What with the recession and none of us common people having any money apart from that on credit cards, the idea of low cost gaming should be appealing to all of us. Almost every current video game system from the Nintendo Wii right through to the Xbox 360 has a digital download store providing small games at a low price. I’ve already reviewed some excellent games from Nintendo’s WiiWare store that all cost less than $15 including:
- ColourZ – A precision based puzzle game for those with maximum dexterity, or three arms.
- Water Warfare – Probably the only first person shooter designed for kids and grownups that still play with Water Pistols.
- World of Goo – Not only a great lesson in physics for the kids but a brilliant piece of storytelling all wrapped up in gooey goodness.
One of the most popular genres of game to grace WiiWare is of course the Puzzle Game. The notorious puzzle title we all know and love is Tetris; a basic game involving Blocks falling from the sky which when correctly placed together form Lines and disappear. Since its most famous release on Nintendo Gameboy we’ve see thousands of variants. Now it must be said that most of these have fallen by the wayside because they usually overcomplicate things too much or just don’t have that addictive Tetris quality. So why mention Tetris? Well Magnetis from the outset features blocks falling from above and so must be compared somewhat to the classic Russian title. Let’s find out more in my review of Magnetis for Wii right now.
Magnetis is a rather interesting puzzle game for Wii. As I mentioned it involves blocks falling from the sky but there is a lot more to it than that. To spice things up these aren’t regular blocks. These blocks are electromagnetic. The idea of the game is similar to Tetris in that you need to keep clearing lines and not let your blocks reach the top of the screen and seeing the game over message. There are three basic types of blocks, conductor blocks which form the middle part of a circuit and the two opposite electro magnets (one for the left and one for the right). All of the blocks fall down in random pairs which remind me of dominoes; as they fall from the top you can switch them over from left to right until they land. The minimum you need to create a circuit is a left and right magnetic block but to score some serious points in the game (and last more than 2 minutes) is to build a long chain of conductor blocks and place the correctly pointing magnetic blocks on either side. So yes we have a basic premise of creating a small completed circuit which when created clears from the screen lowering the block count, giving you more playroom until things build up towards the sky once again. This on its own can be tricky when things speed up as you progress levels, if you like things more complicated then you can look forward to a further two differing colours of magnet blocks which create alternate coloured circuits. As you can probably guess, it’s not wise to attempt to create a circuit with mismatching electric colours; all you’ll end up is a fused circuit and a load of dead blocks which from then on are a dead weight blocking valuable playspace.
If you want to rack up a high score you’ll need not only to clear plenty of circuits but perform combos too; here you need to plan ahead so that when your trigger circuit disappears the blocks above fall down to complete a further circuit, thus getting extra multipliers. I could go into more detail but it’s time to look at the other modes. As well as playing the traditional ‘endless’ mode you can also go against the clock to beat your high score or with a limited block count. Both are best for shorter sessions because if you’re good at the standard mode you could be there for some time. Now if you have friend who wants to come along for the ride then Magnetis’ multiplayer mode is quite fun. You can choose from a two player cooperative match where you take turns controlling the blocks up to a four player battle riot. You can’t beat a bit of four player competitive gameplay and the better you do the more nuisance blocks appear on their screen, lovely. Sadly there is no online play so you’ll have to get your three friends to huddle around your TV but that’s a perfect excuse to get some beers in isn’t it?
Magnetis for Wii is fun and low priced puzzle title offering great single player fun and a solid offline multiplayer mode. Yes its roots like heavily in Tetris but Magnetis brings some originality to a very crowded puzzle market. For just 500 WiiPoints this an absolute bargain of a game and if it wasn’t for the N64 era graphics and sound could have been released as a budget priced disc title. You can’t go wrong with this 8 out of 10 game.
Related: Rubiks Puzzle World review