Kororinpa: Marble Mania review

  • Pinpoint control
  • Demented levels
  • Different marble stats
  • Feels short
  • Multiplayer tacked on
  • Low visibility

Somewhere in the world, there's an animal psychologist using Kororinpa: Marble Mania to determine scientifically, once and for all, if capuchin monkeys are smarter than Paris and Nicky Hilton (and after that, we're guessing, how much). The concept is dead simple - you have a marble, which you need to guide on a jewel-grabbing roll through a floating, maze-like track by tilting the Wii remote - so both groups can instantly grasp the concept.

Moreover, because the controls are so in-tune, so pinpoint accurate, only two things can be blamed when your little spherical buddy plunges off the rails to the abyss: the player's gross motor skills (which, admittedly, we'll give the monkey an edge on) and the player's strategy.

And this is where the game's MC Escher-esque labyrinths, filled with unguarded edges, moving parts, magnetized rails, cannons, stairs and other crazy obstacles come in: they'll require some actual thought to navigate at times. By the end of the 45 mazes (90 if you count the mirror image versions unlocked near the end), Kororinpa will have definitively separated the gold from the guano, the brains from the boobs, the gorillas from the gals. So to speak.

Or, it could just have created a few more Wii fans. This really is a great example of a Wii game done right - the control is perfect, and wouldn't work even with a SixAxis. In fact, the game's two-player mode proves this: if the second player uses the nunchuk controller instead of a remote, the game is harder. Then again, the two-player mode is just a bland, timed race, so that handicap should rarely be a problem.

Obviously, Kororinpa resembles Sega's Monkey Ball games, but it's better in several ways. There's a much greater range of motion - you're not just tilting the world: you can turn it clear upside-down, and then some. Plus, many of the 20 marbles, which range in appearance from a basketball or UFO to a panda that may be making yawning sounds or may have traumatic flatulence, have unique qualities that affect how they play: bouncing higher or rolling faster, for instance. Our only real gripe there is that it's sometimes tough to figure out exactly where you should be going - give that aerial view a good look before starting each puzzle.

The look and atmosphere is mildly whimsical (and features five different themes), though that's one of the only things pulling you through the game. And this isn't a long experience - we were left wanting more after only a handful of hours. But to be honest, there could have been twice as many puzzles and we'd still want more. Kororinpa: Marble Mania is just plain fun.

More Info

Release date: Mar 20 2007 - Wii (US)
Mar 20 2007 - Wii (UK)
Available Platforms: Wii
Genre: Puzzle
Published by: Konami
Developed by: Hudson Soft
ESRB Rating:


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