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Puzzle games and handhelds go together nicely don’t they?

Nintendo DS owners have enjoyed everything from the fast paced Meteos to the classic Tetris. Now Magnetica joins the collection of great puzzle games on the DS .Granted Magnetica is no Tetris but it certainly is close, it is both action packed and addictive.
One of the great things about puzzle games is that the premises tend to be very simple. The controls are usually easy to learn, and the gameplay is quickly mastered after a few minutes.
The first thing that will come to mind when seeing Mitchell Corporation's “Magnetica” is to compare it to Popcap Games “Zuma”and you'd be sorta right.
But an angry lawsuit between Japan's Mitchell Corp. and PopCap says otherwise, thank-you-very-much!
Anyone who thinks that this game is a rip-off of the popular online game Zuma should remember that Zuma itself is a throwback of another game called Puzz Loop, which was made by, ironically, the same company that made Magnetica, a game that actually predates Zuma!

It's not the balls that matter; it's what you do with them
Functionally this is very much the same game as Zuma and Puzz Loop but shrunk down into handheld form. It's a simple but effective formula that's served Zuma well over the years and works just as well in Magnetica, even better in my opinion! One unique twist to the DS version is the use of the touch screen to fire off balls. Instead of the mouse-based controls to target your balls, you simply use the stylus to direct your balls, which is a lot more intuitive - allowing for very precise shots. These controls take less than five minutes to learn, and can easily be mastered within half an hour.

There are three modes of gameplay, Challenge, Quest, and Puzzle modes. The idea is to knock out balls rolling on a track by shooting similar colored balls on the chain - linking three or more balls of the same color will remove them from the train. It's the player's job to eliminate those marbles before they can reach the bottomless pit of despair. Like colored balls are magnetically attracted to each other forming color combos of three or more marbles will create chain reactions and that’s were the sparks really start to fly!

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Challenge mode is a single stage where you survive for as long as you can as the chain gradually speeds up. Each stage has 99 levels, and if you manage to stay alive that long, you clear the puzzle. In Quest mode puzzles become more intricate in design, from spirals to figure 8s to pretzel-like shapes, all types of loopty loops and strange twists. Puzzle mode is filled with clever and often deceptively simple puzzles that challenge players to think strategically.
Cool obstacles and special items are added into the mix in one level big clouds are dropped to block your view and you will have to blow into the microphone to clear them away, as well as gravity wells that distort the path of your marbles, black holes that swallow the marbles, and much, much more. The results make Magnetica a heck of a lot more interesting and challenging than Zuma ever was! Did I mention there are detonators and stopwatches that slow down time, there are also directional switches, and then there are even rockets. Great Fun!

The colorful and bright graphics are pretty average but for a puzzle game they don’t need to be any more razzle dazzle, flashier than they already are.
The music is pleasant and upbeat enough as to where it never gets distracting or interferes with the enjoyment of the game. Normally I turn off the volume when I play games but I always turn it up when playing Magnetica mostly because I really like the sound effects the marbles make when they knock into each other. As marbles approach the center, the music switches to a more ominous, nerve-wracking tune, sorta like an alarm clock, a tad annoying maybe but it does add to the high intensity feel of the game.

Most of the puzzles are fun and challenging, sure it's the reclaiming of the "allegedly borrowed" Zuma-like formula but so what! Magnetica has a whole lot more to offer in terms of variety and it makes great use of the stylus. The faster you flick, the more quickly it travels. That's the way a stylus should be used. Bravo!
In the end, Magnetica does fulfill a purpose, and that is to take an otherwise drab, uninteresting online game and make it a much more interesting game that is now portable.
Puzzle fans will definitely want to have this in their collection. Like any really good puzzle title, Magnetica brings out that familiar “oh just one more game” feeling
The easy to use interface and great stylus/touch screen controls had meattracted to the DS like a magnet!
Magnetica finally makes it okay to play with your balls! (Oh, don't give me that look; you know you were thinking of the same joke)

Get Magnetica Here

Graphics B
Sound A
Pickup & Play A
Overall Fun B

Posted by oxyjen on Feb 7, 2007


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