Marble Masters: The Pit

You’re a ball.  You try to shove other balls into a pit.  Marble Masters: The Pit isn’t completely original.  I played a similar minigame in the original Mario Party.  Plus I vaguely recall there was something kind of sort of like it on Wii Fit.  But this is the first full game centered around the idea, and I had my doubts as to whether they could stretch it out for 50 levels.  Things started easy enough.  There were a few holes in the ground and balls located conveniently next to them.  “Okay, well this won’t hold my interest too long.”

I have to say, it looks quite dull in screenshots.  But give it a chance. It's a pretty fun, fast-paced hour-and-a-half.

I have to say, it looks quite dull in screenshots. But give it a chance. It’s a pretty fun, fast-paced hour-and-a-half.

Then the balls came to life.  Well, “life” being relative, as the AI in Marble Masters is clinically brain-dead.  The enemy balls will roll at you in a straight line, even if there’s a pit between you and them.  They have no survival instinct at all.  The developer might as well have dressed them up like they were zombie balls.  Hell, that probably would have been worth at least an extra 500 downloads.  Still, it was something unexpected.  There’s no way that could extend the shelf life though.  Oh wait, now there’s no pits, and instead you have to get the balls to break against spikes.  Oh wait again, now the spikes are chasing you like the balls were.  Well I’ll be damned, they did stretch it out to fifty levels without feeling padded.  Call me William Kemmler because I’m genuinely shocked.

Marble Masters is one of those rare instances of a game pacing itself perfectly.  There’s enough twists to hold a player’s attention for the maximum two hours it would take to complete.  It’s not without some huge flaws though.  The difficulty curve tends to spike up and down.  Even late in the game, there were levels that took me twenty or more tries to finish, which were immediately followed with stages that I completed without any fuss on my first attempt.  So the difficulty is inconsistent, but not as much as the gravity.  The physics engine in the game is all sorts of fucked up.  Sometimes it feels entirely too heavy.  Sometimes it feels like you’re doing battle on the surface of the moon.  This leads to some nifty glitches, like the times I collided with an enemy and we both slowly floated up and out of the map.  Maybe the balls passed away and they went up to heaven.  My dog Spot can relate.

A lot of the gravity problems came in levels with the arrows, which have wind-tunnel like things that push you around.

A lot of the gravity problems came in levels with the arrows, which are wind-tunnel like things that push you around.

Of course, the glitches worked to my advantage as much as they screwed me over.  They’re never so prevalent that you’ll rely on them to complete stages.  They’re happy accidents when they work for you, and swear-generating events when they cause you to unfairly die.  Then again, maybe I’m focusing on physics stability a little too much.  It reality, the gravity reached insane weirdness maybe 10% of the time.  It never feels completely right, but you learn to live with it.  Best of all, right as the game seems like it might be ready to run out of ideas, it ends.  I’ve seen a lot of games that don’t have that kind of restraint.  So yea, I really enjoyed Marble Masters: The Pit.  It’s an original idea executed relatively well.  The gravity sucks, but gravity seems to have it in for me anyway, always making me trip and shit.  No, it’s not my fault.  It’s gravity’s.  Look at it, just existing there, smug force of nature, thinking it’s holding the world together.  Who needs it?  Well I dontja;utiqjgqghakl;nag

DAMN YOU GRAVITY!  I hate you!  I don’t care if you make YouTube worthwhile!

xboxboxartMarble Masters: The Pit was developed by Polyart

80 Microsoft Points look forward to such sequels as Marble Masters: Bell Tower, Marble Masters: The Armory, and Marble Masters: Shang Tsung’s Throne Room in the making of this review.

IGC_ApprovedMarble Masters: The Pit is Chick Approved and ranked on the Indie Gamer Chick: Leaderboard, now sponsored by Smooth Operators: Call Center Chaos.  If you combined the two, it would be called Marble Operators, which sounds a little pornographic.  I bet Team Shuriken is working on it.

Oh, and I don’t actually have a dog named Spot.  Her name is Cherry, and she’s upset that she gets no love at this blog.  Hopefully this shout-out is enough to get her to stop pissing in my shoes while I sleep. 

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About Indie Gamer Chick
The most read Xbox Live Indie Game critic in the world.

2 Responses to Marble Masters: The Pit

  1. Tim Roast says:

    First paragraph: “Marble Masters: The Pit isn’t completely original.”

    Last paragraph: “Marble Masters: The Pit is an original idea.”

  2. Ben says:

    It is a nice game, however I find the timer sucks some of the fun out of it. I’m not a fan of timed games.

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