One of the games on display at Konami's recent press event was Kororinpa: Marble Mania, the Hudson-developed puzzle game that hit Japan late last year at the Wii launch. The game is a Super Monkey Ball-type puzzler that has you guiding a marble through a board by rotating the world around it. Hudson has opted to bring the game to the US to sate the puzzle-craving masses and marble enthusiasts, and Konami will be distributing the game. We tried out a localized version, and it offers the same experience as the Japanese game but is now in Western-friendly English.
The basics of gameplay are dead simple. You just tilt the remote, which in turn moves the world and sends your marble on its merry way. The maps start out simple and then become progressively more challenging, introducing all manner of hazards and rails for you to navigate as you head to the end-level goal. The catch is that you will have to activate the goal by collecting a certain number of crystals on your way. Though the crystals are typically on the way to the goal, they'll become more and more difficult to get. Your runs will be judged according to how long it took you to complete them, and if you're fast enough, you'll receive goodies in the form of trophies and unlockables. The visuals and audio in the game are low-key and stay pretty modest. The big hooks are the puzzle aspect and the increasing challenge. The board designs get crazier as they become more difficult, and they feature various themes for the backgrounds.
Kororinpa: Marble Mania should be a fine puzzle game for the Wii when it hits this spring. The game features a good amount of challenging single-player content, along with multiplayer support for some competitive maze navigating. The game still has a launch-title feel to its modest array of options, but what's available has some appeal.