Preview: Marble Saga: Kororinpa Hands-On

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2007’s Kororinpa: Marble Mania was a fantastic early Wii title that I thought was one of the first games to effectively utilize the console’s tilt controls in a way that was unique and fun rather than gimmicky and unnecessary like the motion control schemes of most Wii games that came before it (and many of those that have come after, sadly). Problem was the game just didn’t provide enough content to fortify its addictive gameplay, and as a result the 100 levels flew by within a couple hours and there was nothing left to accomplish.

Thankfully, Hudson recognized this fatal flaw and has rallied to remedy it with the forthcoming sequel, Marble Saga: Kororinpa. Whereas Marble Mania skimped out on game modes and all forms of supplementary content, Marble Saga will be brimming with special features that are sure to exponentially extend the game’s lifespan.

Let me just give you a quick rundown of all the added goodies Hudson has planned: 150+ new levels (up from the original’s 100), four-player split-screen (up from the original’s two-player), more marble avatars including a marble customizer with the option to import your Mii and stick him/her into a marble, a level editor with Wii Connect 24 support for sharing created stages with friends, online leaderboards, and even Wii Balance Board functionality. Hudson also plans to add to the title even more after launch by releasing new stages, but the specifics of how that DLC will be handled haven’t been announced yet.

Unfortunately, the preview demo Hudson recently provided me with didn’t have any of these exciting new features available for me to test out. Instead, the demo offered a quick five levels and a few different marbles to play around with. But that’s OK. From the five-stage demo I can tell you that Marble Saga is going to be even more addictive than its predecessor. For those who never played Marble Mania, it was a puzzle game akin to those old wooden labyrinth games that you tilt to guide a marble through a maze. This style of play worked perfectly with the Wii’s tilt-sensing remote, and so it appears to work perfectly again in the sequel.

Based on the demo offerings, not much seems to be changing in the sequel – that’s a good thing. You still tilt the Wii Remote in all directions to manipulate the floating in-game mazes and help get your marble to the goal portals while collecting gems placed throughout, avoiding obstacles like pinball bumpers and slippery ice patches, and utilizing various “widgets” to your advantage like trampoline platforms, speed boosts and magnetic railings. I can’t remember if this was in the first game, but in the demo I was able to choose whether to hold the remote in standard vertical position with one hand and twist it like a door knob or turn it sideways and tilt with both hands similar to how Wii racing games control. I don’t recall having this option before, but I may not have looked hard enough so I can’t say with any certainty if it’s something new or something I just missed in the original. Either way, the tilt controls handle intuitively, and the varying physics of the different marble types mix up the challenge and pacing nicely.

The demo sure didn’t show very much, but it really didn’t need to in order to win me over. Marble Mania played great, and through five levels so does Marble Saga. As long as Hudson delivers on all of the extra modes and features its promising, Marble Saga: Kororinpa will be a must-play Wii hit come springtime.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!