Astral Pixel and Team 17 have teamed up to bring Super Magbot to Steam and Nintendo Switch. Super Magbot is a game that revolves around the idea of using magnets to platform your way to victory. There’s no jumping here. Just pure magnetic attraction or repulsion. Magnetism has been used in platforming games before so does this rather interesting take on platforming succeed with no jumping? That’s a surprisingly complex question to ask due to multiple reasons which I’ll get into shortly.
In Super Magbot players will take on the role of Magbot. Magbot has been dispatched to save the galaxy from an evil force known as Magsteroid. What exactly is Magsteroid after? Unlimited power of course. See, in Super Magbot’s universe, the forces of magnetism coalesced and formed an immensely powerful star known as Magnetia. Magnetia enlightened the universe and rained powerful magnetic fragments onto various planets. However, Magnetia’s power was detected by Magsteroid, a giant evil asteroid with, yup, a lust for power. Magsteroid is now headed straight for Magnetia and wants to claim the star’s power for himself.
The citizens of Magtek detected Magsteroid and dispatched their hero, Magbot to put an end to his plans. In order to do this, Magbot must gather the magnetic “Planet fragments” and use their power to ultimately defeat Magsteroid. Magbot leaves Magtek in his rather gorgeous looking spacecraft and lands on Magterra, the first of the planets he must visit to gather its planet fragments.
The game then kicks off with players quickly learning Super Magbot’s gameplay mechanics. Players will move left or right and will use the left or right shoulder buttons on their controller or left or right mouse buttons to either attract or repel themselves away from magnetic pads. Using the opposite magnetic force will attract you to the pad while using the same magnetic force will repel you. Hey, that’s basic science in action!
The first few levels of the game are incredibly easy, getting you up to speed with the magnetic forces that are crucial to progressing throughout Super Magbot. However, soon enough, pitfalls and traps are introduced to levels. Spinning buzzsaw blades, spikes and acid abound. Soon enough there’s lasers and projectiles being fired at you and later levels such as the ones in the ice world of Magzero will have you sliding across slippery floors. Each world has its own set of hazards which Magbot must overcome. There are also boss enemies which introduce even more challenging gamepay to the game.
Super Magbot’s core gameplay mechanic of not allowing players to jump but to rather platform their way across levels using magnetism is also one its greatest problems. The game starts off easy as mentioned above but soon enough, the levels become dastardly hard. This level of challenge is reminiscent of titles such as N++ where one wrong move means death and being forced to start over.
It becomes incredibly frustrating to die and respawn repeatedly in levels because of small mistakes in your gameplay. You need to be extremely precise with your magnetic powers in launching and attracting yourself towards platforms and pads. Aiming your magnetic beam can be quite hard because you need to move fast in some circumstances, and it is quite challenging to get your timing right. Succeeding in Super Magbot delivers an remarkable feeling of satisfaction because of how difficult some levels are.
Gamers who lack patience or aren’t fans of challenging gameplay should immediately open the game’s menu and enable the assist options. This takes the sting out of the game and brings back a lot of the fun. If you aren’t aiming to achieve high scores on the leaderboards, enabling the assist options immediately improves the game and restores a lot of the fun aspects while removing the frustration and toning down the challenge factor. The assist options include allowing you to hover indefinitely in mid-air and allowing infinite attracts/repulses instead of being limited to 2 for each magnetic colour. There’s also “Checkpoints” which can be enabled which again, removes a lot of the frustration caused by some of the more sadistic levels
Graphically, Super Magbot is fantastic. Astral Pixel have crafted levels and cinematics that looks absolutely gorgeous with pixel graphics. Each world has its own theme too and they look extremely visually appealing. The soundtrack in Super Magbot is amazing too with a plenty of beats that are quite catchy. Just listening to the game’s soundtrack on its own is incredibly worthwhile since it has a very chilled out vibe overall. This goes well with the hard as nails platforming without assist modes enables as it helps you to stay calm somewhat. There’s no voice acting present in the game so players will have to read through the story cutscenes when they do occur.
Overall, Super Magbot is a great platformer with literally hundreds of levels and even more challenges in the form of online leaderboards to compete with other gamer’s scores. The game is merciless in how it punishes small gameplay mistakes so if you’re not a fan of challenging gameplay, enable the assists and enjoy the game without additional stress factors. We recommend Super Magbot but only if you’re a fan of platformers and challenging games. If you’re playing this title on Nintendo Switch, you’ll be able to enjoy it in short bursts on the go, which would mitigate much of the frustration caused by the harder levels.
Developer: Astral Pixel
Platforms: Nintendo Switch and PC.
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