Magnetic: Cage Closed
Developed by Guru Games
Published by Gambitious Digital Entertainment
Available on PC (coming soon to Xbox One)
Scientific guns, boxes, buttons, and deadly puzzles. Sounds enticing, right? All of these things are readily available in the newest addition to the first-person puzzle genre, Magnetic: Cage Closed, a mind-bending game that draws inspiration from Portal and Cube. However, instead of testing for science, players will be testing for their freedom.
In Magnetic: Cage Closed players take on the role of a prisoner in Facility 7. Imprisoned for an unknown number of crimes, players are tasked with testing out the D27 Magnetic Propulsion Device. Survive all the testing chambers and past crimes will be forgiven. Players are then free to leave the facility. At least that’s the bargain made at the beginning of game.
Guiding players through the maze of death traps is Karen, who is in charge of basic training and choice chambers (“therapy sessions”), and the Warden, the man in charge of Facility 7 who antagonizes players as they travel from room to room.
Magnetic: Cage Closed utilizes a magnetic gun that starts off with two power settings, weak magnetic force and strong magnetic force. Ultimately, the D27 Magnetic Propulsion Device is upgraded until there are four power settings, creating plenty of opportunities for scientific hijinks.
Like Portal, there are testing chambers filled with deadly puzzles that require solving. Unlike Portal, completing the game requires more than simply moving from point A to point B. The developers thought hard about ways to solve the biggest downfall of puzzle games, knowing the answers. Once players solve a puzzle, typically, players can complete the game at lightning speeds.
Magnetic: Cage Closed tackles this problem by inserting chambers where players will have to make a choice. Some of these chambers act as a test of your memory, while others present players with a moral dilemma. Each choice dictates how the next set of test chambers are arranged. This, in turn, creates a new series of events every time a player runs through the game. A player’s choice does more than determine test chambers; it also determines a player’s ultimate fate. According to the developers, there are nine different endings. That’s nine different ways to escape or die trying.
The puzzles themselves range from child’s play to brain melting, but what really holds together is the atmosphere. Magnetic: Cage Closed went all out to make players feel like a prisoner desperate to escape. For example, the order in which players attempt chambers is disorienting. One minute, you are working through chamber 24 and the next, you are in chamber 772. I couldn’t even tell you how many test chambers there are in between “therapy sessions” with Karen and one-on-one time with the Warden.
Chambers that rage against numerical order aside, Magnetic: Cage Closed uses days and chapters that feel like they last forever to up the ante. The introductory levels alone consist of nine test chambers that teach players how to best utilize the gun to move boxes onto buttons. Never knowing what awaits players behind the door is agonizing experience that only adds to the determination to escape as fast as humanly possible.
Honestly, it’s the little victories in the game that keep players moving because even after successfully navigating a puzzle, players are forced to crawl small tunnels in order to move from one area to the next. Players aren’t even given the satisfaction of walking away from a puzzle with their head held high. A constant reminder of their place in the facility.
Finally, there are the cryptic messages scrawled on the walls. Early on players learn from their fellow prisoners that leaving isn’t as easy as the Warden makes it sound. After all top-notch testers are hard to find. Who wouldn’t want to spend the rest of their days testing out new gizmos under the constant threat of death? Although some prisoners managed to keep their sense of humor.
Magnetic: Cage Closed is a game for those who love puzzle platformers, but are tired of feeling like nothing new is gained by playing through a second time. Playing once simply isn’t enough. Happy puzzling!