Nov 8, 2007
With no classic remakes on Live Arcade this week, gamers get treated to two semi-original games on the service. And of the two, Switchball is definitely the one you should be looking at. And please, throw away your preconceived notions that this is just a Marble Madness or Marble Blast Ultra clone. Switchball may look familiar, but it most definitely blazes its own trail.
In Switchball you guide your little marble around 35 different, 3D levels overflowing with various types of puzzles. At the beginning, most of these puzzles are of the pushing blocks variety - Switchball really eases you into the game. But soon you'll be finding stations which will allow you to switch your marble to something different - a heavier, metal ball; a lighter ball capable of floating; and so on - and puzzles that require creative shifting of forms in order to pass.
So say you come across a seesaw that leads to a higher platform, along with some metallic crates. Here you would switch to the metal ball, move said crate so that the seesaw won't tip, and then switch back to the regular ball in order to proceed. A lot of levels feature interesting Rube Goldberg-style contraptions to figure out as well.
On the multiplayer side, there are a handful of exclusive co-op levels to play here, with puzzles that require teamwork in order to solve. Or, if you're feeling more competitive, up to eight players can tackle the four different race courses featured in the download.
Switchball is one of the finer, original Live Arcade titles to grace the service in a while, and is undeniably addicting. Even if you plan to play for just a few minutes at a time, you'll find yourself losing hours to the creative puzzles and intuitive game play.