Direct download: http://alpium-entert.../Magnetball.zip
YoYo Games Page: http://www.yoyogames...200-magnet-ball
GMC Topic: http://gmc.yoyogames...howtopic=509766
Magnet Ball is the latest game from the folks at the Alpium Entertainment Website. I say "folks" because the website uses "we" to describe themselves. But the GMC member associated with Magnet Ball is AlpiumEntertainment, known in real life as Albert "Shady Guy" Caldarelli (according to the website). He may be fairly new to the GMC, but it's VERY clear he's been making games a while.
I strongly urge you to visit their website, by the way. It's a great site with games, utilities, and music for download.
Magnet Ball is a physics-based logic puzzle, where the goal is to get the ball into the cradle. As you might expect from the title, the player controls the ball using magnets. Some magnets attract the ball, while others repel it. In each level, fixed magnets are strategically placed among various obstacles, such as walls, ramps, corners, etc. The basic gameplay involves turning the magnets off and on in the right order, (and sometimes with the right timing), to move the ball to its goal. In some levels, magnets may be moved along a track, or rotated. The controls are simple and very intuitive... but like many good puzzle games, mastering it requires some degree of subtlety.
The first few levels are straightforward, and their solution is fairly obvious. But that doesn't last too long, as the "correct magnet sequence" becomes more complex and less obvious. And in some levels, he player must use gravity and momentum, along with the magnet off/on timing to move the ball to the goal. The level shown below is one example:
Note: Original game window size is 800 x 600
As in many puzzle games, there are multiple ways to complete some levels. And in some cases, seemingly extraneous tools are added. The particular level shown below is one example of having multiple solutions:
Another interesting aspect of the game, is that new features are introduced without much explanation. The player must discover their function, and how to use them (and/or defeat them). That made subsequent levels more fun and challenging, but never frustrating. Some of these new features include electricity, bombs, portals, and gravity alteration -- in addition to the wall, ramps, and other obstacles:
As players complete each level, a record of their progress in automatically stored in an accompanying external file. When they restart the game later, they can scroll through a menu to select the first uncompleted level -- or replay a previous level. There's also a feature that allows players to skip a level after repeated failures.
All these features are too numerous to describe here -- and besides, why spoil the surprise? But you can get a brief glimpse of them in the YouTube trailer they provided:
Sound and Graphics
As you can see, the graphics are fairly basic, but they suit the game quite nicely. There's no background music, and the sound effects are minimal - such as to signify a magnet capturing the ball, or a level completion. But again, this seems well-suited to a logic puzzler like this. Adding more sounds and ambient music these might change the game's atmosphere, but it wouldn't improve the gameplay.
I've only completed about a third of the 60 levels. But to be honest, I'm in no hurry to finish because I don't want the game to end. When I do finish, however, I'll use their built-in level creator to create my own levels. The level editor allows users access to the same elements available in the game. These can be selected from intuitive menus, and then placed using an easy drag-and-drop interface. Moreover, you can share your devilishly clever creations with friends (or enemies ) using the upload service provided by Alpium Entertainment on their Magnet Ball Page.
All in all, this is an excellent game. Kudos to AlpiumEntertainment for creating it. It's simple to learn, fun to play, challenging to finish, but never frustrating. Highly recommended to puzzle-games fans everywhere!