Super Magbot is an indie action platformer, developed by Astral Pixel and published by Team17. The art style of Super Magbot is done entirely in a charming pixel art style, but as will be a theme with this review, it’s not very distinct or unique. You could honestly splice screenshots of this game with about a dozen others with a similar pixel style and not be able to tell the difference. That’s not to say it’s the fault of the pixel art style in general, you can do games in pixel art and have a very distinct art style at the same time. It’s not just the art style that fails to distinguish itself, the environments of the game are about as generic as it gets. You visit four worlds in the game, a forest planet, an ice planet, a magma planet, and a technology planet that our main robot character hails from. As generic as these themes are, the game doesn’t attempt to add its spin or take on them to make them original at all. That’s not to say the art is bad, this game is pretty. It’s just not unique or even very memorable.
While the art may not be very memorable or unique, the same cannot be said for the gameplay. I used a keyboard for my playthrough, and the controls were just perfect. If I ever died or messed up it was on me, not on the game. That’s not something that can be said for all platformers, but it can be said for almost all the great ones. Your character can’t jump, they can only run left and right. The gameplay and the platforming are centered on a magnetic laser beam your character always carries, and switches between red and blue polarities. You use your beam to jump and propel your character through the various challenges and levels, picking up optional collectibles along the way.
I am really bad at platformers usually, and I don’t play them often. But Super Magbot offers a handful of accessibility features to make the game as easy or hard as you want. Every level and the start of the game is so well designed I didn’t find myself getting frustrated or stuck in one place too long. They also let you skip 3 levels per world, in case you get stuck on one thing you can just skip it and come back if you choose. The ability to tweak the game to be easier or harder, and the optional ability to skip levels lets this game be accessible to a wide array of players. The best part is that even with all the easier features, the game doesn’t sacrifice fun or the gameplay, and you can’t just mindlessly click your way through.
As far as a plot or story, there is a generic narrative going on in this game. An evil asteroid is threatening a solar system, and you play as a robot that has to go to four different worlds collecting fragments to destroy the villain. That’s all there is, but that’s all the game needs. The focus is placed on the gameplay, platforming, and level design. So the bare bones story works fine. After you clear a planet for the first time and move on to the next one, the evil asteroid shows up and destroys the planet you had just cleared. This opens up optional bonus levels in each of the planets after you beat them, and also makes the villain seem evil and menacing.
Overall, Super Magbot has fantastic game design, controls, and gameplay, but a bland presentation. Nothing about it is outright bad, the art style just isn’t unique, the world themes are as generic as can be and the execution of these themes does nothing to distinguish itself. The music like the art is pleasant, but nothing that stands out or will stick with you after you’re done playing. Where this game shines best is where it matters most for a game, the controls are fluid, the gameplay and level design are fantastic, and most importantly it’s fun. A full playthrough will probably take you about 5-10 hours to beat, and maybe another few hours to 100% complete this game. Luckily the game is paced beautifully, and every hour of your playthrough will be a blast. There is never a drag with this game, the gameplay is quality throughout. The full retail price for the deluxe edition is 20$, with sales and cheaper versions of this game available. If you love platformers or a classic gaming experience or just looking for something fun, Super Magbot is a fantastic pickup and one of the rare instances where the game is worth its monetary price.
Score: 7 out of 10
Reviewed on Steam