I recently covered Magnetic: Cage Closed in a preview last week and I was excited to see whether the choices I mentioned before really do completely change the Magnetic’s course and storyline. But now that I’ve beaten the game, we’ll go over the puzzles themselves and whether they hold up as a standalone game rather than simply a Portal clone.
Technically I’ve beaten it twice, as the option not to move forward from the original room that I encountered in the preview I wrote was one of the endings to the game. There’s a total of nine endings, each one drastically different in terms of story and plot. However, the story elements are a complete separate entity from the puzzles.
Simply put, each room is built to make you think about how to utilize the magnetic gun — nearly identical to how Portal’s puzzles are used. In terms of choices, there’s no difference between the puzzles when opting to reach a different ending. This is a point I want to make later, but for now I’ll just say that the puzzles aren’t too terribly difficult. Portal’s puzzles are designed in such a way to make the player wander about dazed and confused for a half hour before realizing the solution. Magnetic’s puzzle rooms are far more streamlined. Instead of thinking of the player’s actions as the tool to solve a puzzle, Magnetic: Cage Closed uses the environment as that tool and what the player does is figure out how to navigate through that tool.
That was a terrible analogy. In fact I shouldn’t really try to deconstruct the way both games try to solve puzzles. I’ll just finish talking about the puzzles themselves by saying the moment you know how to navigate the obstacles placed before you, the game becomes trivial. You could beat the game in less than two hours as long as you knew what you were doing. Which is also exactly how Portal’s puzzles are designed, I guess. Look, the point is Magnetic: Cage Closed uses a really interesting mechanic to make unique puzzles, but once you understand those mechanics the challenge is lost. Which brings the next element of how the story is handled. Each part of the game is seperated into this:
Throughout the first playthrough of the game, players will enjoy both elements of puzzle solving and story decisions. But considering there’s nine endings, that makes it nine times players have to repeat the same puzzles over again. Even a second playthrough would have taken much fun out of the puzzle solving, much in the same way a second run of Portal isn’t as great as the first. The worst part is how there wasn’t any manual saving that I saw, thus making it a requirement to go through each and every puzzle multiple times.
This makes it difficult to care about the story enough to grab all nine endings. The puzzles become less about having fun on the way to the next choice and more about how quickly players move to see the next piece of the plot. Tedious gameplay to see more storyline makes for poor replayability, and soon enough it becomes far easier to simply look up the other endings on YouTube.
As it currently stands, Magnetic: Cage Closed is enjoyable to play, albeit probably only once or twice, and the branching paths it provides only barely earns the price tag of $15 on Steam, in my opinion. The extra $5 for the soundtrack and artbook are a good deal as the art and music is quite enjoyable. I would recommend nabbing this if it’s on a sale when you can.
What do you think about the way Guru Games presented this style of story and gameplay? Did they do it right for a single playthrough? Did they fail at accounting for no manual saving might hinder people’s desire to play the game more than once? Tell us in the description below!
The collector’s edition of the game was provided to the reviewer and he tried not to procrastinate too much. Sadly he didn’t account for procrastinating on how not to procrastinate.
Enjoyable and challenging for the first playthrough; yet suffers terribly when trying to explore the branching storyline.