Time for me to call it a night! For tomorrow’s ‘End of Day’ thoughts, I will have a review of Marble Saga: Kororinpa. For today’s ‘End of Day’ thoughts, Cort has his impressions of the same game! Will his impressions mesh with my review? Could our friendship end over a review score?! No…of course it couldn’t.
I’ll see you guys in a few, short hours. Please remember to take this survey and help us out! - RMC
Yes, yes, this game releases in a few days. But as a lead-in, since Hudson was kind enough to send over a demo disc a few weeks back, a few impressions are in order until review copies trickle in and we’ve had time to play the final build.
In addition to that, while in Japan for TGS, I had the distinct pleasure of visiting Hudson’s development studio in Sapporo, where I got to see many games—including Marble Saga Kororinpa—and meet many people, including the game’s director and one of its designers. One of the great benefits to this encounter versus the standard demo floating around at various outlets was getting to see first-hand and actually use some of the things not in the demo but will be in the final retail release, such as the custom level designer and the balance board modes.
First off, this new entry in the series comes with plenty of great new features, but kept the same controls as the original; controls that were generally well-received by everyone. This time around, you’ll get 150 levels, and 3 difficulty settings, each changes something on the map like removing the safety walls and making your passages more narrow. If 150 stages aren’t enough for you, Marble Saga ships with a custom stage editor/creator so you can build and modify to your heart’s content. You can also share them with friends or receive their creations. But wait, there’s more! For those Wii-playing hermits out there, Hudson will also be making use of WiiConnect24 to send out their own new stages after launch.
Add in online leaderboards, multi-player, a whole bag of new marble types—each with different properties and rolling physics, or customise your own—and even Mii support (put yourself in a marble, like a teensie NASA multi-axis G-force trainer, 30 special stages compatible with the balance board, and you’ve got enough content and replayability to last quite a while.
On top of all these new features, Marble Saga Kororinpa sets everything to a story; something the original didn’t. The plot synopsis: we follow Anthony the Ant in his quest for the Golden Sunflower. As an ant, his stature is the limiting factor, so he journeys through different worlds collecting junk to build a “ladder” of sorts to reach his goal.
Of course tons of content and a replay quotient are only valuable if they’re enjoyable to work through in the first place. With controls that already work, that’s something of a given for the evolutionary features (new levels, etc.), but how does something new like the balance board fare? Pretty well actually, provided you’re not a toppling klutz like yours truly. The mode does have a familiarity/learning curve, but with some caution, anyone can make progress right away.
We also got to see the level editor in action. You unlock components as you progress through the game, and with 40 new “widgets” such as sliding bridges, vacuum tubes, shrinking machines and cannons, the possibilities are endless. Of course we’ve all learned before with creation tools that it actually takes real skill to put something good and also fun together, especially from scratch. Luckily, one of Hudson’s real level designers for the game was present to do the demo, and of course he made something strikingly clever in less time than it takes to microwave a Hot Pocket. Something to shoot for I guess, but it was proof of concept and inspiration if nothing else!
Our private session looked at a number of levels and features in their beta build, while the demo disc sent to media included only a handful of stages from the first world that showed off a fair number of mechanics for the game. It certainly whet my appetite; I can’t wait to get my hands on the final retail copy, hopefully you will too! —cortjezter