E3 2006: Real Marble Madness
Magnetica -- another great DS puzzle game in the making
It's been years since the arcade title, Puzz Loop, claimed quarter after quarter at my local arcade. Fortunately, considering arcades are all but dead, that same game is making its triumphant return with the help of the Nintendo DS. Rebranded Magnetica, the puzzle title from Mitchell Corporation has seemingly continued its addictive trend, claiming countless hours from folks on the E3 showroom floor.
It almost seems unfair for the DS to be on the receiving end of so many AAA puzzle titles, and that trend isn't coming to an end any time soon. If you haven't played Puzz Loop in the past, then Magnetica's concept will seem quite fresh to you in a genre dominated by Tetris wannabes. Like all good puzzle titles, it's a simple premise wrapped neatly in an easy to learn, simple package. But the simplicity of Magnetica is hiding a deeper, more difficult experience for those out there who wish to truly master the game.
Magnetica features a cylinder of marbles snaked around each other leading into a small hole located in the center of the playing field. If you can imagine those children's toys where you have to navigate the small metal ball into a hole located in the middle of a maze, you can kind of picture what Magnetica looks like. The purpose of the game is to eliminate marbles so that none of them ever reach that hole of destruction. There are various colored marbles, and you can shoot and combine three or more like colored marbles to make that batch disappear. Seeing as the marbles are magnetic, if you eliminate a batch of them, the remaining ones will snap together. If you're able to eliminate a batch of marbles, and three or more like colors snap together, those will also be eliminated creating a combo. You'll have to plan your shots in order to created some of the really extravagant combos, but it's well worth the effort.
The game is flawlessly controlled by the DS's stylus and touch screen, and truthfully, I couldn't think of a better way to control the action. Although the game is quite old, it seems that Magnetica was made with the DS in mind, and obviously that's a good thing. I had no trouble at all aiming my marbles and making them hit the intended location on the first try, which was admittedly a worry of mine gong into the experience. I'm happy to report that my worries have now been eliminated.
While Magnetica doesn't have much to offer in terms of visuals, the look is extremely sharp, and the colors are nice and bright. This formula never fails with a puzzle game, and is actually preferred as not to distract from the mission at hand. The bottom line is, if you're looking for a breath of fresh air in a staling genre; make sure to check out Magnetica, you're not going to walk away disappointed.