What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of aliens? Do you think of UFOs? Little grey beings? The History Channel guy with the crazy hair? Now, what do you not think of? Magnets? Well, obviously, why would you associate magnets with aliens?
Apparently, that’s how aliens traverse space, at least according to An Alien with a Magnet [Free]. In this platformer, you play as an alien who had an accident, and needs to get back to his home planet by using magnets to pull himself between various objects in space.
Oh, and you collect stars and other bonuses, too.
An Alien with a Magnet is one of the most charming games I've played lately, and it is cute, to boot. Developer Rejected Games has taken the platformer style of past games and layered on colorful graphics and a unique take on the genre. It’s not groundbreaking, but it’s delightfully fun and will have you occupied for hours.
You start off by listening to the story as told by the alien. He’s got one of those voices you’ll either love or hate. After a short introductory clip, you'll be in the tutorial levels.
Your goal is to move from the bottom of the screen to the top, using your magnet to jump between planets and stars, while collecting various bonuses spread throughout. To magnetize, you hold down the screen, and your alien will continually hover around whatever object he’s currently attached to. You then let go of the screen at the right time, which causes him to demagnetize, which will send you soaring to the next planet, at which point you hold down the screen again to grab onto the new gravity field.
It sounds easy, but it can be difficult to gauge direction and timing as it’s not a straight shot from one to the other. In some levels, you’ll have bumpers on either side of the screen, so if you do overshoot your target, you’ll bounce right back to where you were.
However, that’s it. A lot of the earlier missions continue the same way, and the game will feel very repetitive by the time you advance beyond the basics. The game does include a Time Attack mode, which lets you compare high scores, but the mechanics are exactly the same. There’s slight replayability in that you can collect diamonds which lead to side paths, and many levels contain hidden orbs that can be collected.
The further you progress, the more you’re introduced to new obstacles, such as asteroids, rocks, etc., which will force you to think of how to take the path of least resistance. You’ll be subject to a time limit now and then, too. Some levels also offer alternate exits, that if taken, will lead you to a bonus stage where you can bounce around and collect items.
When it comes to sound, An Alien with a Magnet is just as cute as it is graphically. Pings, pops, the sound of the magnet. However, as was previously mentioned, the alien’s voice will either make you go “aww so cute” or “aww I want to open his spaceship so his head pops off in zero gravity.” Are aliens subject to the same laws as us humans? Hmm.
After you complete a level, you’re given the option to watch a replay of how you completed it. You can then choose to share that video, maybe to a struggling friend who is having an issue, or to show off on YouTube.
The bottom line? An Alien with a Magnet is simply a fun game. There isn't much to detract from Rejected’s offering, aside from the repetition and the voice, the latter of which is entirely based upon you, whether you like him or not.
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