Preview: A Tough But Rewarding Challenge Awaits In Magrunner

Magrunner Logo - We Know Gamers

Set in a cyberpunk reimaging of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulu Mythos inspired World in the year 2050, Magrunner is a first person physics based puzzle game in a similar vein to Portal. But is this just a simple clone? Or does its own ideas do enough to really set it apart?

You play as a young man named Yoshi (no, not Mario's green friend) who is selected to participate in the Magtech Competition, a grand tournament set to show off the technology of the Magtech Glove. The winner receives one million credits after working their way through a series of challenge rooms.

o..k...what do I do here then?
The Magtech Glove has the power to give objects either a positive or negative charge, which affects objects by attracting or repelling them apart. Unlike real world magnets, charging two objects with the same polarity will actually force them together and alternatively, opposing forces will push each other away. Objects that can’t be affected by these charges are coloured yellow so you know exactly what you can and can't manipulate.

Of the few levels I played, I really enjoyed coming up with different solutions to the puzzles that were presented to me. The first room was set in a facility much like Aperture Science from Portal, in the room there was an orange plate on the ground and above that was a switch on the ceiling, and a box over in the corner. After picking up the box I placed it onto the plate, and by charging the plate with a positive blue charge and the box with negative red, the oppositely charged objects repelled each other, which caused the box to be launched into the air and hit the switch for me therefore opening the exit.

Don't look down!
As the demo went on, the environments switched from the clean facilities, to much larger open areas in the run down industrial back areas and finally into the stranger alternate reality of Cthulu's Mythos, which is out in the cold vacuum of Space containing floating landmass under a canvas of stars. While progressing through the game, the difficultly ramped up quite a bit and I struggled to figure out what I was even meant to do, but with a bit of trial and error and a helping hand from the games developer, I finally managed to overcome the games complex puzzles. Hopefully in the full game, there will be an easier learning curve otherwise some people may become frustrated and give up from the get go.

It was only in the later stages that I noticed for the first time that shooting a surface that doesn't have the telltale yellow hint, will allow you to spawn a special helper, a small dog named Newton that can also be charged with positive or negative energy. Using him as an assistant, I could lift a panel up off the ground which allowed me to access a secret area underground area, where I found a cube that was needed to complete a puzzle later on. As the demo went into the later levels of the game, and the area's changed to the alternate reality of Cthulu's Mythos, enemies were also introduced into the gameplay. They mainly just hang around to stop you progressing too quickly and make you take the long way round a level. This is when you wish you had a gun, rather than just a fancy glove but alas, having no weapons means you have to find some way of charging blocks and firing them across the environment to blast your way through.

I don't think you belong here

Overall it's difficult to set this game apart from Portal at an initial glance but once you get over that bump, you'll find a very challenging but ultimately rewarding experience. Magrunner is set to be released for the Xbox360, PlayStation 3 and PC as digital downloads early 2013.

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