Magnus Failure is a logically based isometric exploration and adventure game. The game’s protagonist is a person who, for unclear circumstances, finds himself amid a crowd of strangers and monitors the radio for a signal. When you receive an apparently incomprehensible message, you want to track down the sender. So you’ve embarked on a voyage inside Magnus Failure’s bizarre universe! Solve puzzles by putting the proper pieces together, finding them in the real world, and playing mini-logic games. The environment is filled with systems that allow the player to travel to new places.
Magnus Failure takes you on an intriguing trip through the game’s cryptic world of signs, symbols, and riddles. The environment in which the player is situated is uncertain. He has complete freedom to interpret what has happened in the world and why the hero has been abandoned. The game’s distinct graphic elements add to the overwhelming sense of being in another world. The protagonist is a unique character since he wears a massive helmet with an attached mask straight out of a Japanese kabuki theatre. Other such references and symbols abound in the game, giving it a distinct personality.
Magnus Failure is the first in a series of short point-and-click adventures (about 1 hour). The language selection at the start is similar to the scene demonstrations, with scrolling text and fantastic music, but without the greetz portion. One of the few times we didn’t want the game to shut down after clicking alt+tab was when we wanted to make a good first impression. To add salt to injury, the main menu was already a letdown. A handful of different languages are included in the settings, as well as the end. You can delete your progress and view the credits, but there are no audio controls, let alone separate volume sliders, and no windowed mode. Alt+enter merely creates a non-resizable window; to modify something, you’ll need to update the registry.
The plot revolves around a man who enjoys listening to radio waves. When he receives a coded message, he decides to track down the sender. There are no people, only bees and run-down buildings in this bleak environment. Picking up stuff to use elsewhere, opening doors, and other tasks aren’t too difficult. There’s a lockpicking task that’s a little trial and error but not too tough, some sliding action, and no satisfactory ending; it effectively chapters 1 with the exception of getting out of your house.
The UI appears more suited to a smartphone game, despite the fact that the game is not available on mobile, according to a quick search. Everything is too big, especially the inventory, which only shows three items at a time; you have to scroll up and down all the time, but the mouse wheel does nothing; zooming is possible, but even setting it to 1x (and resetting it every time the game is started) to avoid constant and annoying zooming in/out, you don’t see much of your surroundings, which is further obstructed by black borders around the screen. There’s also an orthographic camera setting, but no zooming, which seems like a frivolous addition anyhow… at least manual saving is possible at any time over a single slot, which isn’t amazing but might be worse, and in some ways is because the ESC key doesn’t bring up the menu, so why would it?
Instead of simple point-and-click controls with a hotspot indicator and tooltips over interactable things, you move around with w, a, s, d/arrows (nothing wrong with that except the movement is slow), and if you happen to come across an item of interest, it lights up and you have to press the big red action button to look at it or whatever. Kudos on coming up with something worse than pixel-hunting. It’s meant to be an adventure and exploration game, but both components are far more tedious than they should be.
Even if it contained all the essentials, 287 Rupees would be far too much for something so quick and unsatisfying, but as it is, it’s not even worth recommending. Another game that prioritizes style above functionality, but the music is fantastic, and the C64 reference was a nice touch. Because nothing happens in the second game, Magnus Imago, it may be played on its own, and it works a lot better as a first-person point-and-click (not saying it’s amazing, just better).