Local multiplayer is a dying art in video games. The days of gathering all your friends at one house, around one TV, are slowly fading. But there are still beacons of hope out there. A new hopeful, Magnet Knights, looks to join the ranks of that last bastion. With 4-player local multiplayer, it fits nicely into a niche that is becoming void. Cartoon-style graphics, great 2D animation and easy to learn mechanics make for an enjoyable experience. Bring a few friends though, because playing solo is a wasted effort.
Mostly every gamer, I would argue, has fond memories of cramming in front of the TV with friends or family to play some Goldeneye 64 or Mario Kart. That extra competitive feeling you get playing against people sitting right beside you; the escalated trash talk, the tension, and the glory of bragging rights. Those hungry for that sensation have a new way to sate that desire with Magnet Knights, a fast-paced local multiplayer brawler. The game is smooth, easy to learn, but unfortunately short on variety. The same map and the same game types can bog down the experience a bit, even with the intensity of local competition. However, fret not, as Coconut Games Inc. has said there will be free DLC with maps and modes. It's a great thing to hear, because even with the bare bones it has now, this game has a lot of charm.
"One of the best things about Magnet Knights is how simple it is for how hectic it can feel."
One of the best things about Magnet Knights is how simple it is for how hectic it can feel. The only single player option it gives, the Training Mode, gets you acquainted with the mechanics. As the name implies, magnetic activity plays a large role. You have access to a sword, arrows, a bubble-style shield, and a big ol' hammer. Around the map you'll find areas on which you can magnetise yourself, upside down, sideways, and every which way. The standard game mode tasks you with carrying a magnetic orb to the end of the level, while you fend off enemies and friends. Striking the carrier will disable them, making them drop the orb. The easy one-hit stun system in play makes for some chaotic moments, with people floating around from magnet to magnet wildly swinging and firing arrows. It's a sight to behold, and good for some laughs.
Once you fire up Magnet Knights' true purpose, multiplayer, the real fun begins. You can opt to play the standard transport-style game mode, or try your hands at the much more appropriate battle royale type mode. Here, it is pure war. One-hit kills and little room to hide make this mode the star of the show in my opinion. It really reaches back to the old days of local multiplayer, where the stakes are high and the action is non-stop. You'll soon find that aimlessly swinging and shooting won't do much. Patience and proper use of the magnetic strips on the map can really make a difference. The strategist among your friends will, usually, trump the anarchist. But the beauty of this style of game is anything can happen, at anytime, and Magnet Knights captures that. I will say, however, that it can feel stale with two or less players.
There really isn't much density to Magnet Knights, and honestly that doesn't hurt it. Local competitive multiplayer games should be simple, mechanically sound, and easy to play. Let the players dictate how difficult it will be to earn success. With that said, Magnet Knights is not perfect. At times, the platforming feels pretty clunky, the combat may begin to seem boring and monotonous, and there is basically zero content for a solo player. But this game does shine when it's played the way it's supposed to be; with friends. It's a solid addition for anyone looking for a party game to compliment something like Towerfall Ascension. With more content hopefully on the way, it is shaping up to be a fun, balanced, simple solution to your local multiplayer needs.
"You can have a good time going 1v1, but it doesn't feel as intense. With Magnet Knights, you really have to go all in to get the most bang for your buck."
It's hard to truly get the most out of this game without experiencing 4-player mayhem. That, admittedly, is a slight setback as not everyone has that ability. But it's so simple and fun that anyone can pick it up and play. You can have a good time going 1v1, but it doesn't feel as intense. With Magnet Knights, you really have to go all in to get the most bang for your buck. If you have the means, it's a great time, but otherwise it's probably not for you. If you've got a group that loves to game together, this one can bring some competitive edge to your next get together. You can even customise game options to make for some wacky matches. It won't floor you, but it will keep the party going, and that's all you can ask from a game like this.