HANDS-ON: SUPER MAGBOT (SWITCH)
Super Magbot sounds like a game that was backward-engineered from a Game Jam competition. In this environmental platformer Super Magbot must journey across various planets without jumping. That might seem strange for a platformer, where one of the traditional core mechanics is jumping from ledge to ledge, and that’s where Super Magbot’s originality and identity lies. Instead of jumping, Magbot is thrust into the air or catapulted off walls using magnetism.
It’s a unique method of traversal and works pretty well for the most part. Your success will depend on your ability to find the right angles to magnetically propel Magbot across the stages combined with perfectly timed button presses. This is where the complexity and difficulty develops, because as you progress you’ll be faced with increasingly more challenging angles to perfect with increasingly more difficult places to reach.
Magbot doesn’t have a double-jump, so unlike most sidescrolling gaming heroes this little robot doesn’t have the security blanket of recovering from a miss-timed propulsion (can’t really refer to it as a jump in this instance). This forces you to chain propulsions together and this will maximise Magbot’s speed and efficiency finishing levels. Getting around the world relies on accuracy, confidence and experimentation, and Magbot quickly respawns after every failed attempt as to not slow down your march of progress.
To somewhat justify this unconventional mode of transport Super Magbot has a bit of a physics-breaking explanation: all magnetic forces harmonise and create the Magnetia Star, which scatters fragments of itself all over the universe. An evil magnetic asteroid wants to consume the Magnetia Star so the citizens of Magtek send a robotic hero to collect the fragments of the star before the evil asteroid can consume them, essentially saving the entire universe in the process. Character motivations are paper thin and the dialogue isn’t going be winning any awards any time soon, so it’s probably best to ignore the plot and focus on the beautiful pixel art instead.
From what I’ve been able to play so far it’s difficult to say whether it’ll be a positive or a negative experience but if it’s true that opposites attract Super Magbot may have enough charm to entice a casual clientele looking for their first foray into hardcore platforming.
Developed by Astral Pixel and published by Team17, Super Magbot is available on Switch and on Steam from June 22nd.