Rolling a marble down a maze is a fun thing to spend time on indeed. The amount of games for the iPhone based on that simple concept is growing. Quality is increasing with titles such as Marble Blast Mobile(4-star review here) entering the App Store. To be a contender a marble rolling game has to strong in the following aspects: marble physics, level variation, functioning controls and distinct personality.
Super Marble Roll succeeds when it comes to marble physics. The marble moves like you would assume a real marble would. It gains momentum slowly, and stops slowly. The game also succeeds really well when it comes to the controls. Tilt controls can be a pain to use but in Super Marble Roll they feel natural and responsive. For every level the game recalibrates the accelerometer as the level prepares to start. This is both a really neat thing, and at the same time ruining the game at times. Of course a freshly calibrated device makes navigating the marble easier. At the same time, if you are not totally focused during the calibration phase, the device can recalibrate at unplayable angles. As there is no menu there is only one way to recalibrate it, restart the game.
I can’t say whether the levels are varied as I haven’t managed to get very far yet. When you have failed three marbles it is game over, and you restart from level one. You fail by dropping the marble off the board, by breaking it by for example dropping it from too high and by not reaching the exit before the timer runs out. The levels I have played have been progressively harder, adding more and more obstacles and length to traverse in a short time. As I obviously fail, the levels are at least challenging, and I would say that they are varied so far.
What Super Marble Roll lacks is personality and flair. The game is like a template for creating a marble rolling game. Nothing unique, no back-story and nothing to interest you beyond the actual gameplay.
I find it really fun to play Super Marble Roll, it is a straight-forward marble roller. Roll from the start to finish in the time available. To me it it refreshing to just navigate mazes without other controls than tilt to think of. No camera to be angry at, the viewpoint is fixed. This at times is a weakness when you speed forward without any way to look ahead. The most common way to loose a marble is simply because you see a corner too late.
Sadly Super Marble roll is not a complete game ready for the App Store. The lack of menu and pause are simply unforgivable. There is no way to restart the game other than killing your marbles, if you chase highscores you might want to restart when you loose a marble early. No way to pause to recalibrate or change settings. There are no settings at all. No way to start a new game when you want to, if you have an active game it simply continues until you have lost your marbles. No way to check highscores either other than getting game over. I think this totally breaks the game which is sad as it is fun to play.
The App Store is fantastic, and I love it when developers can bring out updates with ease. The downside is when developers release unfinished games that they might update later, as a consumer you have no guarantees that they will. As iScape hasn’t released anything prior to Super Marble Roll there is no way of knowing that they will update it. I urge you to wait for an update that gives the game the basics.
Presentation & Graphics
The music is instrumental techno tracks as we have heard in most iPhone games lately. Sound effects are ok, and the digitized voice heard when starting/finishing/failing a level is a nice addition.You can play your own music, and keep the sound effects from the game.
Controls are responsive and feels natural. A bit repetive gameplay. Having to restart from the simple levels all the time really kills some of my enjoyment. A level select would be appreciated.
The lack of a menu kills gamelife as you can’t even access your scores or restart the game. No unlockables, achievements, online leader boards I presume as there is no menu to find anything in.
I can’t recommend Super Marble Roll version 1.0 as the lack of menu really breaks the game. It is fun to play, and has some nifty controls but as of now it isn’t ready for the App Store.