Magnetic Baby will remind most gamers– even those of the completely casual bent– of Nintendo. With gameplay reminiscent of a 2D version of Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii and gorgeously colorful 2D graphics that smack of a modern version of games like Yoshi’s Island and Super Mario World, the game could easily fit on the Wii or the Nintendo DS. This facet of Magnetic Baby should be enough to attract plenty of affection.
The considerable visual appeal of Magnetic Baby is the most distinctive part of the game. The gameplay itself is very much in the physics-puzzler mold. The object is misleadingly simple. You take the role of a cute orange ball trying to rescue the love of his life– a cute pink ball. To do so, you roll around variously shaped planetoids, building up speed and momentum to jump to other nearby planetoids until you get to her. There are even linked black hole portals that transport the ball from one land mass to another. Your orb’s speed and direction carry over through the portals, and he’ll automatically be drawn to another land body when he gets close enough.
Catching some ZZZs.
For most of the levels, merely getting to his cute, spherical lass isn’t the problem. Collecting the three stars on each level, however, can be an exercise in extreme physics and patience. Thorn-covered ground, sharpened stars, laser beams, fans, and other hazards await the orange wonder as you progress through the 63 levels. He’s not an action hero, and one measly hit can end the level. Since collecting enough stars is a requirement to unlocking the next world, getting the hang of the odd, gravity-focused gameplay is key to success.
Magnetic Baby allows you to switch between three different control schemes on the fly, and this is part of the game’s big problem. Tilt controls, dragging, and a traditional virtual D-pad are all offered, but none of them feel quite right. The tilt controls feel a bit too wild, requiring you to shift your iPhone or iPad around like crazy. The dragging controls simply feel unresponsive, and even with the D-pad it can be difficult to quickly and smoothly move your orb around a landmass.
The controls work overall, but there is definitely some minor frustration when your expressive orange ball doesn’t respond perfectly. The game offers plenty of levels and star-collecting challenges, in addition to achievements and OpenFeint support, even if it doesn’t control quite as smoothly as we’d like. Odd as it sounds, Magnetic Baby is such an adorable game that the look helps overcome its minor frustrations. This might not be the perfect puzzle/ platformer, but it’s fun and absurdly cute.