When you’re lording over the power of magnetics, you need to name yourself something with a little no-nonsense snap to it. Contemporary, a bit dangerous, even. It may not advertise his skills directly, yet Zippy Push Kid (80 MSP) fits the bill. It’s got layers. He’s sounds like a good guy already, not settling for the cheap or obvious like Magnet Man (sorry, Capcom). Too bad his gamesake doesn’t give him much time to attract an audience (you see what I did there, with ‘attract’? Clever, right?).
Human or Magnet, you make a >_< face, that’s gotta hurt.
Not that ‘attraction’ is the objective. Zippy may be a literal magnet, trying to escape from a cyborg test lab as magnets are wont to do, but he’s not trying to form any attachments (yeah, I’m doing it again) along the way. And I mean zero. Everything in the game, from movement to combat, is based on using his inherent abilities to do the complete opposite, to push or repel attackers and boost to perform jumps. Seems counterproductive for being a magnet, but I’ll bite.
The idea is implemented well, too, sort of like ‘being a jetpack’, with a meter that depletes and refills quickly, giving you just enough juice so that you won‘t go around zapping everything or zooming through with impunity. Most enemies can be pushed backwards or thrown into spike pits in this way, and you can always propel yourself upwards and bop them, Mario-style. The steering takes a little practice, but you’ll be getting around quite easily quite quickly.
Progress within the stages is periodically halted by gates, requiring you to ‘push’ various shapes towards keyholes. It’s not as precise or simple as grab & carry, though it’s an interesting use of your powers. Sadly, no upgrades or ideas are introduced beyond that, save for a ‘wall kick’ repel move that’s never utilized outside of one collectible situation, which changes your magnet shots from aqua blue to green for the duration of the stage for some inexplicable reason.
‘Magnetic rays’ or pissing contest? You decide.
A few snags prevent the game from ever really taking off. Despite the occasional trouble in magnet-pushing myself around and over gaps, Zippy Push Kid is very low-impact platforming. The enemies and hazards are spread out, for the most part, with plenty of health refills in between. In fact, I had to go back into the game after completing it just to die and confirm that checkpoints do exist. And with five levels (including one apiece for a tutorial and end boss), all of which run under five minutes in length, the game is extremely short and pedestrian. There’s just not much going on. More should have been done with the mechanics / design to make better use of the magnetism (or anti-magnetism, as it were).
That doesn’t make Zippy Push Kid a bad game, just a shallow experience with nothing to cling to, that’s over before it’s done anything interesting. That genericy may play to the strengths of an era with short attention spans, but an even worse fate is not doing enough to stick in gamers’ minds. Cool name, though, bro.