Have you ever played with one of those wooden marble maze games where you have to tilt it around to roll the ball to the goal? The Nintendo Wii certainly has its share of titles that simulate that classic game, using the Wii remote to tilt the environment around. Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz, Dewey’s Adventure…but the best and most fun example of this style of game was a little-known early Wii title called Korornipa: Marble Mania. Now you can play the sequel, Marble Saga: Kororinpa, on the Wii.
Marble Saga’s story mode stars Anthony the ant, who is searching for the Golden Sunflower Seed. Why a game about rolling marbles through mazes needs a story is anyone’s guess, though. Gameplay is pretty much the same as the first game. Move the Wii remote to tilt a maze on screen and roll a marble past obstacles and pitfalls. Collect all the crystals in each level and head for the goal. Tilting control is as solid as ever, and now you can even choose to hold the remote sideways like a classic controller. If you want your marble to roll up a wall, no problem! Just tilt the remote sideways and now the wall is a floor to roll on. Heck, you can even flip the maze upside-down by turning the remote that way also. You’ll probably send your marble to oblivion, but you can still do it if you want to!
But even though it’s more of the same, they’ve improved and added enough new aspects to make Marble Saga worthwhile. The amount of mazes have more than doubled, and you can upload your best rolling times to an online leaderboard using Nintendo’s Wi-Fi. You can unlock several different types of marbles, each with their own specific rolling speed and weight (though it’s a lot harder to unlock new marbles than it was in the first game). Later on you’ll even be able to put your Mii into a marble! Some stages even let you use the Wii Balance Board to tilt the maze.
Marble Saga also lets you edit your own levels, and upload them for others to try. And you can download stages from your friends or from Hudson themselves (can’t wait to see some of those). Sometimes I wish the stage editor and online functions were easier to use, and the game still feels like more of the same. Plus, in order to build parts for the items you use in the stage editor, you must replay stages over and over again to collect junk. However, thanks to the fun and responsive tilting controls, this is one Wii game that doesn’t feel gimmicky, and it’s still a heck of a lot of fun.
Marble Saga: Kororinpa is rated E for Everyone. No violence or objectionable material here, although there is a panda shaped marble that makes farting noises as it rolls. Reading skill is helpful for the text hints and tips, but most young gamers can figure things out just by playing. Some may get a little frustrated at the tougher mazes later on, but the game doesn’t penalize you for falling off. You can try again limitlessly. Marble Saga: Kororinpa is a highly recommended family title, as four players can roll at the same time.