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Magnetic Baby

For: iPhone
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An attractive proposition?

Product: Magnetic Baby | Developer: Bravery Plus | Format: iPhone | Genre: Platform | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Magnetic Baby iPhone, thumbnail 1
Is the inclusion of multiple control schemes a considerate thought to customers of all tastes, or an admission of defeat?

Forcing players to use a particular setup can sometimes seem stubborn, but most of the top iOS games have a single way to play and are all the better for it.

Magnetic Baby, in contrast, offers three control options, which in this instance feels like developer Bravery Plus isn’t quite sure of the one that fits its game best.

Satellite of love

The object of each of the 63 levels is to guide a cute orange alien to his pink girlfriend. Shaped like a circle, he can roll around the surfaces of various planets and launch himself off, with his trajectory dependent on his momentum and the gravity of the planet his leaps take him closest to.

Being able to slingshot around planetoids is an idea familiar to fans of Super Mario Galaxy, but Magnetic Baby is actually more akin to DSiWare title Mighty Milky Way, albeit it possesses looser controls than both of them.

A default tilt option seems just too tricky to truly master, while dragging your finger across the screen results in your rotund hero leaping randomly into hazards. Virtual thumbstick controls are the most obvious choice, then, though they’re merely the best of a bad bunch.

Drawn to strife

Magnetic Baby’s other major problem is its wildly uneven difficulty level. While it’s usually easy enough to reach your beloved, you’ll need to collect three stars on the majority of a world’s levels to unlock the next.

This means obtaining two or three on almost every stage, and the capricious controls and tricky design on some stages can make it incredibly frustrating trying to snaffle the most awkwardly placed shinies.

There’s much hopping between planets as you attempt to build momentum, and then rebuild it as you inevitably come to a shuddering halt. Some surfaces give you such a small area to work with that you’ll yearn for the precision of digital controls.

Difficulty spikes

Should you hit the spikes or thorns that populate the levels with increasing regularity as you progress, you’ll need to start the stage all over again.

At least restarts are instant, though when you fall victim to the pointed spokes of a marauding metal wheel mere inches from the finish line, it’s enough to provoke outbursts of the fiercest kind of profanity.

All that said, I get the feeling that some players will really connect with Magnetic Baby. Even for those who can’t quite get to grips its control foibles, the game’s visual appeal goes a long way to offsetting its problems.

The graphics are crisp, colourful, and polished, and the music, while oddly mournful in places, is pleasantly melodic.

Keep on rolling

At a mere 59p, Magnetic Baby is worth the outlay to find out whether or not it clicks with you, and many will find that it rewards perseverance.

Should the concept grab you, then it’s possible you could be more forgiving of its problems than I was - though either way you'd be best advised to play it out of earshot of the young or easily offended.
Magnetic Baby
Reviewer photo
Chris Schilling | 12 July 2011
Magnetic Baby will likely polarise opinion, but its low price means it’s worth finding out which camp you belong in
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