Picture it: Roswell, New Mexico, some time in the 1950’s. Aliens have crash landed and they just want to get home. Sophia Petrillo might tell a more fanciful tale, but you get the idea (though you might not get the reference). Anyway, The Marbians is a cute little marble puzzle game with an alien theme that’s actually both fun and challenging, especially if you want to get top scores, walk away with all the moon rocks, or both. Besides, this has one of the best soundtracks for this type of game I’ve heard.
The crash landing is understandable, even a bit cliché. I’m not quite sure why the aliens are in marbles, unless of course they are just marble-like aliens, but I suppose the game wouldn’t work very well without this facet. In any case, your job is to get one Marbian to the spaceship at the end of each level. To do this you’ll need to bounce, slide, ricochet or do whatever it takes to them to get to that ship. Of course the only thing you can directly do to the Marbians is fling them, so it’s how you use the environment that will determine success or failure.
In order to send the Marbians back home you’ll need to fling them through the mazes, which can be accomplished by dragging in the opposite direction that you want the Marbian to go and then releasing. An arrow will show your direction, while the length of the arrow determines power. The control is quite simple, but determining the angle and power behind a fling can be a challenge. You only get one shot per Marbian, though in later levels you’ll get multiple Marbians to use, which is cool and makes some of the level design more interesting. Chances are good if there are multiple Marbians in a level you’ll need to use them all.
There will be plenty of obstacles for you to conquer: moving walls you have to slip through, panels that must be triggered via floor switches, long hallways that need some slick oil to get through, and many more. All you have to do to pass a level is get one Marbian to the spaceship, but if you want to score you’ll need to be concerned with moon rocks and bouncing. Yes, this is the only marble game I’m aware of that rewards you for ricocheting your marble as much as you can before reaching its goal. The game has several trophies you can earn, and in an interesting twist it simply supports Facebook for social networking rather than OpenFeint or Game Center.
The visuals in Marbians are very well done. The levels walls and such are comprised of pictures that remind me either of old posters, stamps or patchwork once you get to box three. There’s a nice contrast between “foreground” items which are bright and colorful and the background, which is a bit more washed out but still looks great. The aliens themselves are cool, with their one eye looking around to take in the surroundings. Once a Marbian has been used their eye shuts and there’s a little swirl of stars above their head.
The sound effects aren’t too bad. Some things sound really cool like pulling back to fling a Marbian or the noise one makes when it rolls through oil or glue. Nothing in particular stands out, but nothing works to the game’s detriment either. As I alluded to in the intro, I love the soundtrack. I don’t know if any of it is “real” music or if it was all written specifically for the game, but it sounds like somebody ripped the vinyl records out of a 50s jukebox. There’s even a cool sound between songs that sounds like a radio station being changed.
People that like maze games with marbles can get excited again because of The Marbians. It actually feels fresh, instead of just being another wooden labyrinth clone. The Roswell setting is perfect, the Marbians look cool, and there’s a jammin’ soundtrack to groove to. The levels provide a decent bit of challenge as well, especially if you want to get all the moon rocks. Don’t let this one just roll on by.
|Title:||The Marbians – Full Game||Developer:||Nordisk Film Games Publishing|
|Reviewed Ver:||Min OS Req:||3.0|