Magrunner: Dark Pulse - Review

The characters, visuals, music, voice acting, story, setting, and gameplay are all well done. Even if they are not to the level of detail that would put it over the top. The gameplay consist of charging items with a positive or negative pulse and then using those items to repel or attract other charged items in the world in order to navigate and solve puzzles. But the biggest downfall in this game is it’s level design. Levels are poorly put together, and have nowhere near the detail that a game like, Portal, has.

It feels like you have to cheat your way out of them. In Portal there was the logical way to solve the puzzle, but also allowed for alternate ways that made you feel like you outsmarted the designers. At one point I had to attract an object and then force it against another object so that it would fling itself into a random direction and hopefully make it over a gap so I could pick it up. That was the only way I can see that solves the problem. So I had a 1/20 chance of me actually getting the cube piece to the other side.

Most music seems to only run for about 40-60 seconds before it begins looping. And when you're stuck on a puzzle for about 30 minutes or so it can get really annoying and becomes a constant reminder of why you should hurry up and solve the damn thing. They are trying to create dramatic tension (especially after seeing a monster) but you know nothing is going to happen. And when you think you can’t escape the monsters, the cut-scenes take over and you end up being OK.

Really the whole thing feels disjointed, and finishing a puzzle never leaves you with a sense of accomplishment. You'll just be extremely grateful that you will never have to do it again. Which of course removes any kind of replayability for me. Not to say that there isn't a far number of challenging puzzles in this game. But in some cases you can skip whole parts of them. I feels as though if the game had a much more extensive tutorial, or a clearer understanding of the game’s logic to the player it would have improved the overall experience. But as is, it’s just a well made game that falls flat by it’s own design.

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