Monday 5 July 2021

Super Magbot Review (Nintendo Switch)


Written by Dan Gill

Imagine if someone told you that they wanted to make Super Meat Boy, but remove the ability to jump. Instead, you have to use magnets and choose the correct polarity to attract to or repel from them in order to make it through the level. Well, imagine no more, as Astral Pixel have made this waking nightmare a reality in Super Magbot.

The aim of the game is to save the galaxy from a terrible fate. Same old story, but the flavour is just there to provide justification for Magbot’s platforming. Spread over more than a hundred levels, the aim is to collect Star Fragments to progress through the death trap-strewn levels, each world culminating in a boss level. The game is wrapped up in a nice and simplistic 16-bit aesthetic, and I mean that in a positive way. Level design is clear so you can clearly see where you need to go and how to get there.

Initially the control mode may seem a little off-putting, with its attract/repel dynamic, but once figured out you’ll be pinging Magbot around the screen like nobody’s business. The tight level design offers just enough of a draw to keep you coming back for more after each inevitable failure. And fail you will, as you’ll need decent coordination and timing in order to make it through the bottomless pits, sawblades and swamps to the next Star Fragment.

The left and right triggers choose blue and red polarity respectively, each colour attracting to magnets of the opposite colour, while the same colour repels. On top of knowing the colour sequence you need, you also have to aim Magbot’s magnet with the right stick, and time the button press as you pass the magnetic surface. It requires some split-second responses and mastery of the controls to reach the goal, and will no doubt lead to the game becoming a firm favourite of speed runners.

Each level is a single screen affair, with a few exceptions. For example, the first boss chases Magbot through a scrolling level, meaning you have to rely on your fingers doing what your brain tells you as the level reveals itself. At least on the standard levels you can glance at all the magnets and figure out a path to the goal, but these sections add a nice change of pace.

So, is Super Magbot for you? The answer really is down to what you want from a game. If you want a nice, relaxing puzzler, then probably not. The game is geared toward those who relish a challenge and won’t let the frustration of failing get to them. Levels are short enough to feel that one more go may just get you through to the next, and the reward of overcoming the challenge is immensely satisfying. Stick with it, and you’ll likely fall for its charms and challenge, but if you bounce of it without giving it a chance you’re missing out on a little gem.



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