I think I used to stay away from platformers when I was a kid. I got sick of side scrollers with fat, slow bullets or plumbers jumping on the heads of Goombas. As I got older, I started to appreciate a good platformer, but the genre itself is so old I thought I’ve seen it all—and then came along Super Magbot.
Super Magbot is a puzzle platformer that removes the ability to jump in favor of the ability to push and pull yourself using magnets. Now, I’m not sure if Super Magbot is the first platformer to use a push and pull mechanic, but Super Magbot does it in a really fun way. While it took my brain a while to wrap itself around the concept, it’s actually simple: you can shoot a beam, red or blue, to corresponding or opposite red or blue pads to push or pull yourself, respectively, like poles on a magnet. This leads to some interesting and challenging platforming conundrums that require you to have twitch reflexes, but also a brain capable of quickly choosing the proper polarity for the job.
If you like difficult platformers Super Magbot is difficult, but it poses a challenge that is familiar to platformer fans, but very unusual in its mechanics. Despite being unable to jump, Super Magbot’s pushing and pulling, after a while, starts to feel intuitive. Each of the four main worlds adds new challenges and types of magnetic interactions, so just when you think you’re getting a good feel for it you have to incorporate something new. I always felt like I needed a plan to get through a level in Super Magbot, and even then my brain would switch polarity and I’d fail. Luckily, failure is extremely temporary as it only takes moments to get right back into it.
One of the biggest tests of a modern platformer is how tight the controls are, and Super Magbot feels great to play. Shooting the magnetic beam isn’t as simple as point and click, and mastering the trick of magnetic movement is actually quite fun. Each polarity allows you to shoot twice in quick succession before needing to be quickly recharged, adding a bit more of a challenge to fast-paced sections. While there are projectiles and sometimes opponents to avoid in Super Magbot, there isn’t really combat. Despite this, there are four bosses, each as a finale to the four main worlds—and each extremely fun and challenging. There aren’t any checkpoints, however—if you lose, you have to start from the beginning.
There aren’t any ways to power up or level up in Super Magbot—it’s just your skills versus the world. However, if you want an additional challenge there are collectibles to gather — two star fragments in each level.
Super Magbot is a great platformer, and one of my favorite of this year. It sat on my backlog for a while, and I regret not getting through it sooner. It’s a super tight platformer with a twist on common platformer mechanics while still presenting as a mostly traditional modern platforming game. I definitely recommend Super Magbot to anyone that likes challenging, tight platformers.
A Steam key was provided to us for this review.
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