Magnetic: Game of Games

From Mulawa

Brief Description of Magnetic

Explore the island looking for puzzles and clues.
Would you like to visit an island in the tropics? Do you like solving a wide variety of puzzles and games? Then perhaps you should look at a this offering from an individual programmer based in Townsville Queensland.

The game uses photographs of a local island and 2 or 3-d graphics of the various games and puzzles you uncover in your explorations. The background sounds have been recorded locally and include wind, water and the birdlife that you would hear if you were exploring the island in real life. The game comes on a single CD, which can be completely installed on your computer. The system requirements to play the game are pretty minimal so virtually everyone with a PC can attempt it.

Game play and hints for Magnetic

Choose one of six golden companions.
You begin the game by choosing a companion for your journey. This companion will tell you about the games as you explore and keeps track of your progress. Since there are a total of six potential companions, several people in a house can play the game as long as they agree on which companion is theirs. Your companion sits in the lower left corner of the screen. When your companion has a new comment to offer, it makes a noise and is visible in the corner. When you have viewed all the comments, the companion disappears from view, but reappears when your mouse is over it. A key feature is that your companion gives you hints about the various problems you face if and only if you appear to need them.

The first game to play is easy to find and is a good introduction to playing the game. After you solve that, you'll be able to explore the island. You want to look carefully for hidden clues that will unlock puzzles. Left-clicking gets you closer to an item, right-clicking will back away from the closeup view.

Learn how to win each of the games.
The main feature of this game is the wide variety of puzzles within. There are small puzzles that hide the much harder games. Many of the games feature a computer opponent, and the opponent will win the game if you make any tactical errors. You need to exhibit mastery of each game by winning it multiple times before you gain your reward.

After you have solved a few games, your companion will introduce you to the magic teleporter. This convenient item allows you to go directly to any of the games that you've found thus far. If you have proven your mastery of the game, it will have a gold frame around it so it's easy to tell which games have yet to be completed. Even games with a gold frame will allow you to return to play them again and clicking the frame itself plays the reward again for you to enjoy.

Gripes about Magnetic

It's me. I know it's me. But I wish people didn't put chess based games in this sort of the thing. I'm not a chess player and that is my choice.

This game could use an 'easy' version that either has a less intelligent opponent or allows you to progress with fewer wins. As it is, it would try the patience of a young player who could solve the games when they are easy but cannot when they grow more difficult.

Conclusion for Magnetic

Good variety of games and puzzles to play with. Some will be easy for you, some quite difficult. Because of the number and complexity of challenges within, you should find yourself playing with Magnetic many times. Sometimes just a quick relaxing game with your favourite puzzles, sometimes playing the full game. The only violence and bad language experienced in this game is from the player, never the game. I wouldn't recommend this game for young players unless they are exceptionally patient, some of the challenges you will face grow quite difficult. The game would certainly be fine as a family activity though.

Some final thoughts on the game

Several key things have improved since Xiama by the same programmer. Your golden companion saves your progress automatically, and so having different players is simply a matter of using different companions. Also having the companion offer hints if you seem to need them is quite a good feature.

If you like me, tend to skip the credits, there is one thing you should know. The end of the credits of the game include information about the music you hear when you finally beat a game. And you'll only see credits for music of the games that you have completed.

Magnetic Island is a 20 minute ferry ride out of town and I have been on some of the trails used in the game. I recommend that anyone who has played this game go on the trail to the Forts, it will look familiar. However, I have never noticed any puzzles buried around the place.