“Oh, you have another box. Now you just have to figure out what to do with it.”
Yes, disembodied voice of sociopathic scientist putting me through a series of sadistic test chambers, that pretty much sums up Magnetic: Cage Closed. If you’ve played Portal, you know exactly what this routine is about, and these puzzles and their simple push-and-pull mechanics will likely feel mundane in comparison to those built around the mind-bending Portal Gun. (If you haven’t played Portal, play Portal.) Magnetic apes Valve’s puzzle game without apology, to the point of starring a mute female protagonist who’s immune to fall damage. Worse, it’s without a novel idea to make it stand out as more than a shadow of a great game
That doesn’t mean its puzzles aren’t tough at times, because some of them definitely had me stumped and scratching my head for a few minutes. Especially the puzzles that involve using the Magnet Gun to repulse yourself into the air to hover your way over spikes, or pull yourself toward a distant metal object with a magnet-powered super-jump over a poison-gas floor – those can be tricky business. Jumping puzzles aside, its challenge is all very much about moving boxes onto buttons, so it’s unlikely to blow your mind at any point in its series of drab-looking industrial test chambers. The look of the levels does briefly change in the second act, when the story takes the same exact twist as (guess who!) Portal, but it remains nothing special to see.
The Magnet Gun is a neat-looking tool, apparently cobbled together from spare parts (including a power supply that looks like it’s been ripped out of an old PC). It’s fairly simple to use and understand: there’s a push setting and a pull setting, and eventually three different power levels – which is odd, because I never found a reason to use anything less than the most potent power setting available. Maybe low power is useful for precise control in the time trials, or for pulling just one box toward yourself instead of all of them at once, but launching myself or objects at maximum velocity definitely got the job done through all of Magnetic’s levels. The biggest frustration I had was the magnetic pull sometimes not working through certain obstacles, such as glass or bars, when it seemed like it should.
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