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Marble Blast Ultra – Review

Posted by Jacob on March 24, 2008

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Marble Blast Ultra is a fun and addictive game, that is if you can look past some shortcomings. If you have played any of the Monkey Ball games than you will have an idea of what to do here. The game spans 60 levels that cross into different difficulties as you go. Your goal throughout these levels will either consist of getting from point A to point B or doing just the same while collecting gems as you go. The game can be very amusing and can even present a challenge on occasion, but there are some shortcomings that should be noted.

Marble Blast Ultra puts you in control of a marble that you will be rolling around various levels to complete your goals. The analog stick rolls the marble, one button will be used to jump, and another will be used to do a power blast that can be used to reach higher areas or accomplish further jumps. There are also various notable power-ups throughout the game that offer a fun variety. The power ups can be anything from speed boosts, super jumps, and more. The single player will have you utilizing all of these to race against the clock.

The difficulty in Marble Blast Ultra is spread out pretty well. There is a welcomed tutorial feel to the first few beginner levels, the intermediate level set is well balanced, and the third and final difficulty setting clearly is “advanced”. At any time any level can be played, but it is a safe bet to say that most anyone will want to play the levels in the preset order. In addition to just completing the levels you also have a par time to beat. Beating these par times is one of the achievements for the game. The time you beat each level with will result in a rating that will be uploaded to the leaderboards. There is a online leaderboard for each level offline, and one as well for multiplayer rankings.

The multiplayer in Marble Blast Ultra can feel a little stale at times. The game supports up to eight people online, no multiplayer offline, and features 10 different maps. Your would think that with 10 maps for an arcade game it would be very gracious, not so. Just as in the single player the maps can feel repetitive at times. Gems will appear across the map and your job is to race to these and collect them before your opponents do, once you have, more will appear in another location. This will repeat until the timer has expired. The blast move can be used to push marbles around as can some of the power-ups but after a while you will most likely be wanting more. Some additional modes to play with online would have been nice to see.

Graphically speaking Marble Blast Ultra has a good presentation in it’s slick look but again there is some repetition here as well. Pretty much after the first few levels you will have seen all there is to see, aside from some color variations in the level designs. The one notable feature is the marble customization. There are many marbles you can choose from to play as. This can be anything from a clear marble, happy face marble, and more.

The sound effects for the game were somewhat of a let down. There is only one track of music for the game and it is all electronic, this is not too bad but some variation would have been nice. The sound effects can pass with being average of an arcade game but it still would have been nice not to always hear the same ‘marble on wood’ sound no matter what surface your rolling across.

Overall if you like puzzle games and can keep cool with a careful hand, Marble Blast Ultra can be pretty fun. The weak multiplayer is definitely something to note but it should not hold you back from purchasing the game, considering the drop in price from 800 to 400 Microsoft Points.

3 Stars

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