I almost forgot that this game existed in my Steam library until I was bored one day.
Magnetic: Cage Closed is a first person puzzle game that puts you in the shoes of a prisoner on death row. You are taken by an unknown corporation which is using you as a test subject to test a magnetic field manipulation gun. Using this gun, you can move solid metallic objects by either pushing or pulling them.
As far as puzzle mechanics go, the puzzle mechanics in this game are fairly simple to get a grasp of. You have a gun, left click to pull. Right click to push. The magnet gun also has two different “strengths” available. This is in case you need more subtle forces to act on the objects you have.
And here lay the first problem I found with the game. I never really found a utility for having different strengths of the magnet gun. I always used it at maximum power and was able to overcome with puzzle chambers without any problem. Perhaps there would be a utility for this further on in the game. I should say that I have not completed the game, but only about halfway through. However, I never found a use of it. Even if there were a use for it later on in the game, I think it is fairly bad game design. Why introduce an element if you can go through the first half of the game without utilizing it?
What I particularly liked about the game was the script the developers used. Yes, you’re an inmate. You are being used for testing a piece of equipment. If you were to die, you’re dispensable anyway (where have I heard that before?). But what I found to be particularly great was how obnoxious and hateful the people in charge of the facility are. Their constant derogatory comments really adds to the feel of the game.
I did a little research and it turns out that there are multiple endings for the game. And this is my biggest issue with the game. I really, really dislike puzzle games which have multiple endings, especially if you have to replay the entire game. I find multiple endings to be a complete waste of time, and only a way to beef up the time taken to complete the game. It was once I found out that there were multiple endings that I decided to stop playing the game. I don’t put up with games that employ such cheap tactics to retain a player base.
My other issue with the game is the lack of depth of puzzle mechanics. While the uselessness of the strength of the magnet gun was definitely an issue, the overall design of the puzzles was also an issue. Most of the time, I found the puzzles were more about playing target-practice as you tried to launch a cube towards a button while doing various other things. It’s pretty fun at the start, but it gets old very quickly.
Overall, Magnetic: Cage Closed definitely has elements within itself to make a great puzzle game. It has those characters that you really like to hate, and definitely plays on that strength very well. However, the multiple endings idea killed the game for me. The repetitiveness of the puzzles also got to me as I found myself knowing what to do, just very bored as I was trying to execute the steps without messing up.
I think the game is worth having a look at, especially if it is on sale. You might enjoy the more dexterity-intensive puzzle games which I don’t. But the game does at least offer a few hours of fun, especially if you only intend on doing one playthrough.