It seems like for the last several years one of the top catch phrases in the video game industry has been “it’s like Portal with
Sure, there are a lot of similarities to Portal here. Even the developer touched on that in a recent interview:
“Portal is the game that everyone who sees the trailers and gameplay videos points to. And to be truthful, Portal and Portal 2 set and raised the bar for the first-person action/puzzler genre. Those games were definitely inspirations for Magrunner, but we had to go our own direction. As much as people might be hoping that we’ve created some kind of Portal 3 or something similar, Magrunner took on a life of its own and ultimately forged its own identity, story, and universe. That, I think, is part of what makes Magrunner such a unique game and I hope players agree later this month.”
Much like Portal, you’re trying to get from point A to point B within a facility using a bit of nifty experimental technology which is worn on your hand. Instead of punching teleporting holes in flat surfaces, this time you’re harnessing the power of magnets, those mystically magical things if you believe the Insane Clown Posse. That in and of itself would likely make for a solid game, but on top of that, toss in a generous serving of the Cthulhu mythos and a near future science fiction setting and it all sounds pretty damn awesome to me.
I’ve gotten to get my mitts on it a bit during the beta and I have to say it has been a blast. The puzzles are less about figuring out the solution before you get started than about figuring things out on the fly. As Burchill put it in the above mentioned interview: “The main challenge they’ll face is in thinking about what they have to do as they do it. We made an effort to make every challenge and level accessible to all players, keeping the controls simple and intuitive, yet offering a range of dynamic possibilities. For example: While Dax is in mid air, he may see another platform that he has to activate to proceed. We want the players to say “Aha!” and make that realization, seeing the puzzle unfold before them. So, it’s less about the reaction time and more about solving the level-as-puzzle.”
Graphically speaking, Magrunner: Dark Pulse is quite interesting and beautiful. It’s a very odd and intriguing mix of near-future science fiction and the Cthulhu mythos blended together into a glorious world that is both dark and menacing in some places and bright and neony in others. There’s a good number of characters to choose from to keep things interesting. The narrative/story seems very interesting and more than enough to keep your attention and keep you moving forward. Throw in the fact that it is being developed for Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network, which means it’ll likely hit the market at a nice, cheap price and I think we’ll have a winner here.