It's been established that the iPhone is ideal for marble rolling games because of its accelerometer, so Marble Blast Mobile is a perfect fit. It brings many twists to the genre that makes it something different from all the other marble and ball rolling games on the App Store (most notably Super Monkey Ball), so it isn't just more of the same!
The concept of all marble rolling games is simple: Get from point A to B while, usually, collecting gems on the way. Marble Blast Mobile takes this and greatly expands on it with inventive power ups and a variety of levels. There are 20 levels to play in single player mode - each of which is imaginatively designed and comprises remarkably fun gameplay. The amount of gems you have to collect changes from level to level, sometimes there will be many scattered around and other times just a few in hard to reach spots. You'll also find that every five levels there's a time trial where you have to get from point A to B as fast as possible. You have to be speedy in these levels and, unlike the other mode, when you fall off the edge, you have to restart the whole level.
Each of the 20 levels have set bronze, silver and gold times for you to reach. While the bronze time is quite easy to get, the silver and gold are more challenging and even though there are five times more levels in other games, these challenge times push up Marble Blast Mobile's replay value. At first glance the gold times may look daunting, but after exploring the levels, you'll find that they're definitely possible and it's just a tough road to gaining them.
The power ups are definitely a core part of the gameplay and are vital to complete some of the levels. If you have ever played the online version of Marble Blast you'll know that the power ups vary from the usual (such as Super Speed), to the unusual (like Gyrocopter). Super Speed, Mega Marble and Super Jump are all self explanatory, while Gyrocopter is something different: It adds a helicopter blade to your ball, allowing you to float through the air to reach distance places. The levels you play are very well designed and are sometimes puzzling. "The Core" is a level that will test both your mind and your reactions since you have to literally spin the world around to collect the gems.
As we mentioned at the start of this review, the iPhone is the perfect device for Marble Blast Mobile and Luma Arcade definitely took the chance and ran with it. The tilt controls work seamlessly and there are a ton of options to tweak them to your needs. If you prefer touch controls, you can use dual joy pads instead (making the gameplay similar to the XBLA version), but we think you'd be missing out on the opportune controls. Other actions (such as jumping and using power ups) are carried out by using on screen buttons and you can pause the game by tapping the top of the screen.
Marble Blast Mobile is literally coated in a thick layer of polish, it's so shiny! The graphics look amazing and have a wonderful futuristic style. The colour scheme varies from level to level and never becomes stagnant. You can also change your marble, choosing from simple colour designs, to an eyeball and even a globe. The menus are just as well designed as the rest of the game with slick animations and a great UI. Throughout our time with Marble Blast Mobile we didn't experience any slow downs or crashes, so it's definitely built on a solid engine.
Multiplayer is definitely a huge plus in any game, and Marble Blast Mobile has just that. There is both local and online multiplayer in the game and they are both a joy to play. However, we found that there was rarely anyone to play against online, which is a real shame because it has been proved to work extremely well. We think the main reason for this is that the online multiplayer came in a recent update, and even though everyone was crying out for it, no one noticed when it came.
The only place we can knock Marble Blast Mobile is in its iPhone integration. But while it doesn't have any of the three credentials, we feel that it hardly effects how polished the game is. It has everything else; fun gameplay, great graphics and online multiplayer. And for those reasons we highly recommend Marble Blast Mobile at its current £1.79 price.
Delivering engaging gameplay, stunning graphics and stellar online multiplayer, Marble Blast Mobile is the best of its kind.
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