MagBeads - Review

Imagine combining Tetris, Bejeweled and Twister all in one game for your Windows Phone. If that sounds interesting you might like the Windows Phone 7 game Magbeads.

From the Marketplace listing, "MagBeads offers a brand new concept of match-3 puzzle games." The game has five game modes and offers a healthy gaming challenge. MagBeads ran stable, offers appealing graphics and does have a slight addictive quality.

To read more, just bounce on past the break.

Stuck together

The Main Menu for MagBeads is straightforward with options to play the game, review scores, view your trophies (achievements), learn more about the game, and exit the game all together.

The game concept is rather simple in that you have magnetic balls shooting from either sides of the screen and your job is to stack them on your magnetic pin wheel that rests at the center of the screen. Stack three balls of the same color and they explode, earning you points. If the stacks of balls reach the outer ring that surrounds the pinwheel, game over.

Sounds easy, right?

To move the pinwheel, you slide your finger along the screen to rotate the wheel. Getting a handle on the gaming controls is challenging. You want to slide your finger up to rotate the wheel but it's the left/right action that gets things moving.

To help add flavor to the game, there are five gaming modes; Classic, Survival, One Minute, Three Minute, and Five Minute modes. With the survival and timed modes, the game ends when either your stacks hit the outer ring or time runs out.

The layout of the game screen has a timer in the upper left corner (for the modes that have you under the clock), your current level and score are at the top.  Your magnet wheel sits at the center.  A ring surround your wheel which represents your boundary (reach this with beads and game over).  Beads shoot from canons that sit on either sides of the screen.  The impending bead color is displayed on the canon.

During game play, as you earn points your Fury Meter builds.  The meter sits at the bottom of the screen. When the wheel turns red, you can unleash your Fury move by tapping on the center of the wheel. In Fury Mode, points earned are doubled.

However you end your game (timed out or balled out) your score is tabulated and you can submit it to an online leaderboard for braggin' rights.

Game Play

Again, the first challenge to overcome is mastering the controls. Then once you get a handle on spinning the wheel in the desired direction, the trick is spinning it quick enough to place the colored balls correctly. Once you get the hang of things you'll learn to spin the wheel just at the last moment to land your balls in the smallest of spaces to complete a match.

MagBeads does have an addictive quality to it but it can also get frustrating. The game was stable with no crashes, bugs, or glitches experienced. The graphics were nicely done and the game concept was interesting.

I would have like to have seen bonus balls thrown into the mix to blast entire columns of balls into oblivion or a psychedelic ball that changed into the color of the ball it came into contact with.

Overall Impression

MagBeads is a nice game but not for everyone. I keep coming back to the controls but they can be the most challenging and frustrating aspect of the game.

If you can become proficient with the controls, MagBeads is an enjoyable, "fun to pass the time with" game. I can see MagBeads being a companion game for when you need a break from Bejeweled.

There is a free trial version of MagBeads that lets you play the 1 Minute Mode and the full version runs $1.29. You can find both here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

George Ponder

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.