probably wasn't the best thing to include in the beginning, as it really extinguishes the impact the game could have the first time you fire it up. When the game gets started, though, you'll find the puzzles are exactly what you were looking for, and the game plays smoothly and looks great, too.
Where A Magnetic Adventure falters is its uneven execution. Some of the puzzles are wickedly difficult, while the rest are mostly ho-hum easy. Solutions occasionally require you to think laterally, but not often enough so you expect to do so, leaving you stuck from time to time. And I feel compelled to mention the level that takes place in the dark. Note to game developers: it's never a good idea to force your players to solve puzzles with only a flashlight. Especially when moving said flashlight is a cumbersome and ugly process. K THX BAI.
Despite an uneven experience, you'll still get a kick out of A Magnetic Adventure from start to finish. There are enough levels to keep you busy for several hours, and the presentation and control are just right to let you hop in and have a good time.