When technology meets Cthulhu! Magrunner: Dark Pulse is an action-puzzle game in which technology confronts the Cthulhu Mythos, as imagined by author, H. P. Lovecraft. You are Dax, one of seven Magrunners selected among the elite to participate in MagTech Corporation's space training program.
User reviews:
Overall:
Very Positive (230 reviews) - 85% of the 230 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Jun 20, 2013

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Reviews

“Magrunner: Dark Pulse may be the first game in history to blend a near-future cyberpunk setting with the famed Cthulhu Mythos”
Gamezebo

“Magrunner looks to be a highly polished, mechanically successful first person puzzler with a great aesthetic and great puzzles.”
PCG Media

“MAGRUNNER IS REALLY DARN COOL!”
DESTRUCTOID

About This Game

When technology meets Cthulhu!

Magrunner: Dark Pulse is an action-puzzle game in which technology confronts the Cthulhu Mythos, as imagined by author, H. P. Lovecraft.

You are Dax, one of seven Magrunners selected among the elite to participate in MagTech Corporation's space training program. But, what should be the chance of a lifetime quickly becomes a horrific nightmare.

Equipped with your Magtech glove, you must harness the ability to magnetically polarize and manipulate objects in the environment to survive and surpass challenging puzzles. Your reflexes and ingenuity will be pushed to their limits as you make your way through 40+ immense and dangerous levels, including high-tech training rooms and the endless chasms of the lost cosmos, on a path to confront the horrendous creatures of Cthulhu!

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS:WINDOWS XP SP3/WINDOWS VISTA SP2/WINDOWS 7/WINDOWS 8
    • Processor:AMD/INTEL DUAL-CORE 2.4 GHZ
    • Memory:2048 MB RAM
    • Graphics:256 MB 100% DIRECTX 9 AND SHADERS 3.0 COMPATIBLE NVIDIA GEFORCE 8800/ATI RADEON HD 4800
    • DirectX®:9.0c
    • Hard Drive:4 GB HD space
    • Sound:DIRECTX 9 COMPATIBLE
Customer reviews
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Overall:
Very Positive (230 reviews)
Recently Posted
Scrubsauce
9.0 hrs
Posted: August 6
As far as fictional trope genres go, horror is a close number two to my love for scifi (sorry fantasy). Anything from slasher to paranormal usually gets me excited and interested, and one genre of horror I've always been in general orbit around is Lovecraftian. Due to a lack of bandwidth or maybe just poor choices on my own part, I've only dabbled in this area of horror, but have a pretty good idea of how some of the more popular concepts and characters work (spawning all KINDS of shoggoths in Super Scribblenauts back on the Nintendo DS!).
Magrunner: Dark Pulse starts out as the gleaming, pretty, Mirror's Edge style universe, with nods to Tesla and Facebook all over the place, that after the first hour or so quickly devolves into this grimy, rusted, supernatural, Lovecraftian romp. I almost kind of wish they hadn't peeled away the fancy futurist style so quickly, because aside from the early and late chapters, you're left with this rust tinted, more decayed set of maps. The futurist stuff was probably the prettiest part graphically, and using it so minimally just didn't do the assets justice. The level designers could have taken some more nods from the Portal series and slowly peeled back those layers (remember how crazy those last few levels of Portal were?). The final levels are just crazy and wild and nonsensical, and will tickle anyone's Cthulu curiosity if only briefly.
Speaking of Portal, as a first person puzzle game with different rooms/puzzles/chambers/situations for each level, there will always be a lot of comparisons to what many will argue is the best benchmark for this type of genre. Mechanically speaking, the idea of using attracting and repelling magnetic fields on props in the map sounds like a simple binary solution mechanic you find in the Portal series (blue and orange portals vs red and blue magnetic fields), but Magrunner's difficulty curve turns it up to 11 as the narrative proceeds, so if you're looking for a challenge: Have. At. It. Magrunner actually implements the one thing I always craved in a Portal game though, in that there are levels where you have to outwit enemy AI and cause their untimely demise using your magnetic glove and props on the map. This is a lot different from the stationary turrets of Portal-land, and can be a lot more intense when the oogie-boogie is trying to grab you relentlessly if you miss that jump.
The story has a basic setup for why the protagonist is doing what he's doing, and dives into the "what the heck even?" of being thrown into the mix with a Cthulu-death-cult that comes as the standard reaction for anyone who hasn't been exposed to this sort of stuff. There's nothing outstanding about the narrative, the cut scenes in between acts are told via animated paintings and get the jist of the basic plot across in small bite-sized pieces, while virtual interactions with NPC's do the rest of the heavy lifting in that regard. The universe itself has some interesting pieces that never quite get explained, like why magnets to do what the Zuckerberg anagrammed benefactor aims to do? Or what's the deal with mutants in this society? What happened to the other testing candidates? And what even happened to put Earth into the state its in (to avoid spoilers) after the last level for the epilogues final cut scene? Maybe if I was more up and up on Cthulu stuff the ending would make more sense, but I've become used to accepting the wtf endings that horror narratives provide so I'll leave it.
If you're big on Lovecraftian themes, or are looking for a challenging first person puzzle game with a unique and challenging set of puzzle mechanics, be sure to give this a look when its on sale. If you're only here for the story you'd be better served looking elsewhere. As it stands, I can't hold any of the games flaws against it TOO hard, since it does most of what its trying to do competently, and it has a really weird mix of genres in a single place I wasn't expecting to find in the first place.
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Atlaimond
17.7 hrs
Posted: July 29
Short preview:
  • (+) Short puzzles. Easy to redo if you missed something. ✅
  • (+) Enough frequent checkpoints. ✅
  • (+) Good story and the main characters did a good voice acting. ✅
  • (+) No fall damage so, you can concentrate to slove the puzzle. ✅

  • (-) Chance to get headache ✗
    • (I had got three times.)
  • (-) Not exactly good fight actions. ✗
    • (It it matters to you, read below.)
  • (-) You may find the puzzles are too easy if you are smarter then ordinary players. For example me. ✗

Crashes / Bugs / Glitches:
Only one time it frozen, in seventeen hours gameplay, when I replayed it. It seems it doesn't like to load too much maps without restart the game.

My personal opinion:
Although, I had liked only two puzzle games in my life, the 'Soul Reaver' 1 and 2, but, something caught me in this game. I guess it's a puzzle game for ordinary players. I worried about the puzzles because I'm not too smart player. But, I could beat most puzzles. Only three times I cheated and watch a YouTube walkthrough video to see what is the solution.
I found it I like to play lazily, release the mouse and keyboard and just watch the screen and thinking. It was a nice and good experience for me that how nice could be a FPS puzzle game.
After I finished the game, I started again for I can concentrate only the story. It was also good to play it again, although I had already remembered the most puzzles.
The story's atmosphere was a bit weird for me because of the puzzle part of the game. But, I didn't find it would have been bad. So, then it's good weird!

Recommendation:
I recommend this game to those who;
  • Not hate the FPS puzzle games and want to try one.
  • Want to try a FPS puzzle game but, don't feel yourself enough smart or clever for it.
  • I guess I may recommend to those who like the puzzle games. I'm just not sure that a talented puzzle gamer would enjoy it or find it's boring easy. I don't know.
  • Like to play with magnetic!

Achievement hunting:
All achievements unlocked well! Without any delay.
The hardest achievement is the;

Chosen of Cthulhu
Pass Act III without dying

It's easy to fall into the endless deep, which means die, or be killed by mystical creatures. But, if you know the trick, you could make it a bit easier.
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countryshack
21.1 hrs
Posted: July 27
OH, I hated to give this game a thumbs down. The first part if fantastic!

Let me explain. The first part of the game is a Puzzle Game and the second part is an arcade game.
For those of you that don't know the difference, I'll explain.
A Puzzle game (PUZZLE) gives you a situation that is placed in front of you to solve. You have all of the information that you need up front and you can take your time to intellectualy solve the puzzle.
A simple example are the kinds of puzzles on MillerWorldInc.
An Arcade game on the other hand is a puzzle of sort BUT it doesn't give you all of the information up front. They were designed to make people keep putting quarters into a video game machine to "Keep Trying Things Over and Over" in order to figure out what the Software Designer wanted you to do.
Does the Mario Brothers ring a bell?

And OVER and OVER is the key word here.
The second part of what could have been a fantastic game is reduced to the repetitive Trial and Error crap that was designed into the arcade machines of the past who's main function was to keep you putting quarters into the machine to learn just a little more each time before you were killed by whatever.
And this is where Magrunner falls Very Short for puzzle solving people.
Like I said, in the beginning you are presented with puzzles for your mind to solve.
By the end it unfortunately just turns into an adolescent arcade game.

BUT>>>For the few bucks that they are asking, I would still advise PUZZLE PEOPLE to buy the game and just play it until it turns into an arcade game because I think you will still enjoy the beginning which will bring you hours of entertainment.

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Flashmaster185
0.8 hrs
Posted: July 5
Great idea, but the gameplay is very slow, so I dont like it.

6/10
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gato.quimico
8.9 hrs
Posted: June 24
Recomend. I started playing this game with GT610 and had to use lowest settings, but now I have GTX750Ti and decided to play it again. Graphics is great, especially on space levels. I am noob in gaming, but I really liked it (the graphics). Puzzles are hard sometimes, which I also liked. It's a bit scarry, as some levels have living things that can kill you.
Overall, this was the second game after Portal that I really liked. Higly recommend, especially on the Summer sale!
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James Hun~
13.8 hrs
Posted: June 18
Re-do Review:

I'm going to state my opinion of Magrunner's Gameplay, Story, and other miscellaneous bits that I feel are worth mentioning.

Story:
The story show promise for the first few hours. An introduction with beautiful art illustrates our main characters, and also delivers a bit of back-story on what today's hottest events are about. The first area the story fails to grab with is by not giving enough character to the characters. They show emotions, and say words, but it doesn't feel like what anyone says is important to more than moving the story forward. To put it loosely: it's not enjoyable to hear.

(SPOILERS FROM HERE ON TO THE END)
Cthulhu enters scene, and he proceeds to step on a stone and fall on his face. Honestly, why couldn't the developer/publisher just have left Cthulhu out of it until we found it out in the story.
Promotional screenshots, trailers, literally the first sentence of the store description informs the buyer/player that the Cthulu Mythos is revelent to this game. WHY? It makes the actual reveal lackluster.

However, for a positive on the story, when we do start to leave the facility, and hints of Cthulu, and the unknown are present; the setting is truly un-nerving because it's that contrast of hell and high-class facility that keeps you on edge for a while.

I also found the third act having been devoid of dialogue a bit sad. Though the mad scientist was fun to see! Crazy buggard.

Gameplay:
The gameplay is something I would call rough. The ideas are all there. The puzzle have a lot of thought put into them, and the challenge is pretty high, and unlike some I liked the wide/big enviroments, because the art/designs of many of the rooms were pretty rad.

The mechanics are cool for the first half of the game. They involve using a reverse magnetism with like polarities attracting, and opposites going away from one another
(They most likely did this so if you wanted to connect more than two objects there wouldn't be any conflicting issues with two objects being the same, and one being opposite, and everything flies everywhere)

There's a lot of pieces that are involved in solving the puzzles, like: platforms, pendulems, boxes, smaller boxes, and what I'd consider the worst addition to puzzle solving: the entrance of Dex's dog Newton. All puzzles until the introduction of this dog had you using boxes and platforms in your environment. And also by changing their polarities and locations to then reach an end. This dog however changes everything. It lets you place either polarity basically anywhere. It's like if in Portal you could place a white-portal-placing-wall anywhere for solving puzzles. It would be a nightmare.

Speaking of nightmares, I don't remember the name of the level now, but I skipped the entire level by falling off an edge and onto the environment. I did so out of pure frustration for the amount of "things" present for the puzzle. similarly the rock design of space created a lot of situations where I could be stuck, or just shimmy around the environment, like it felt as if I shouldn't be allowed to go to those areas.

Last bits on gameplay: The puzzle difficulty really ramps up around the middle, and some of the latter puzzles are downright evil in design, and left me wondering if the developer just thought we'd know that we should carry boxes on the under-belly of platforms that are transfered from another platform.

Graphics:

I really do love the graphics on this one. Just because it's unreal from 2013 doesn't mean it doesn't look good. I'd love more non-sense effects like depth of field (present for a short while after entering a room) motion blur, better anti-aliasing, and bloom (please don't shoot me if these are actually present) As it doesn't seem to have that 110% C I N E M A T I C presentation of a 2016 game, because it isn't one.

But, act 1's clean facilities are a beaut to see, and the design put on show would be breathe-taking to actually see in person. the second act feels a bit to old and rustic without much change over 3 hours, but that was probably the intention. And, by act 3 we hit full space-on-Cthulhu action, and some of the locals in this act are pretty dang-on fine.

The animations are a mix of great, and iffy: The human's movements are great, and add what little character the characters need into place, but the animation on The Old Ones doesn't feel weighty enough. It kinda looks like someone did a mo-cap for it, and didn't edit it afterwards.

The models look great. From Gamaji's multiple appendages flying about, to Xander's blood soaked face in the third act; All the models are of high quality, and look like actual people.

textures could be better.

Other Thoughts:

-Cthulhu is hinted far to early, and too obvious, as the transmission in the subtitles clearly shows the first and second part of the name cthulhu with the sentence shown.

-Second also is that we see Xander once or twice, and the reveal of him being mad doesn't have enough punch because of it. Maybe a bit more interaction with the main character, would've benefited the development.

-More tips. Maybe it's because I was on an SSD, but I only saw 2-3 tips that were barely relevent to solving puzzles. mostly just on the basic controls. So, more text-boxes or explanations on the physics of the game would've made the second and third act ride on smoother.

-Sometimes the physics work, and sometimes they don't. A lot of it relies on calculations, and numbers that we as players literally cannot see in the code. It's infuriating for a platform to fall down, down, down because it was a hair away from connecting WITH THAT DAMN DOG.

Final note:
An interesting gameplay mechanic, thrown in with Cthulhu, but ultimately both pieces are on the rough side. So, I give it an average 5/10
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👌TeenJackBauer👌
6.1 hrs
Posted: May 27
7.5/10 TJBs
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⅕ one5th
8.2 hrs
Posted: March 19
Eh. It's fine.
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GarrickWinter
9.2 hrs
Posted: March 13
So it's magnetic puzzles with Cthulhu, basically. Normally you'd expect magnetic fields to attract fields of opposite polarity, but not here - here opposites repel, it seems. I guess that when we're talking about alien horrors that drive you insane, this is what we mean now.

All things said and done, though, this is a competently executed puzzle game. I'm not great at puzzle games and I got stuck a few times, and some of the puzzles rely less on planning and more on timing than I'd like, but overall I found the difficulty fitting for a casual puzzle player. The story is fine overall, though some of the voice acting is a bit wooden, and the ending is actually kind of interesting, though it also features some fashionable criticism of social media that feels unnecessary and disconnected from the rest of the game. Cthulhu likes to sit on the edge of certain maps and growl his name at you over and over again, which is cool the first time but quickly gets kinda weird. Seriously, Cthulhu, we get it. Calm down.

Overall, a decent game though not really outstanding by any measure. Give it a shot if you like first-person puzzle games!
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Mr [Gh0st]
14.5 hrs
Posted: February 26
★★☆☆☆

Imagine a mix between Portal and the Xen chapter of Half Life,
then you have the last Act of this game.
The game is worth it just for that, but the rest is quite mediocre and not very exciting...
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
118 of 174 people (68%) found this review helpful
122 people found this review funny
Recommended
5.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 11, 2014
This is just a normal p̢͝u͘z̡͟z͏l͘͠ę game.

Nothing to see͝ ̵h͡er̷e

p̣̹̗̺͙̔͒̀l̻ͩ̏͐e̬͓̦̩̠̚͞aͦ̕ ḩ̖͕̪̘͔ͧ͒͑ͪͮ͛ͯͅe̤͍̲̫̳̰̘͓͙ͯ̿ͧ̃̿͗͐͛l͙̟͈̯̭̳̖̦ͮ͋̊̀͠pͧ̒͠͏̸̲͎̝̣̹̳͖





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67 of 93 people (72%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
12.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 23, 2014
I honestly enjoyed most of this game, which is why giving it a negative review bites. The problem is, the back chunk of the game is atrocious. You're suddenly going from what I referred to a couple of friends as "Hard-Mode Portal" (same 'solve the puzzle room' gameplay, with two-button controls, even if it's opposing magnetic polarities rather than holes in time/space) into a terrible action title.

I was going to recommend this with a caveat of "By the end, some puzzles become irritating due to the checkpoint system, where you may have to restart chunks of stage if you mistime a polarity swap or make a slight field mistake on some items", but no, when you suddenly have to begin juggling explosives to kill massive sahaguin and all sorts of tentacled beasties* whereas you were previously free to take time and puzzle things out? Ick. The final stages are the worst: one involves distracting and repeatedly-bombing a behemoth to reach an entrance within sight, and then the finale is an irritation because it combines waiting for enemy patterns with dodging instadeath and making precarious platforming leaps.

If you wanted an unpolished puzzle game, the first half or so is solid with little to no hand-holding (so it's got some brain-teasers for some of us). The latter bits, though? No. Nope no good no siree.

* I only mention this because while I was blind to the latter half of the game going all Cthulhu, I'm told the marketing heavily sold it as such? Either way, multiple people assured me it wasn't the spoiler I assumed.
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37 of 46 people (80%) found this review helpful
Recommended
7.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 31, 2013
Magrunner is too long for its own good. But it's a good game that deserved more recognition because it's in many ways similar to Portal and Q.U.B.E.
But instead of using portals or cubes you'll be solving puzzles using your Magtech glove, a glove that allows you to magnetize stuff. The puzzles are creative and challenging (most of the times) but there are just too many of them. About 6-7 hours in I got bored. Some of the puzzles just take too long to solve, which, as a result, made me lose interest.
Before that happened I actually had a great time with it. If you love FP puzzle games I'm pretty certain you'll love this one, too. It has nice visuals, good gameplay mechanics and a fun story. What's not to love?

[Rating: 77/100]
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23 of 26 people (88%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
10.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 13, 2014
Magrunner: Dark Pulse has been called Portal with magnets meets Cthulu. It is an apt description, but not quite fair. It is portal only insofar as it is a FPS puzzle game, the feel is reminiscent of Portal, but it has it's own unique charm. A little more work on monster animations would have gone a long way, and the final "boss" is ridiculously difficult until you have the "AHAH!" moment, then the whole area can be completed in under 5 minutes because it isn't immediately evident what you need to do. The game is great fun, and quite original if you can push Portal out of your mind. Some of the puzzles are brilliantly put together. If you like Portal, buy it. If you like Cthulu, buy it. All I can say is:

Ia Ia Cthulu Fhtagn!
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18 of 18 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
14.6 hrs on record
Posted: July 8, 2015
Magrunner: Dark Pulse is a really good first person puzzle game where you have the power to magnetize objects such as platforms and cubes to assist in getting from point A to point B. The magnetic aspect works reasonably well most of the time, but there are several instances where it is easy to get frustrated. During some of the later levels, the game starts to throw monsters at you in which you either have to kill or evade. The puzzle difficulty seemed to ramp up pretty well. Some of the final puzzles were indeed very tricky including many platforms with rotational paths that made them feel roller coaster like.

Calling the story weird is an understatement. I think it comes close to the lines of Zeno Clash weirdness. But it comes off as very entertaining and keeps the suspense going throughout. The unfortunate aspect is that the story does not bring closure to a lot of things and the ending is basically up to the player to interpret.

There are many elevator sequences that seemed a bit excessive basically moving you from one level to the next. That seemed to be the primary method they chose to inject a lot of the narrative. The atmosphere during the final chapter is pretty amazing including Cthulhu himself.

If you are a fan of the first person puzzle genre, Magrunner: Dark Pulse is definitely a title worth picking up.
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44 of 67 people (66%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
7.1 hrs on record
Posted: May 26, 2014
Ok so yes i will admit why i bought this game first,i am a huge H.P.Lovecroft fan and allways have been (read all the stories he has written and found that i enjoy his works but THE SHADOW OVER INNSMOUTH and THE CALL OF CTHULUH and probablly me favorites) and thats what first intrigued me about this game.
MAGRUNNER is very similar in play style to PORTAL,whereas in portal you have the "APERTURE HAND HELD PORTAL DEVICE" (god thats a mouth full) in MAGRUNNER you have the MAG GLOVE which fires 2 coloured charges.1 is green and one is red (push and pull mechanics come into play here-1 attracts and 1 repels) and it plays in much the same way as the "APERTURE...........oh lets call it the portal gun (its easier and doesnt take as long to wright) does in both of the PORTAL games.The graphics in MAGRUNNER are good and the music and overall feeling of dread that something may be coming for you at any point is quite intense at some points during the game.The story is told with gusto and never lets up (i havent finished yet but i am enjoying the story so far and i love the LOVECROFTIAN-(is that even a word DUH)-overtones in trhe story),as what starts out ot be a sci fi story about energy comsumption and finding new power sources soon turns into a horror induced nightmare and you find out why you and the other MAGRUNNERS are there and your purpass in the greater story is revealed.The main character is called DAX WARD and this sounds a lot like a character Lovecroft created himself CHARLES DEXTER WARD (any relation to this character is not know at this point as i havent finished the game just yet),DAX will no doubt before the end of the game encounter more similarities i dont doubt and will come across more of the horrors that Lovecroft created on the way.
I like this game and it is good to see a developer investing in a Lovcraft based game as there is not a lot (if any) out there (or film,tv series or any other medium for that matter),i would also reccomend that if you want to play anything inspired by Lovecrofts work also search out the game CALL OF CTHULUH : DARK CORNERS OF THE EARTH (also available on steam) as that is one of the best survival horror first person games i have ever played (finished it on the X BOX and going to play through on steam as soon as time permits).
So in closing if you loved PORTAL you will more than likely enjoy this and if you didnt steer clear and probably try DARK CORNERS OF THE EARTH instead as that game really does grab you by the throat and doesnt let go.
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16 of 20 people (80%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
10.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 18, 2014
Do i recommand this game? Maybe!
It took me 10 hours to finish the game, a third of that is playing, another third is thinking, and the last third is dying.
This game is a « portal » copycat, with magnetism as game engine, but the physics are often imprecise.
It remembers me another game, bad rats, when you think the solution correctly, you build the solution correctly, but it may fail just because of some pixels offset, or even worse, won't do the same result between two identical simulation!
A puzzle game can be hard and challenging, it's not the problem, but it shall not be « hard » to build the solution, it's just annoying and not enjoyable.
I give three situations you will encounter in the game:
- Sometimes you need many tries ( deaths ) just because the timing of platforms or cubes ( how hard is it to detect the peak altitude of a cube when you are riding it and then perform the correct imprecise jump!).
- Often (very often), and despite of the zoom feature, you will send your « newton » (a castable magnetic point) instead of setting the magnetism of a device, because we are talking about pixel aiming here...
- Sometimes, with the exact same configuration between two tries and when 3 or more magnetic points are involved, the result will differ, making you think your solution was bad at first. It's even worse when it happens on « catapults » because the cubes are snapped to the same precise position, so it's not even a targetting problem.

When i play a puzzle game, i don't wan't to be blocked because a piece don't fit well, i don't call that a hard puzzle but a glitched puzzle.

Anyway, the physics are also almost realist, it means when you expect to « capture » a charged object by using another object in vinicity, it will or not work depending of the momentum and the distance of the moving object, wich means some situations are complex but previsible, and added to the pre-existing points, you will be able and will need to place your own point (one at time) on almost any surface . In term of complexity, it worth the speed and direction conservation you have to master in portal when you use big falls to make big or long jumps ^^ This was the feature that made me go on to see what challenging puzzle was waiting for me in the next level, despite of the « glitches » i mentioned before.

The graphims are okay, and clear enough to focus on activable objects.

The story is a joke and the Cthulhu background is just a pretext to glue the puzzles together, don't expect epic fights ( there are only 2 kind of monsters, and they basically just walk towards you and you die on contact... the screenshoot are kind of lying btw. i suspect in early versions they just planned to use a countdown to add some stress) or deep story, everything is incoherent and not fun ( opposite to portal story), and the cutscenes are unskippable! ( remember i said you will die often not because you are not clever, but because of the unfair difficulty to build the solution, expect to see the same cutscenes often ). You will feel alone till the end.

There is a decent chance you won't finish the game because you won't enjoy it till the end, or even because it's too hard.
You may enjoy it if you don't mind loosing half of your play time because of the game and not because of you, the other half will show you how clever you are.

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17 of 22 people (77%) found this review helpful
Recommended
11.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 4, 2014
Overall Rating: 6.5 out of 10

What happens when you put together Portal, Cthulhu Mythos and magnets? this is what you get. In fact, that's precisely what you pay for, and that doesn't disappoint in that regard.

Magrunner: Dark Pulse is an interesting first person puzzle platformer. If you've played Portal or Quantum Conundrum, this is the style of gameplay but instead of portals or changing the dimension the room is in, you harness the power of magnetism. The gameplay is centered around using a Mag Glove to manipulate platforms, cubes and stationary objects to finish a level. This allows a level of thinking similar to other puzzle platformers, but the method was not explored until now.

How Does it Play?

The game is a real mind bender and has the player execute platforming skills while solving the puzzle on the fly. Not only are you switching the magnetism of something(attract/repel) but you're usually jumping along something at the same time. It usually works. However, the limits of the physics that the Unreal Engine has means now and then there will be moments where the physics will go hay wire and make you redo part of a puzzle again or kill you if you're dealing with explosive cubes or pit falls. Each puzzle takes about the time of what you would expect, about the same as a Portal puzzle room if you try it the first time. The difficulty curve is gradual and does not erratically change back and forth when progressing.

One feature of the game you recieve mid way through the game is Newton, a robotic dog you can attach to most surfaces that has his own magnetic pull(or repel depending on how you want to use him), I found this an interesting way to make the puzzles more interesting, changing the entire thought process on beating a level. However, I found Newton to be really hit or miss. Sometimes his magnetic pull and radius of it to be too small in some instances, when you have to guide along a cube on wall to get it to the other side of a pit, sometimes the angle on which you're looking to move Newton will mean the cube is just barely out of reach of the "New" Newton, and you have to redo that part of the puzzle again(as in the cube respawns at a set point, not restarting from a checkpoint) Another point of dismay with Newt is you might end up spawning him when you don't want to, which can destroy progress on certain puzzles, which can be frustrating.

The Mag Glove itself, I must add, is responsive and easy to use, especially with the zoom feature that makes sure you're hitting the right thing when you're in larger areas, you can even hold down one of the mouse buttons to have it paint a laser over where you want to shoot, making sure you're always landing your charge changing shot where you want it.

Despite Newton helping you along and the precision and reliability of your Mag Glove, the physics do not feel right in this game. While puzzles work as intended, it feels like the pulling strength is weaker than the repelling strength, which can throw off a players timing and how they are going about solving a puzzle. It also sometimes flat out doesn't work, sometimes you must ride a cube up a shaft or sling accross a chasm on one, and sometimes it just fails with no fault on the players end. Why this has yet to be fixed, I have no idea. Explosive cubes also sometimes blow up in the players hand for no reason, especially on the final boss fight.

Speaking of, (spoiler free!) the final boss/puzzle is, interesting. It's not bad, but because of a flaw with saving, it can become impossible. Explosive cubes are thrown at you if you're not fast enough stunning the one who's throwing them at you, and right when you die, you can pass through a save "gate" on the platform(s). If this happens, the level must be restarted. This segment of the final area feels tacked on as if they forgot they needed to make a final boss. The save system in general is wonky, you cannot save manual, and it only saves once you reach certain parts of the map, but since the levels do not progress in a set pattern or line, you may find yourself activating a save gate when you didn't want to, meaning, when you do more of the puzzle and die, you go back further than normal, as the gate does not activate again with the exception of a couple levels.

All in all, it is perfectly playable, but rough around the edges. If you're a fan of puzzles and platformers, and of course, Portal, then the game is for you. Now, onto the other bits of what the game offers.

How's the Story?

Bluntly, not good. It feels extremely cobbled together, as if the only thought of the entire development was "Portal x Cthulhu!" While an interesting premise, the execution falls flat on its face. None of the characters are likable, the dialogue feels wooden and unconvincing (especially form the antagonist) most if not all character interactions are done from holochat, basically the characters are projected above your mag glove, which is cool, and talk to you, nice idea but it doesn't help much with the story, especially when you die and have to listen and look at them over and over again.

The concept of a utopian, globally linked world with Cthulhu Mythos is interesting all the way through, but usually only through the imagery you actually see as you play through the game, later levels have a giant vision/hallucination of cthulhu, in a dark backround while you solve puzzles, it looks utterly incredible and scary. But it does not help the plot, the plot feels extremely shallow and cobbled together, as stated before. I can't emphasis that enough, the game really feels disjointed because of the story.

How Does it Look?

Great! The game runs on Unreal Engine 3, while aged, still manages to look great with this game, the texture work is fantastic. The latter levels that take place in space are awe inspiring, the nebulae, galaxies and planets swirl around you, the petrified/statues of hidious eldritch nightmares(and the living ones, too!) have real texture and a sense of slime to them. I admit however, the character models aren't that great, they seem modeled well with a good poly count, but they aren't animated very well, including all the people who holo chat with you and the Deep One monsters you encounter(the fish people), are not animated very well and are pretty unconvincing in their movement.

The game is fairly easy to run and should run fine on low end computers too. However, if you're playing at a high resolution(1080 p or higher) you will experience some incredible screen tearing, whcih can detract from the set pieces and overall look and flow of the game. Interestingly, vsync can be turned on to mitigate this, but you must do so through the config files, as well as AA, ambient occlusion and motion blur. Why these graphic options are not in the menu, I have no idea.

How Does it Sound?

Decent. While not the best audio work i've heard, the music is fitting to the level at hand and the eerie and strange tone of the game, while keeping that futuristic, techy feel. The sound effects are great, the clank of a falling cube, the destruction of a wall, the sound of platforms sliding/being activated, the impact of the player as he lands on the ground.

Sadly, as mentioned before, the voicework is poor. Not only is it poorly acted, it feels very static when played and not mixed well into the overall sound of the game. For example, when you fall, Dax makes a yell/scream, but it's mastered so low you probably won't hear it unless you have headphones.

Good game but flawed, needs work in quite a few areas. You'll get about 10 hours of gameplay your first run, and is enjoyable if just for the first time. However, wait for it to be on sale, $20 USD is a bit too much for this game, $12 feels more fair to the quality, content and length. Take it for what it is, and you'll enjoy it :)
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14 of 17 people (82%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
10.9 hrs on record
Posted: September 20, 2014
I wanted to like this game but it's... absolutely stubborn about making me dislike it. It's fun in theory, but in execution it's just a more physics heavy Portal with less cleverly designed/more tedious puzzles.

First off, the story. Is way too instrusive. In acts 1 and 2 you have elevator segments between a large portion of the levels that takes up a loading screen for essentially a cutscene... that is the same every time, just with a different person talking to you. The plot actually affects the gameplay very little in the first two acts, other than to make things take longer. All characters communicate via a hologram popping up over the magnet gun, but don't actually do anything. Sure, the scenery gradually degrades more and more, but that's about all that happens plotwise that is the slightest bit relevant to gameplay. Well until the third act when monsters start appearing.

Another issue is the tedium in the puzzles; there's a lot of waiting around for things to be in the right place and making mistakes can sometimes set you back quite a bit even if you don't die. On top of that there's a lot of trial and error involved (far far more than Portal) because of the physics engine, which is unfortunately not perfect enough for this kind of game. There's inconsistencies in how objects behave on occasion and it's often hard to predict what will happen until you test it. Some of the puzzle rooms are pretty big as well while also lacking in direction, leading to confusion not even part of the puzzle. The game also doesn't have a large enough variety in obstacles to keep things fresh; at some point things stop evolving (aside from the monster segments) and the puzzles start to get rather repetitious. Maybe digging deeper into a concept explored previously but it's not fresh enough to hold the interest. The game probably could've benefitted from being shorter, especially in the second act; that segment of the game took up probably 60-70% of my initial run playtime on its own.

The monster segments are also entirely out of place; they're alright when you know what to do but until you do they're largely trial and error, often almost expecting you to know what to do if you want to survive at all. There's not a large number of them and they're all confined to the end of the game, but they still really aren't a good fit for the formula. The final boss especially, since it is entirely possible to have the game autosave mere fractions of a second before you die, forcing a level restart. Plus there's a needlessly difficult platform hop involved. I thought we agreed that first person games and intense platforming are a combination that really has to be fine-tuned or excluded period. It's only a single hop done twice but it's a pretty fast moving platform and failure means death, soooo.

The game's on the whole not terrible, it's an interesting concept and there are some good puzzle designs here but there are far more bad puzzles than good and I wouldn't recommend it over its peers.
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11 of 14 people (79%) found this review helpful
Recommended
9.7 hrs on record
Posted: June 22, 2014
If you liked the puzzles in Portal, you'll probably like the puzzles here. I had a fair bit of fun solving them over ~8 hours of gameplay.

Don't buy this expecting the personality that Portal has, though. No real humor. The plot makes no sense at all, and the script is pretty corny. Suprisingly, the voice acting wasn't bad, if melodromatic.

All in all, a pretty good puzzle game. The Cthuluesque theme really didn't come into play until near the end of the game. It felt tacked on for 2/3, and then in the final 1/3, finally actually became a little more relevant as monsters were introduced. They were a reasonably difficult challenge, as you had to be quick in your reactions.
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