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Kororinpa: Marble Mania [import] review

Marble-related madness, no monkeys in balls necessary

A cross between Marble Madness and the wooden board game Labyrinth, Kororinpa is immediately homely and familiar, but this doesn't mean it's without delightful surprises and innovations. From the first level, and in every consecutive level after, you'll be tenderly greeted with new challenges: how to flip the ball over a hurdle; how to accelerate down a ramp, leap a large gap and then stop the ball absolutely dead still; how to turn the remote upside-down in your hands without losing your wrist strap and your mind. Kororinpa promises it will never bore you.

In order to exit each level, you have to collect lots of sparkling gems along the way. There are two kinds- oranges and greens. Only the oranges are compulsory; the greens are bonuses that'll unlock a variety of different balls to play with. There's only one green per level, and their locations range from the easily accessible to fiendishly disguised and dangerous corners that mother used to warn against: on the pinnacle of a micro-thin slither of board, or high above a platform that will risk a death-defying leap. Do you hear us, Monkey Ball? Kororinpa's got its edge, too.

Getting the green gems and completing the levels quickly unlocks you new marbles to use. Well, we say "marbles" -they include cats and dogs with protruding body parts. Although they take a bit of getting used to, the pokey limbs act as a sort of brake, making it easier to complete some of the harder levels. We particularly like the dog, which barks at you through the Wii remote speaker when you drop from one ledge to another. All the marbles make noises, in fact: the cat meows, the standard marble clonks solidly and the panda, er, makes a gravelly, groany yawn noise.

All manner of terrains are explored, and they all feel convincingly different: rugged conveyor belts whisk you along from one end of a platform to the other, while others try to stick to you, or else merrily dance you around on a stage of ice. The boards themselves are incredibly intricate, and the 3D just works, superb and satisfying.

More Info

DescriptionGet down, roll marbles around and shake a Wii-mote all over town! The most advanced way to play with a ball is rolling over to the Wii.
UK censor rating3+
Release date2 December 2006 (US), 23 February 2007 (UK)