Remember that old labyrinth game that let you steer a marble through a maze punched with holes while using knobs to manipulate the X and Y-axes? Well, it sucked. You don’t need to look any further than Hudson’s new title Marble Saga: Kororinpa for proof.
Kororinpa, which is onomatopoeia for the sound of a ball rolling, is the sequel to the limited release port of Kororinpa: Marble Mania, which you can only find on eBay these days for around $70. The updated feature that are set in Marble Saga more than triples the number of levels over its predecessor (Marble Mania had 40 levels) to 150 levels that you can play at three different difficulty settings.
As always, the gist of the game is safely guiding a lonely little marble through 3-D mazes by tilting the levels using the Wiimote. You can choose from 19 different marbles each with different handling properties. Plus, one slot for you to build a custom orb. To further kick out the creation quotient, gamers can also create, edit and share whole levels. Hell, Hudson even kicked in a story line for this game that revolves around helping out a little ant named Anthony to save his ant colony by reaching a pod of golden sunflower seeds. Yeah, I didn’t really get that one either. But I can tell you that the story in no way affects the gameplay.
The premise is pretty simple. You just rotate the maze to roll your marble from start to finish, trying not to fall through any holes or openings. The Wii is really tailor made for the 3-D labyrinth concept. It took me more than a few minutes just to get comfortable with watching the maze flip 360-degrees onscreen while rotating the Wiimote. But I can definitely see the pick up and play appeal. The real kicker is the Balance Board integration. You can only board with a segment of the mazes (any of the labyrinths that involve full 360-turns are out of the question). I actually preferred the Board segments, probably because it reminded me more of the old tabletop labyrinth (yes it sucked, but it’s a prized childhood memory, so step off). Also because the Balance Board felt like it was delivering a decent calf workout.
For approximately 30 bucks, Kororinpa is delivering some serious casual value this May for less than a lot of DS titles hitting the market.