In MagNets: Fully Charged you control Park Ranger Faraday, who has discovered that not only have the MagNetPets gone missing, but also the Bloxbots have gone mad! It's not quite clear what Bloxbots or MagnetPets are, but, according to your guide (a holographic projection identified only as "Sir") it's definitely up to you to sort it out. Armed with this newfound responsibility, you head off into the world of Magnets in a bid to solve both the mystery of the MagNetPet disappearance and hopefully, along the way, figure out what they are and why you should care.
It turns out that Bloxbots are little robotic cubes which serve a repair function in the Magnets universe. For some reason they are now out of control and are doing everything in their power to take down Faraday and anything in the world they take a disliking to. That's pretty much everything, so you'll have your hands full trying to keep them in check. To disable bots, you must drop a magnetic anchor of sorts by pressing LT or RT. Holding the button down and moving will then extend a magnetically charged net from this point and you must try to capture as many enemies as you can within the MagNet (get it?) in order to take them down. Although Faraday also comes with a dash ability and a ground stomp attack, it's the MagNet that'll be your main tool in this game, making it a real shame that the net controls are clunkier than they should be. We expected to be able to drag and drop the net to stun enemies and then immediately pick it up and do the same while running in the other direction in order to get two hits in quick succession. The net doesn't work that way however and there is a short pause between the first net expiring and a new one becoming available. This means that well-choreographed mass attacks end up failing and catching only half the group on the second pass and this left us feeling deflated much of the time as we had to make a third or fourth attempt to take down as many bots as we wanted to target in the first instance.
At first, the bots are simple cubes that hop around and fire electrical charges at you, but later they become increasingly complex, armed with rockets, lasers and self-destruct mechanisms that can cut short a level unexpectedly if you let your character become swarmed. Quite why repair robots would need to be outfitted with some of the later weaponry is not entirely clear, but it's probably best not to think about it too deeply. Who knows? Perhaps firing rockets at circuitry has a completely legitimate repair function in this world.
Destroying a Bot will reward you with precious scrap, which must be brought to the Recycletron who will turn it into valuable quest items such as fuses or switches. Fuses can be used to complete circuits and switches are used to activate various functions in the world - such as opening doors or activating protective force fields. The Recyletron will require a set amount of scrap to produce these quest items but will reward you with additional health or shields if you bring a surplus. Taking damage will cause Faraday to drop anything he's collected so it's important to stay mobile to be successful in each stage. It's also not as simple as just taking down bots to collect scrap, as they will be frantically trying to destroy friendly buildings or treasure, so you'll spend much of your time running from one side of the screen to the other to ensure you complete your objective and keep everything intact. At the end of each stage, you're awarded points for structures saved, Bloxbots destroyed and scrap collected. There's a leaderboard hidden in the Options menu for those who want to get competitive, but since this is tucked away, there's no real compelling reason to seek it out or attempt a high score.
There are four zones to explore as you track down your quarry - The Park, Factory, Museum and Tower. Each has it's own look and feel, but as MagNets is fairly bland visually, there aren't any real stand out moments and the changing zones feel largely irrelevant. Additionally, MagNets doesn't veer very far from its core gameplay of drop the net, kill the bot, collect the scrap and as such, quickly becomes repetitive. Each world consists of four levels and a boss stage and there are a few shining lights among these, especially as you get to the later levels. It's reasonably fun at times and is very family friendly, with a casual mode available to make it accessible to younger gamers, but we just couldn't shake the general feeling of apathy.
As each level is only a few minutes long, most will complete this game in only a few hours. There's a challenge mode where you can take another run at previous levels in order to complete them in a set time limit or by collecting certain quantities of scrap and for the dedicated, there are four extra characters to unlock as well as some additional difficulties if you just can't get enough of dragging and dropping a net to stun some cubes. The multiplayer option on the main menu was greyed out when this review was written and the Total Monkery website advises that more information on this will be coming soon, so it appears that at least at this point, MagNets may not be as fully charged as advertised.
Family friendly and inoffensive, MagNets: Fully Charged is a functional game that some will find entertaining. The lack of variety and short completion time really drag it down but as it's such a repetitive experience you may well find yourself welcoming the end. Achievement hunters will enjoy the 20G you get for the first time you jump but other than that, MagNets doesn't offer enough bang for your buck and is difficult to recommend at its current price point and with its multiplayer missing in action.