The latest game from University of Utah Arts and Engineering degree students is Magnetic by Nature, in which players take on the role of a robot who must move through levels using magnetic powers.
The first thing to strike us about Magnetic by Nature is the intuitive feel to the controls. Controls are, of course, one of the most important elements of video game design, so it says much to University of Utah’s credit that its students have created so high a quality control scheme.
With the XBLIG version of the game you get about an hour to an hour and a half of gaming. In that time you’ll be exposed to many different playstyles. Levels range from physics puzzles to platforming to fighting, hence touching on a truly diverse range of genres. In all play-styles you’ll be madly trying to control your robot character, who zooms through levels at breathtaking speed.
At times, the movement can feel somewhat out of control. There are times when hazardous elements of the environment move too fast, making success more a case of luck than skill. In one level a beam of light— that kills you in one touch—moves much too fast and invariably leads to frustrating deaths. Elements like this show a slight lack of polish (or perhaps a lack of time). The good news in this respect is that the game’s developers are apparently aware of the issues and are making efforts to correct the issues.
Even without the few fixes the team are making, there is a great deal about Magnetic by Nature that does University of Utah’s Arts and Engineering department proud. The game is good fun, has solid controls and the majority of the key ingredients of game design have been created professionally. This is one of the best student games we have played here at GamePlayersReview, a great representation of the work being done at University of Utah.