STAFF REVIEW of MagNets: Fully Charged (Xbox One)

Thursday, May 5, 2016.
by Brent Roberts

MagNets: Fully Charged Box art When you're a game company that wants to make a fun lighthearted platformer with some puzzle elements thrown in, you have a lot of source material to draw inspiration from. The problem is that most of the time inspiration for something innovative is hard to come by, which leads us to our latest XBA review. From the minds of Total Monkery, MagNets: Fully Charged finally lands on the Xbox One from its original PC origins. A fun adventurous platformer with some light puzzles thrown in for grins, and a whopping $14.99 + tax price point attached, MagNets: Fully Charged tries to attract your money from your wallet. Should you let it? Let's find out.

I have to point out that the game has a multiplayer option that you can clearly see on the screen, but it's not selectable. You can see it clear as day, but you can't actually choose it. I even connected a second controller for local play and it still wouldn't let me select it, so I don't know who wrote "local multiplayer" on the game description or if it was just a bug that I was experiencing, but either way, it wasn't playable and with that said, let’s move on shall we?

MagNets is broken into four regions that each consist of five varying levels. These levels are fairly linear in design and will quickly become, through much trial and error, quite underwhelming. All of that is thanks to the basic essence of this game itself; let me explain why.

The story involves your character, a park ranger, yes a park ranger, who apparently gets in trouble with a glowing bean-like character that looks like a reject from Futurama. You are tasked with going to areas of the park that aren't secured. While doing so you have to deal with BoxBots, that for some reason decided that today of all days all of them would act out by commiting acts of random violence. Ummmm...ok, now how do you secure an area?

Using either the left or right trigger, you get your character to create a magnetic ring around the BoxBots to stun them, then while they are stunned you make another ring around them and turn them into scrap. You take this scrap and deposit it into a recycle machine that will then produce an item of importance after so much scrap is gathered. Your character then takes the item produced to the target area, place it in the slot where it's supposed to go and boom, just like that the area is secured. Then you rinse and repeat and do it all over again. To be completely honest, I'm already getting bored just thinking about it.

While the innovation of the magnetic ring is nice, the later levels that involve a higher concentration of BoxBots that not only explode but shoot laser beams at you and they require almost constant motion. Throw in meaningless gameplay controls such as the ground stomp, that does no damage but does stun the BoxBots which allosw you to try and gain the first of your two stun rings, and you have a gameplay mechanic that will leave you perplexed to say it best.

MagNets has some issues when it comes to keeping your attention and heightening your enjoyment, even though it does offer some decent graphics to look at. The various levels after the intro park level offer up a nice change of scenery, and as you work your way to the boss fight you'll be able to see some colorful imagery that runs at a smooth 60 fps. This is all great, but then there is the in-game music.

Just when you think that there's something good about this game, here comes another knock against it. Playing throughout the levels I found myself becoming annoyed with the repetitive pop/techno loops that weren't that good. Eventually I turned off the music all together and found my gaming experience somewhat improved, which shouldn't happen when you turn off a game's soundtrack.

Other little nuances seemed to get to me as well. An example of this is that I had no clue where some of these recycle bins were located as there is no mini-map at all. I was aware where the targets were that were under attack thanks to a simple red circle and an arrow, but with no map I would find myself wandering around aimlessly while trying to find a place where I could turn my scrap into objects, and then find where these objects go.

When you combine all the issues that this game has, you realize that that MagNets suffers because of it. For essentially $15 you get a less than mediocre single player game that is hard to recommend. Having released back in 2015 on the PC, you start to feel that this was more of a quick port than anything else. Sadly MagNets: Fully Charged is a pass.

Overall: 4.7 / 10
Gameplay: 4.5 / 10
Visuals: 5.5 / 10
Sound: 3.5 / 10


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