Marble Saga Kororinpa Preview
Reviewed by Brandy Shaul
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2009-02-02 Wii Action/Puzzle RP (Rating Pending) Hudson Entertainment

Unless you've been fervently following the Wii's progress since its initial release, Kororinpa: Marble Mania probably never landed on your radar. But that hasn't stopped Hudson from creating a sequel to the Marble Madness inspired franchise though, with Marble Saga: Kororinpa landing on store shelves this March.

While the release date is still more than a month off, I had an opportunity to snag some hands-on time with a demo of the title, and learned what makes this a worthy follow-up to the original.

For those unfamiliar with Marble Madness, Super Monkey Ball would also be an adequate comparison to the world of Marble Saga: Kororinpa. Players guide marbles of varying sizes and designs (anywhere from a small cat or ladybug to more eccentric items like UFO's and hedgehogs) through maze-like levels, collecting gems along the way, to eventually reach a level-ending vortex.

Levels, like the marbles themselves, are also creatively themed, and while the demo only offered a short peak at some picnic and other "outdoorsy" designs, the final version of the game is set to contain seven different worlds (each containing multiple levels) to explore and subsequently conquer. And while some levels look to be fairly straightforward, others contain exploitable gadgets like moving bridges that can ease your transition from one platform to the next.

One major difference I immediately noticed when comparing Marble Saga: Kororinpa to similar games (specifically Super Monkey Ball) is the ability to stop your marble's movement on a dime. Movement is controlled solely with the Wii Remote, and with a very gentle tilt in one direction or another, your marble will begin traveling in said direction.

Another difference is the fact that environments can be rotated a full 360 degrees, simply by rotating your Wii Remote to accommodate the changing environment. That is, one moment you may be gradually rolling along a curved pathway and the next run into a vertical wall. To proceed, you would twist the Wii Remote 90 degrees and continue on. I did notice that this factor made playing while utilizing the Wii Remote's wrist strap a bit awkward, in that it can become tangled after a few turns of the wrist. But, obviously, playing without the strap eliminates this problem altogether.

Whereas in other games I often found myself flying dangerously out of control through each level and then overcorrecting during failed attempts to NOT fall off of a platform, Kororinpa's sensitive controls seem to stop that altogether, and one can only hope that sensitivity remains in the final product.

When comparing Marble Saga: Kororinpa to its predecessor, the biggest addition is the utilization of the Wii Balance Board as an additional control option. While said option was not available in the demo, one will supposedly be able to navigate each world using solely their feet. An interesting idea, in theory, but I can see this causing some problems for those lacking in the reflexes department. But I guess only time will tell.

One last thing to note is the inclusion of up to four player multiplayer, making the game a part of the party-game philosophy so often associated with the Wii.

Marble Saga: Kororinpa rolls onto store shelves on March 17th. Be sure to check back with Gamer's Intuition for a full review after its release!