Sorry Joe, but we're just not stuck on you.
Magnetic Joe is a free 2-D puzzle game that challenges you to guide a purple smiley face (Joe) through 40 unique levels while avoiding spikes. You do this by tapping Joe to magnetize him and then pressing the iPhone's screen to activate special metal plates strewn about each level. Each one has an arrow that signifies the direction he'll move while interacting with it. Although it's a novel idea, the game's much too frustrating.
First off, Magnetic Joe is anything but magnetic. Saying that implies that he sticks to metal surfaces, a feature that'd actually be helpful. Instead, those metal plates draw him in their direction and then he slides all over the place. Our initial reaction was to tilt the iPhone to avoid death, but the developers failed to build this control scheme into the game. Instead, you do your best to whip him around the playfield, paying close attention to the spiked walls.
Navigating your way across these one-hit kills is annoying, since success heavily depends on how fast Joe moves. Most times, he'll fly into a spiked wall and croak, forcing you to restart; frantically pressing a magnetic tile to save him doesn't work. To succeed, you must pay close attention to his trajectory and then plan a couple moves ahead.
At the very least, Most Wanted Entertainment deserves kudos for designing imaginative levels, the homage to Pac-Man one of our favorites. Our praise notwithstanding, we just couldn't get into Magnetic Joe. While it has a solid foundation, the bothersome controls had us reaching for the iPhone's power button.
What's Hot: Forty levels, interesting concept, free, we sure love magnets.
What's Not: No tilt controls, magnets don't stick, plenty of irritating restarts.