May 11, 2021

Super Magbot’s demo offers attractive and repellent 2D platforming

I like a good “platformer but you can’t jump” game. VVVVVV remains the gold standard, but Super Magbot’s playable demo suggests it has a magnetic appeal of its own. Instead of jumping, you navigate its deadly, single-screen levels using a magnet ray that can attract and repel you from certain surfaces. I played it and liked it.

It’s best played on a pad. The left analogue stick moves your character, the right stick aims your ray, while the bumpers fire either a blue or red pulse. A blue pulse from LB will draw you towards red surfaces and repel you from blue ones, and a red pulse from RB will draw you towards blue and repel you from red.

That’s how magnets work: opposites attract, etc. In practice, I found myself getting muddled frequently. Some of the coloured platforms vanish as you attract yourself towards them, letting you slingshot through them, and the quickfire changes in colour and direction caused me to mince myself against spinning blades and dunk myself into green acid dozens of times on just a single screen.

For all that failure, it took me around 20 minutes to bash through the levels included in the demo. Restarts are instant and some levels are definitely easier than others. Once complete, you’re given 15 extra minutes to spend on a set of harder levels from later in the game. Access to these is a one-time thing, but you can replay the first 15 levels again and again if you want to try to get faster times.

Refining scores isn’t my thing. In fact, I increasingly find I favour forgiving platformers over deadly gauntlets, but I enjoyed Super Magbot’s demo thanks to its central concept. It’s good at what it does.

You can grab the Super Magbot demo from Steam now. The full game is due for release later this year.