Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint has a slightly odd name. Most people simply refer to it as simply 'Magnetic Billiards', and so will we for the rest of this review. So what's the 'Blueprint' bit all about?
According to the blurb, the "electric billiards" blueprints were designed by a Victorian inventor who met his unfortunate demise before he could realise his vision.
Those blueprints - goes the story - were finally uncovered a few years ago by the game's co-developers John and Ste Pickford, making this game's development cycle well over 100 years. It puts Duke Nukem Forever in perspective.
Fortunately, Zee-3's inventive sports-puzzler manages the admittedly undemanding feat of being far, far better than Duke.Dressed to impress
If this review were limited to just one word, it would be “charm”. Magnetic Billiards is packed with character. The development duo at Zee-3 have literally put themselves into the game.
Make good progress and they’ll pop up with a wink and a thumbs up. Do particularly well and you’ll be rewarded with someone cheering “marvellous!”
The choice of sound effects (is that a doorbell?) is inexplicable but wonderful, and the graphics - which are themed in the style of blueprints - are another nod to the game's purported Victorian heritage.
And then, of course, there’s that small matter of gameplay. The very fundamentals of billiards? Straight out the window.No-pocket gamer
For starters, you’ll quickly notice that the billiards table doesn’t have any pockets.
Under other circumstances, this would make for some uncomfortably infinite games, but for Magnetic Billiards it’s a chance to shine.
If you manage to knock together balls of the same colour, they’ll magnetise. Do this to a large enough number of them and they’ll be removed from play. Do this with all colours on the table and you win.
You might assume that the objective is to magnetise all the colours as quickly as possible, but the scoring system has other ideas.Patience is key
The game is divided up into 20 stages, almost all of which are locked when you start playing for the first time. To get further, you’ll need to fill up a key and then drag it over the stage you want to unlock.
So how do you ‘fill up’ the key? Simple: score as many points as you can. Less simple is actually accumulating the points by slinging together mega-shots and chain combos.
Speed past balls without touching them to earn ‘buzz’, bounce off the table’s edges as many times as possible, and magnetise interesting shapes together and you’ll be well rewarded for your efforts.
But rush to the end, or collide balls of opposing colours, and you’ll get nowhere fast.Spectacular-grade
Magnetic Billiards is an excellent game. In fact, it's almost perfect. Almost.
Although the game was originally free, developer Zee-3 has since slapped a 69p price tag on it. Fine - a lot of people don't like the freemium model anyway.
But there are still in-app purchases on top of this, not only for obtaining keys to unlock levels but also for entire game types.
That’s not entirely shocking in this freemium age, but some will no doubt resent the lack of variety in the basic 69p download.
Even so, what's available should certainly keep you sated for hours. Magnetic Billiards is a fresh take on an ages-old game, and it works wonderfully.