‘Magnetic: Case Closed’ Review

Platform: PC
Developer: Guru Games   Publisher: Gambitious Digital Entertainment
Genre: Action/Platformer   Platform: Played On PC


The first thing gamers will think when stepping into Magnetic: Case Closed is it’s similarity to Portal. It is a discussion which has been implemented in every single article about the game, but that isn’t a bad thing. In Magnetic: Case Closed you play as Prisoner XE-47623 who has been sentenced to prison or, Facility 7, for crimes against the state. It isn’t a generic prison though, instead you are placed in a weapons testing facility to try work your way through each dangerous level. This is where the comparisons to Portal take place.

Instead of being armed with a portal gun, the facility places a magnetic gun in your hands in order to navigate through each area. Fire, poisonous gas, spikes and your own magnetic pull are the only things impeding your progress. Spatial awareness can be a weapon against yourself too, one wrong step and you will be impaled by spikes – something which frequently happened to me.

The magnetic gun is obviously the key tool in the game as you must use your surroundings in order to progress. Within the rooms are various means to move forward, ranging from the usual ‘place-the-box-on-the-button’ to using the magnetic boards on the walls to launch yourself to the next platform. There are also small magnetic squares throughout the game which have their own magnetic charges. They can be a bit frustrating, especially when you are trying to launch a box at the large button, only for it to turn into a curveball because of the magnetic pulling from each square. It isn’t a bad feature though, only a mere inconvenience.

It certainly isn’t a game you can rush as you can easily be too eager and end up choking yourself to death by falling into the chlorine gas below. You don’t get a health meter or regeneration so you don’t have many chances to be burnt or poisoned. You do spawn at each checkpoint though which are frequent so it isn’t too much of a downer if you make a wrong move. The risk vs reward style is certainly minimal here because of the quick respawns which only set you back a minute or so.

One aspect of the magnetic gun which really sold it for me was the tug of war you play while trying to pull an object. Countless times I would use the positive charge to bring a box back, only to forget about the magnetic pull and fall to my death. It certainly adds a bit more cautious thinking to your approach.

As you progress you are handed an upgraded version of the magnetic gun which offers more power. You can scroll up and down to increase or decrease the power of the gun, although I never really found a reason to decrease the power. I went through the whole game on full power, but perhaps that is the reason for some of my deaths.

In regards to the overall difficulty of each level I only found the last few levels to be actually challenging. Most of the game I coasted through never being held back for longer than 10 minutes. While they weren’t insanely easy, they didn’t provide any of those ‘eureka’ moments which Portal offered. The last few levels though offered what I had been craving throughout the whole game. They were chaotic, daunting and challenging. They seemed to have a different strategy to anything which had been on show in the first two chapters as some of the puzzle designs hadn’t been demonstrated previously. Some might find that frustrating, but I loved it. It offered a bit more of a surprise as you encountered the next challenge.

Guiding, well not in a helpful way at least, is the disembodied antagonist voice of the Warden who urges you fail through the whole game. I thought I wouldn’t enjoy the dialogue as much as I did in Portal but it certainly held up on its own. In partner with Karen, another voice over the speaker, they both offer up entertaining banter and guidance to add another dynamic to the game. What they have to say though is perhaps the biggest difference between Magnetic and Portal. Throughout the game Karen will offer up different avenues to pursue which will affect what happens in your play through.

One of the small challenges is at the end of one of the puzzle rooms you must remember how many boxes you used in the previous room. Answer correctly and you move on with no worries, answer incorrectly and you are sent to another room to be punished. Each of these decisions changes which one of nine endings you will experience. One aspect I enjoyed of these areas were the small rooms on display with mannequins in them. Each room offered a glimpse to what will happen in each of the choices. It was a cool little touch, and it certainly gives you a bit of imagination to what might happen.

The decision-making is a big part of the game, and something I enjoyed. However the feeling of deciding was as good as it got. In my first play through I took the revenge path, hoping to see something inflict pain upon those who punished me. Instead of some cool small cut scene the whole scene played out over the speaker and certainly didn’t feel very rewarding. It would have been nice if you could see who had been in control, but the overall plot itself is enjoyable. The ending I took did surprise me a bit as I didn’t think about what the characters were saying during the game which looking back, provided a bit of foreshadowing.

Visually the game is extremely well made. It’s almost like a neo-Cold War setting and seems a bit grimmer than you would see in Portal which had a distinct colour setting. The magnetic gun almost reminded me of a weapon you would use in Bioshock; even the graphics reminded me of Rapture.

Magnetic: Case Closed is an excellent addition to an otherwise niche category. The gameplay is enjoyable and the dialogue is extremely well written while adding some morality decisions to choices you make. While it is a very short game, my first play through took less than three hours, it offers a variety of endings and paths to keep you entertained for about five or six hours. The challenges don’t really start until the third chapter which was a bit disappointing, but it is certainly enjoyable the whole way through.

The Good

  • The Magnet Gun
  • Diverse challenges in each level
  • Well-written dialogue
  • Overall plot can have a pleasant twist
  • Final chapter

The Bad

  • Early levels aren’t challenging
  • Decisions aren’t satisfying

The Score 7.5