Marble Saga: Kororinpa Hands-On
There's something mesmerizing about watching marbles roll around.
Marble Saga: Kororinpa is the sequel to last year's Kororinpa: Marble Mania, in which you tilt the Wii Remote to guide your marble to the finish line. We had the opportunity to play with the sequel at Hudson's Gamer Day in San Francisco and found that it has the same fun formula as well as some cool new additions. You can play some levels with the Wii Balance Board, shifting your weight to move the levels around instead of using the Wii Remote. You can compete against others online for the best finishing times, and up to four players can play offline in split-screen mode. If you want, you can even bring in your customized Mii so that you have a marble with your virtual face on it.
The premise of Kororinpa is that you're trying to help Anthony the Ant get to the Golden Sunflower so that he can save his colony. We're not really sure how this ties into rolling marbles through treacherous apparatuses, but we don't need a reason to play with little, round, circular objects. You have control of the entire stage, and you tilt the Wii Remote to get your marble to roll past gems, collecting parts along the way (which help Anthony) and ultimately making it to the finish line. You aren't on any sort of timer so you never have to feel rushed. There are three difficulty settings, but the only difference is that there aren't as many barriers if you play on hard mode. Up to four players can play in split-screen mode, and there's the option of turning on collision, which will enable you to run into the other players.
There are 150 levels to go through, with specific areas just for the Wii Balance Board. Some of the trickier stages will require you to flip the Wii Remote in a full circle--which is impossible for the balance board--so there are some simpler stages that can be played using the board. There is also the option of holding the Wii Remote sideways if you're more comfortable that way, instead of twisting your arm in awkward positions.
Another new feature is an edit mode in which you can create your own stages. As you progress through the game, you'll pick up parts along the way. There are seven themed locations in Kororinpa, and you'll be able to collect a variety of items to build your own marble amusement park. An assortment of cute and funky marbles are available for you to unlock, some of which will make noises, and for those who want to challenge themselves, the football is also back. There are 20 in total to collect.
There is a lot more variety this time in terms of the environments and the stages themselves. You'll navigate your marble through tubes, cannons, bridges, and other gadgets. We had a chance to see several levels, some of which were set in outer space, and one was underwater. There was a Halloween-themed level with ghosts hovering in the background, and an ice level that had a magical, fantasy-like quality to it. Even the easier levels had some fun designs; the most basic stage we saw looked like it was pieced together by bits of cardboard. It may not have been as tasty-looking as the candy-themed levels from the previous game, but sometimes simpler is better.
Kororinpa is looking good so far, and it still has a ways to go before its spring release. For those who may have been disappointed with the lack of content in its predecessor, Kororinpa makes up for it with the new stages and editing mode. We'll update you with more about Marble Saga: Kororinpa as soon as it becomes available.