E3 06: Magnetica

Nintendo's not wasting any time with its plan to captivate the casual gamer. After captivating them with daily brain training and virtual puppies, the company's now putting out its own version of the popular web game Zuma - but for us DS owners, we'll know it as Magnetica by June.

Blue and red marbles roll through a winding, twisting track, dead-set on a course that leads them into a bottomless hole. Your task is to launch like-colored marbles at the procession - match three of any given color and they disappear. Toss one in the wrong place and you've just bumped every other marble in the line up one spot. The point, obviously, is not to have the marbles spill into that bottomless chasm, so try not to blindly throw your stock around, eh?

If that was all that happened, Magnetica would be too dry by even web browser standards. So, new marble colors start seeping in, along with rockets that tear through the track, pushing the line ever closer to the end. To fight back, you'll occasionally come across a special marble that'll disintegrate every globe of whatever color it hits.

Aside from this basic, never-ending puzzle mode, there's a longer quest mode to try out, a series of challenges to best and multiplayer options to consider. If your pals want to give it a shot, Magnetica will allow players to download a sample of the game for a quick burst of marble-busting action.

May 11, 2006