You may think magnets are a great way to stick your to-do list on your monitor, or spruce up your tower with cute little butterflies and smilies. That way lies heartache and empty wallets. My friend, magnets and your computer share a love that can never be. A Romeo and Juliet that ends in the stink of burning circuitry rather than poison. Of course, one exception to the rule is MagnetiZR, from Insane Angel Studios, a twisting, pulsing puzzle game where getting warped is a good thing.
The goal here is to guide your magnetic "ink", fired from a cannon, through each target on a stage. Tap [space] to fire, and click the big red CANCEL button if you get stuck in a loop. By watching the path of your ink and how it reacts to certain types of magnets, you can figure out how to place them to get it where you want. Drag and drop magnets on to the play field to affect the course your ink will take once it's been shot. Certain magnets will affect the ink in certain ways, whether it be by repulsing it, making it go in a certain direction, and more. Got it? Good. Because just as you start to get comfortable, MagnetiZR introduces different colours of ink and magnets to keep things interesting and your hair freshly pulled out.
You might think nothing could be simpler than getting from point A to point B, but MagnetiZR could wind up proving you wrong. Stuck? You can skip three levels throughout the game by selecting "skip" from the top of the screen. Achievements are awarded for finishing levels under certain conditions, such as using a certain number of magnets, or finishing within a time limit, and are a perfect way to put your brain where your mouth is. No, don't actually put it in your mouth, dear. You don't know where it's been.
Analysis: Maybe my brain has been softened into goosh by puzzle games where the hardest element is figuring out that a red key fits a red door, but there were times when a new level would load in MagnetiZR and I would literally sit back and say, "How the heck am I supposed to do that?" Okay, so maybe the language I used was a little more colourful, but the sentiment was the same. MagnetiZR is a brain bender at times because there is frequently very little guidance. It hands you the tools, and sits back to let you pound away at the square hole with the round block until you have an epiphany.
Or, you know, trial and error, which is what most players will rely on. Being one of those people who thinks an instruction manual is provided to help level uneven coffee tables, I find that the quickest way to success was to arrange magnets in random patterns until I found what worked. Obviously this isn't going to be the case for everyone, since it is possible (though occasionally shaky) to sit back and plot out every twist and precise turn you need to make. But the ability to push and pull things around as you please means the game is accessible to just about anyone, as long as you're patient.
But when you start to get frustrated, MagnetiZR's too-cool-for-school aesthetic is there to mellow you out. The music throbs hypnotically, colours flow and shift, and even the pulse of the magnets seem to say, "What are you getting so upset for? Just chill, man, it's alllll good." Past attempts leave behind faint trails that help you plot out where you went wrong, or just paint strange designs on the play field. The downside is there are times when it feels like the aesthetic is being showcased over the game itself. Yes, the light show is pretty, but it would be nice if the gameplay stayed as fresh throughout.
Stylish and sharp, MagnetiZR is a challenging and surprisingly elaborate offering that requires more thought than your average puzzle game. While the amount of fiddling and tweaking required to win some levels may turn some players off, the game is more than worth a look for its clever idea and eye-catching design. Or if you think you're not as frustrated as you could be today, MagnetiZR has got you covered.