By Mento 1 Comments
Man, today just kind of flew by. I know, that's my excuse for almost all of these so far, but it still feels like I barely got any progress done with today's game, as well as today's errands in general.
Part of this, I feel, is falling back into the IGAvania hole.
Yep, despite my better judgement and the fact I'm already playing a huge number of games this week, I've started a new game of Dawn of Sorrow. I'm already getting burned out hunting for rare souls, so it's really more the case that I needed to get it out of my system than it is something I anticipate will take over the free time I ought to be putting aside for these Steam games and their subsequent write-ups. Just one little binge to vent my SpaceWhipper addiction for a while. (A sensible person might've lined up some Indie SpaceWhippers in case something like this happened, but I appear to be fresh out of the things. Maybe I should grab that recent Strider reboot while it's still on sale...?)
Magrunner: Dark Pulse
So I neglected to play much of today's game, which is a shame because this is one I fully intend to play to its finale. A first-person physics puzzle game of the like I'm sure we've all seen before, Magrunner: Dark Pulse got a lot of buzz near release due to the way it goes off the rails at a certain point and becomes fully Lovecraftian weirdness. I'm getting hints of that already where I'm at, though truth be told I'm barely any further than where the QL finished.
Magrunner is the tale of a young engineering prodigy named Dax who manages to qualify for an exclusive Gattaca-style project in a private corporation's space program. In order to win such a coveted position he must complete a gauntlet of challenge rooms centered around the corporation's new technology that will allow for affordable space travel and colonization: magnet technology, or magtech. Using two magnetic fields, the player can imbue certain objects with a magnetic charge, allowing them to attract and repel each other. There's been numerous applications for this concept so far, from moving platforms to springboxes to sending cubes flying through glass walls, and it appears the first act of the game (in which Dax is earning his stripes) is intended to teach the basics to me before the game begins in earnest. Not unlike the part in Portal where Chell goes off the grid, in fact.
Now, I'm no physics major, but the fact that magnets with the same charge (depicted as either red or green, though this can be changed) are attracted to each other while those of different charges repel one another seems kind of ass-backwards. Maybe the game thought it was making it clearer by putting it that way around, but I wonder if they underestimated their player base just a tad by assuming they would not be able to get their heads around the idea of "opposites attract". They could always pipe in that Paula Abdul song if people are having too much trouble.
Despite dealing with that counter-intuitive magnet weirdness, which occasionally feels like playing the game with inverted controls turned on, it's been quite fun so far. My usual bugbear with action-puzzle games - a lack of precision and order with its moving parts - isn't quite as bad here as I was anticipating. While magnetically charged boxes tend to have a mind of their own, there's a certain method behind the randomized madness. Currently, building a chain of on-off-on-off magnetized boxes has been the hardest to manage, but I suspect I'll get a feel for it eventually. It helps that the game has a button that allows you to see the radial area of effect for the various magnetized items in the vicinity, giving you an idea where an item's magnetic influence terminates. It's a little messy from a visual standpoint to have all those opaque colored spheres everywhere, but it's another case where you'll get a feel for what's going on soon enough. I always like a puzzle game with a strong intuitive element to it; ones where you might fiddle with trial and error for a while until you get a sense for when something's "just right". It's a staple of all those Artillery games like Scorched Earth and Worms, for one thing.
Anyway, definitely sticking with this one for a while, and I'm fortunate that it actually runs fine on my less-than-stellar PC (unlike NaissanceE), mitigating any worries I might have about trying to do precision first-person jumping with a host of hitching and framerate issues around to put me off my timing. Maybe I'll do a double catch-up episode tomorrow for Magrunner and Dokuro, get a little closer to a conclusion for both of those.