Screenshot of *Plusminus* with lots of magnetised balls

About

Plusminus is an action/puzzle/adventure game centered around magnetism, developed at Aalto University. The game shares similarities to popular games such as Portal and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but presents an enitrely new kind of freedom when solving puzzles. Players can use magnetism to move objects, make them float, send enemies flying, or create situations that surprise even the developers – the possibilities are limitless.

Plusminus takes place in the future, in a world where humans have been replaced by robots. In an effort to create a utopia, The Cloud™ is transitioning all old robots to a new hive-mind. You are one of the last surviving humanoid robots, who wakes up in captivity. Your objective is to escape, but ahead of you is a facility swarming with minions of The Cloud™. The path won’t be easy, but thankfully you have the plusminus-monomagnetic tools to help you make your way through the treacherous challenges.

Train

Development

The game was developed as part of the Game Design and Production master’s degree programme. Development started in January 2018, and the game was first playable by the public in May 2018 at the Nordic Game Conference. The game was made by a team of six: Veera Hokkanen, Thomas Holmes, Hannu Koivuranta, Antti Sandberg, Helena Sorva, and Juuso Toikka (in alphabetical order).

Since the course ended, development of Plusminus has continued with a smaller team, with a focus on improving the core gameplay.

Technologies

Plusminus was made possible thanks to a number of technologies:

Accolades

CHI PLAY 2018

Plusminus was selected as the winner of the CHI PLAY 2018 student game design competition, held in Melbourne, Australia. An abstract was written to support the game, titled: Plusminus: Augmenting Physics to Promote Emergent Gameplay.

GDC Experimental Games Workshop

After our acceptance to CHI PLAY, we submitted Plusminus to GDC, with the hopes of getting to showcase the game to a larger audience. Thankfully, the novel mechanics of the game didn’t go unnoticed, and Plusminus was chosen as one of the games to be featured at the GDC Experimental Games Workshop, held in San Francisco on the 22nd March, 2019.

Magnetic doors