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Platform

DS

 

Genre

Puzzle

 

Publisher

Nintendo

 

Developer

Mitchell Corporation

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

June 2006

 

- Good puzzle game for anyone that liked Zuma

- Straightforward presentation

- Multiplayer

 

 

- Won't convert anyone to the puzzle genre

- Have to accept that like-charged are attracted to each other

 

 

Review: Tetris DS (DS)

Review: Polarium (DS)

Review: WarioWare Touched! (DS)

 

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Magnetica

Score: 7.5 / 10

 

There is no shortage of puzzle games for the DS.  Polaris, Meteos, Tetris DS, and Brain Age are the titles that jump out when it comes to the puzzle genre, and that’s exactly where you’ll find Magnetica.

 

Magnetica operates on the fallacy that like-charged items are attracted to each other and not repelled.  So, if you can leap this single hurdle in the logic of Magnetica you might just enjoy yourself.

 

magnetica         magnetica

 

Though there are a few different modes of play, the principle description of the action applies to all of them.  A singular row of colored marbles progresses on a rail toward a “vortex” that if breeched ends the game.  Flinging like-colored marbles to form chains of three explodes those marbles, with the resulting gap allowing for more chains to form and more marbles to explode.  This is a piece of cake when there are only two colors to consider – forming chains is easy – but when there are three or four colors, the action gets quite a bit more complicated.  Depending on what mode is currently being played, an occasional “power-up” appears to help you out.  A power-up can eliminate all marbles of one color or it can stop time for a short period.  There is also the danger of a “rocket” appearing on the rail, which pushes the marbles forward until it’s destroyed by a well-flung marble.  In short it’s fast and frantic.

 

Using the stylus to control the action is quite easy.  Granted it does take some time to get used to flinging the marbles with accuracy but on the whole it’s accessible to just about anyone that picks up a DS (Lite or otherwise).

 

There are four available modes of play: Challenge, Quest, Puzzle and Versus.

 

Challenge mode simply puts a goal on the number of levels to reach, on a preset track of approaching marbles.  Quest mode throws different styles of track at the player and includes the most power-ups (earned by flicking a marble into a hole that starts the tumblers rolling on the top screen, kind of like a slot machine).  This 

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will most likely be the most played mode because it marks a definite progression.  Puzzle mode presents you with a certain number and color of marbles with which to clear out the preset configuration of marbles on the screen.  And Versus mode which can be played via download.

 

The interface and the game as a whole is designed very clearly and brightly – everything is easy to see and it was 

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all the whiz-bang trappings of most other puzzle games (that is to say, very little).  The soundtrack manages to avoid being annoying, which tends to be the downside of so many puzzle games.  The action can repeat ad nauseum but if the music does… that’s a point off.

 

Magnetica probably won’t gain any converts to the puzzle genre.  It’s repetitive, can often be frustrating, and it’s based on a game that’s been around since 1998, however, for quick play sessions for puzzle fans, Magnetica is worth the $40US.  For everyone else, it’s harmless, it does what it does and it does it well, but if you’re not interested in puzzle games don’t worry about missing anything.

 

- Omni

(June 15, 2006)

 

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