April 12, 2013 5:53 AM | Paul Hack
The best abstract puzzle games start by introducing you to an original, easily graspable game mechanic and then gradually iterate upon it until you feel like things couldn't get more complicated. Think Sokoban, Tetris, and your favorite match-3 game. That's the kind of classic feel that Magnetized achieves. Developed over the course of 5 months by Taiwanese developer Rocky Hong, Magnetized demonstrates a high level of polish in both its simple but slick presentation and its easy-to-learn-but-hard-to-master gameplay.
A square moves down a tunnel, buoyed by inertia. If the square merely brushes a wall, it shatters. Your only way to guide the square is to activate the magnets placed around each level. You use the Z key or the left mouse button to activate the nearest magnet in an effort to safely steer the square to the level's exit. At it's core, that's all there is to it. But Hong's devious level design keeps things interesting and ratchets up the difficulty fairly quickly.
Be warned: this is a tough game. Success in Magnetized requires both precision and an easy touch.You use but one button, but you must press it at the precise moment, for just the right amount of time, to keep the square alive. You have infinite lives, but a handy indicator keeps track of your number of deaths.
I called Magnetized an abstract puzzle game, but the fact is there's a story behind it. According to the devloper, the game is an autobiographical metaphor for his own journey of following his dream to make games. From the game's "Credits" screen: "Chasing dreams is like walking alone on an endless road. Sometimes we succeed, but most times we fail..." So, like the best abstract puzzle games, Magnetized could really be a metaphor for all of our struggles in life, couldn't it? Well, I sure fail a lot in guiding that square to the exit, but I'm not giving up!
Magnetized is an HTML5 game, so you can play it in your browser. It's currently available on GameJolt, Newgrounds, and Kongregate, and it's headed to clay.io, as well. If you like puzzle games or physics games--or abstract adventures--do yourself a favor and give Magnetized a try.