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alone on the journey of chasing dreams,so lonely and endless...
Let me start by saying there's a lot to like in this game. Not many games have such a high ability to develop a certain style, and incorporate that style into all of their aspects. This game, on the other hand, oozes style. The art is simplistic, the UI is beautifully obtuse, and there are a lot of little touches (the Options icon changing as your mouse moves closer to it/farther away from it, the "main character"'s color trail gaining colors as you complete the stages) that really separate it from the rest of the flash games out there. It all adds to a fantastic (although a tad bit hackneyed) theme of sensory overload and synesthesia. The game also has a way of communicating a lot while saying very little. With only a few sentences of instruction, the game manages to convey at least most of its mechanics to the player. The first stage, although just a black box moving across the screen, introduces the player to the main goal of the game, which is more or less to get to the other side. As the magnetic powers begin to take a part in the game, the game once again eases the player into each, showing the benefits and risks of each one.
However, it is the information that the game doesn't convey that becomes the problem. The first (and most common) mechanic is that of the blue magnetic box, which attracts the main box when you click and draws it in. While this system may seem simple enough, it proves much more troublesome then that. Immediately after the player realizes the basics of the power, the game expects the player to preform U-turns and navigate right angles with just a very limited knowledge. Sure, there's a way to get through it properly, but the game never takes any further steps than "this thing pulls you in" to tell the player it. The rules exist, yes, but are veiled, and (at least in my case) I felt like so many of my victories were not due to skill but just blind luck. The only way for the player to learn the concept is constant and repeated attempts.
And there's nothing intrinsically wrong with that sort of trial-and-error system in a game. After all, some fantastic video games have been created centered around that very idea. However, there's one little aspect of this game that prevents trial-and-error from working properly. Next to the mouse pointer, a little counter exists that tells the player how many times he has "died." The counter never resets, can never be dropped, and serves little use other than being a constant reminder of how often the player has failed.
While this may not seem like such a big issue, it completely changes the atmosphere of experience. Instead of being a nurturing environment with the theme "It doesn't matter that you died, as long as you keep getting better," the game is framed in an oppressive environment with the theme "Every mistake is counting against you." Is the counter that big of a deal? In the grand scheme of the game, no, but in the beginning player's mind it could mean anything, make the difference between beating the game and losing it. The whole idea of the counter is counter (ha, ha) to the very basic principles of the gameplay. It'd be like an RPG having a system that constantly reminds you just how many seconds you have been playing and how slow you are at completing it.
The ultimate result of the game's environment is an incredible feeling of frustration. The game doesn't necessarily expect perfection, but it certainly discourages imperfection. The player gets unnecessarily frustrated at himself and the system because he feels like he has no room to improve. The conclusion for many (including myself and, if I just scroll through the reviews here, many others) is rage-quitting after only a few levels.
Eventually, after reading that there were more mechanics in later levels, I decided to give the game another chance, and I brute-forced my way to the end. What I discovered was something truly beautiful-- the other powers were much easier to comprehend and less frustrating to fail with and the good of the game once again took place in the front of my mind. Some of the moments were truly emotionally satisfying (the refrain of the title theme in some of the last levels, the intensity of the final gauntlet), and the phenomenal stage design and incredible style that was established at the beginning of the game was once again present and clear.
As I finished the game and watched the credit sequence (which is awesome, good job there), I remembered the game very fondly, and ultimately decided that it was one of the best flash games I had ever played. But I almost missed out on all of it (as I'm sure many others did) because of one simple factor that drove me to frustration. And the fact that the game's so good makes that all the more a shame.
I hope you continue making games, because you are incredible at it, and, if this was your first work as your profile suggests, it was a damn good one. Also, if you don't win the contest I will personally assassinate Tom Fulp.
thanks...thank you guys..
I thought it was just a jam about how we played and touched on the screen.
but next few days...
I was totally wrong...
it was all about how video games magnetized us all around the world together.
how we against all odds together and how we carry it to the end.
but most of all,
was that how players touched developer's heart...
and how a 21-year-old student touched his dream- me, Rocky Hong.
thank you guys...
i won't stop, just like what i did in this game...
i'll keep making games, and do what i loved to do,what i always do.
i do what i love, and share what i believe-
the power of magnetized
the power of creativity
and the power of - Video Games.
truly amazing work!
Finished the game and i absolutely loved it. The ending was very poetic, and i loved that also. Haven't played a game this good in a while. I feel almost inspired. Consider me Magnetized.
Its a really good game... nice creative(new) gameplay, fitting music, nice skill development.
I just got stuck at level 55. I mean, im not trying to go all the way around, i know you can be quicker by jumping into the center and turning around, etc. but... i just can't get it done with my current skill level.
If i can finish almost every level with 1-20 tries, but still cannot finish this after 150 tries... that's not right, is it? Got kinda frustrating for me...
Oh well i just made it. Still too hard, even if you're not going all the way around.
Got to level 52 and lost interest, great concept though. I enjoyed it :)
Defend your planet against green rabbit and his evil minions.
The path of GemCraft continues, bigger and meaner than ever...
Amazing defense-Idle game with Kittens!
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