I loved the first Magnetic Joe that I got when it was free. After a while gameplay felt a bit repetitive and shallow though. When the sequel arrived at the App Store I felt hesitant to pick it up. Now I am glad I did as the developer has managed to evolve the gameplay while at the same time keeping it brilliantly simple.
As Joe you have to navigate through a level to reach the exit as quickly as possible. To do so you only have your ability to become magnetised. When in proximity to metal Joe is drawn in the direction the magnetic power indicates. Arrows on the metal pieces show it clearly. The only means of control is to touch the screen to magnetise our hero, simple and perfect for the iPhone. On some occasions Joe might end up with no or slow possibility to become magnetised, thankfully it is just to press the restart button to quickly try again. The gameplay is about timing to get Joe in the right direction or to avoid a hazard without dying. It takes very little thought to progress, patience is more important than puzzle solving skills. At times this makes it feel a bit shallow, and when frustration sets in the question is if you will come back to play it later. In the case of the original Magnetic Joe I never finished it after I quit out of frustration.
In Magnetic Joe 2 the gameplay has evolved by including levels where you have to pick up small Joes, and levels with enemies to avoid. All in all Magnetic Joe 2 features a massive 100 levels. Completing a level gives you a star, completing it in a record time beating the developer time gives you two stars. Often I find myself replaying levels just to beat the developer time, which makes me feel like a truly great gamer. Stars can be used to unlock other versions of Joe to play with, for example a Bad Joe who breaks down walls easier. Gamelife is further lengthened by the inclusion of online high score leaderboards.
I must mention the customer service found within the game. You can play in portrait or landscape mode. Vibration, music and sound effects have separate controls. Details that don’t really enhance the gameplay but still play a major role in making you want to come back to it.
The music is ok in short bursts; I tend to turn it off when playing for a longer period. The sound effects are good, but they too tend to become annoying after a while. This is not a problem Magnetic Joe 2 is alone in having. It is simply the fact that replaying a level multiple times will force you to hear the same sounds over and over again.
Presentation and graphics feel a bit average. It is supposed to be retro but somehow it feels too hazy and fuzzy. To me it is lacking a wow-factor. The game is certainly playable, and the levels are varied in design and look.
In conclusion Magnetic Joe 2 features easy to get into gameplay and controls well with just the touch of a finger. It has a massive amount of levels to dig into if you are a patient gamer. If you are looking for an action puzzler focusing on timing Magnetic Joe 2 might be the game for you. To me it is already nearing the point where frustration is greater than the satisfaction, that is after 10 hours of playtime though giving good value at 2 bucks.