MarbleBlast Ultra: Like Warm Butter
so. i’d been avoiding it since i downloaded the demo and devoured the half a dozen or so levels that ship with it.
i bought marbleblast ultra and it’s a riot.
the controls are super responsive, but have enough play in them that is just ‘feels right.’ it reminds me a lot of when mario 64 first came out. simply maneuvering mario around that world was most of the fun of the game.
it has that gentle balance between inertia and weight that is so much fun in driving games when you swing the ass-end of your porsche around a tight corner as you power-slide through the curve.
yeah. it’s like that.
i powered through both the entire set of beginner levels and the intermediate levels, making par times or better on all of them. that’s 40 straight levels of love, folks. all of it good. (a few of them, i was even ranked in the top 1000 — woot!) and, i still have the whole set of 20 advanced levels to go.
then, i fired up the multiplayer mode for a bit of ball-on-ball action. it’s a total kick in the pants.
where the single player levels are more like precision highwire acts, the multiplayer levels are more like a skatepark-come-moshpit. you roll around, bouncing off of each other as you chase ‘gems’ around the ‘park’ for points. the one with the most points in the time limit wins.
you’ll find yourself bounce-blasting off ridges and screeching around corners in a balls-out (pun intended) race to the next grouping of gems.
i can see why the guys at penny-arcade love it.
speaking of multiplayer, tho, there’s something incredible that needs to be pointed out. i’ve seen a couple of articles on how xbox live and achievements are bringing back the old arcade ‘high score’ love from decades past.
this is different.
instead of one monolithic score (you have one of those too) times and scores and rankings are broken out by level. so, basically, it comes down to who performed best in that 2 minutes of gameplay — one level at a time.
it’s leaderboards for each individual level. between you and your friends (or those top-page crazies who complete a level in 3.5 seconds that takes me 1:30? how? email me with how!), who can complete the level faster. there were several instances where i’d completed a level under par, but went back just to dust my buddy trizity’s times. heh. talk about replayability.
when did casual games get so competitive?
it raises the bar and redefines multiplayer gaming in a casual game setting. simply a fantastic game burrowing down to the very essence that is ‘gaming.’