Welcome to MagNets: Fully Charged, a colourful, action puzzle game on Xbox One via ID@Xbox service, you play as Park Ranger Faraday, taking recycling orders from Sir Magnablox. You’re told that something has gone wrong in the Blox Bios, and some of these Blox have gone bad. The now conveniently named BadBlox need a proper telling off by yours truly Faraday, and the way we sort these naughty Blox out, well, recapture and recycle of course!
The basic premise of MagNets: Fully charged is that you control this wide eyed smiley faced robot Faraday, and you move around the small maps of Polarity City destroying as many bad Bloxbots as possible on every level in a fast paced arena style game-play. Once you destroy a Blox, they will explode leaving their scrap to collect and recycle it in a set drop off point, after you collect and recycle a certain amount, you will be able to proceed to the end of the level, or a item will appear on the map to allow you to finish, for example a fuse to connect to a piece of wire to get electricity to open a door, or multiple handles to a vault so you can escape.
MagNets: Fully Charged does have a multiplayer option, which I would assume is just the single player game or maybe a battle feature, played locally, but I do not have the option to test this, so these views in this review are solely for the single player game.
Graphics here on MagNets: Fully Charged are acceptable as an indie Xbox One game, but are nothing special to look out. We have seen better, and continue to do so, everything here is block colours, straight edges, and looks like a sub-par PC game from the early 2000s, and I know gaming is not about the graphics, don’t get me wrong, I understand that, I still love playing my retro 16bit games and I’m sure the younger players will be attracted to the colours, the funky bosses, or the odd sounds and sound bites here, but for anyone else, its not the prettiest game in the world. However, as I mention later on in this review, I’m not the target audience on this game, and for those who will be playing it, the younger gamer, I’m sure will love what they see, the bright colours, the funny characters, the weird environments, so still high praise needs to go to the UK Independent Family-Run game studio, Total Monkery, who had their eye set on their specific audience, and made a game that will pull the gamers attention in the right direction. Actually MagNets will be a fantastic game to be played by a parent and their kids for example, there is enough here to keep the parent interested and help their child when they get stuck, and the children will lap this game up!
The game-play here is generally rinse and repeat until you get your required amount of recycling done, or enemy defeated to finish the level. You move with the analogue stick, and press your RT or LT triggers to bring your magnet force field out, once you set this off with numerous BadBlox within the field (as you can see in the picture on the right, multiple red, green, and yellow blox in the force filed), they explode into scrap so you can collect this (as shown as the yellow rectangle pieces on the picture on the right too), recycle this, rinse this, and repeat this. You do have a life bar, so you can be killed on each level if you take too much damage from these Bad Blox, where some shoot electricity or fly around with lasers, some explode instantly, some have multiple shields, and some even are timer bombs. You have some advantages on your side as well, with the likes of dash or ground pound to stun your enemies with the press of the face buttons on the controllers, but it can get frantic at times where its you being chased by 20+ Blox and you only have that one piece of life left.
In terms of the amount of game here, there are four different zones of Polarity City to progress through, with 5 levels in each zone. The zones are Park, Museum, Factory, and Tower. As you progress through each zone game-play does get harder and enemies do get better, with a ‘Big Boss’ on the final stage of the zone, be it defeating a cat, or saving a Rockband from being destroyed by the BadBlox, but the difficulty here would not trouble many a gamer, and you can complete each level with a very little ease in about 2-3 minutes, so you can get each zone completed in 10-15 minutes. Again this depends on the skill (and age) of the player, but personally I finished the main game in less than an hour, but that’s something we will mention again later in this review.
At the end of each level you get points for time completion, objectives saved (BadBlox do try and destory certain highlighted objects on the map, which if all destroyed, will also fail the level for you), amount of Blox destroyed, and recycling done. These points all add up to the global leaderboard if you wish to complete for the best score. As you progress you unlock characters which can be used throughout the single player mode, stats slightly change from character to character, for example faster dash or more resilient, but you really have no need in changing as the game can be easily completed with the original character Faraday.
There is also a challenge mode which just consists of the 20 levels from the single player game, but have 4 challenges tied in to each levels within each zone. Unfortunately every challenge on each Zone is the same, with just a slight change on a level within that particular zone. For example in Zone 1 ‘Park’, all 5 levels have the challenge ‘No objects lost’ and ‘No health lost’ but also have a time based challenge like ‘Beat 70 seconds’ which might just change to 90 seconds or 120 seconds on a different level, then there is ‘collect scrap’ which varies from 200 to 300 to 400, this is the same set of challenges for every level within every zone. This is where the character stats will help you complete certain challenges, but for me, it’s far too similar, and not enough variety in these challenges that it’s not something that I will go back to complete. I would have liked to have seen maybe character specific challenges, or move specific in additional to the time based or collect based challenges here, but being the same over and over, its a bit disappointing.
Overall personally, I just don’t think MagNets: Fully Charged is for me. When I say me, I mean a 29 year old gamer, one who is capable of playing most games, and has a grasp and understanding of the concepts of the likes of puzzle games. For me and I’m sure any older gamer this will be far too easy of a game, and can be completed in no time, yet for the younger gamer they will love it and comes as a recommended title for them to play, but with the aspects of the game and how to complete each level, I do feel this could be a little hard for that intended audience.
Its a weird balance that it either feels far too easy, or far too hard for the intended player, the game, in terms of graphics and ease of game-play is certainly aimed at the younger generation (and I accept I’m not the target audience on this game) but to complete each level and proceed, sometimes it’s not the clearest, and even sometimes the controls can be a little fiddly, that asking a younger player to rinse repeat this over and over to proceed to the next level that it just might be too tough for them to pass without some help, and that in the end the magnets here might not stick.