Sunday, September 30

Review: Marble It Up! [Nintendo Switch eShop]

From the original Marble Madness to the likes of Super Monkey Ball I’ve always had a soft spot for games where I can get my roll on. While the mechanics can be tricky, and momentum can be a real bastard, when the controls for these sorts of games are implemented well there’s a certain satisfaction of taking on various inclined surfaces and making to the goal. In a nutshell that’s absolutely the experience that Marble It Up delivers, keeping you occupied with just enough power-ups and craziness along the way to make it memorable.

The baseline key to games of this kind is to get the physics and feel of it right and they’ve absolutely nailed it. The controls are pretty well instantly intuitive and you can very quickly move around at top speed with a fair amount of confidence. Some variety in surfaces that include both ice and gravity effects open the door to some tricky and sometimes pretty insane level layouts and designs. While completing each stage may not be that hard trying to do so quickly to earn gold medals begins to require more and more planning on top of simple execution.

Then, just when you think you’ve gotten it all down and you’re working to refine your mastery completionists will ask: “Hey, what’s that thing up on that platform?” A variety of trophies are also hidden in some levels and getting to them adds a puzzle dimension to the game in many cases, though even once you have an idea of what you’ll need to do executing your plan can be extremely challenging. This added layer definitely helps to compensate for the fact that seeing every level the game has to offer will only take a handful of hours, though getting gold in them all will undoubtedly take some more time and sustained effort as well.

As a whole Marble It Up ends up being very satisfying and scratches a very specific genre itch that’s been lingering for a number of years now. Its mechanics are rock solid, its power-ups keep things interesting, and its stage designs show some real creativity and variety… it’s pretty much everything you could ask for in a game for this genre. Throw in the trophies for people who want to truly test their marble-rolling chops and it should satisfy anyone who is looking for something that’s pretty well unique on the Switch.

Score: 8.5

  • Mechanically pretty well spot-on
  • Some creative and crazy level designs
  • The inclusion of hidden trophies should satisfy even the most hardcore rollers out there

  • If your only goal is seeing everything the game has to offer, not necessarily mastering it, the runtime may feel a bit short
  • While future content is apparently in store, it’s unclear specifically how it will be handled