If Marble It Up! succeeds at anything it’s pure addictive fun. This instant favourite clicked right into place for me as soon as that first level booted up. I’m going to make it very clear I am completely in love with this game. There is just so much to appreciate here and it’s safe to say I thoroughly enjoyed my time playing it.
One thing that really stood out as soon as the game started is the graphics. Marble It Up! is so bright and colourful it just jumps right out of the screen both in handheld and docked mode. No matter how much I play this game it doesn’t lessen the impact of the graphical style and never stops looking like an absolute dream. This is paired really well with a catchy, futuristic soundtrack which I find myself humming along to as I play.
Marble It Up!’s controls are simple but effective. I never felt like a death was caused by the control scheme rather than my own mistakes. Controlling the marble is easier or harder depending on the speed that it is travelling. Move too slowly and carefully and it’ll never make it up hills and the high-score will be out of reach but move to quickly and the marble will fail to turn corners and launch itself into oblivion. The camera controls also feel very fluid and natural so I was able to keep up with any twists and turns without the risk of losing track of the marble.
Throughout the game there are power-ups lying around that will help to finish each course. However, these power-ups need a moderate level of skill to operate and can definitely ruin a run if used incorrectly. For instance, I found if I used a super jump power up while moving forward too fast my marble launches itself more horizontally than vertically and I’ll fail to reach the high ledges that I intended to. In this way, power-ups can either help or hinder you and it adds a further layer of challenge where I felt my skills were being tested on another level.
The level design in Marble It Up! is awesome. The game never feels like it repeats itself and the necessary mix of speeding to the finish and slower control over the marble in platforming sections is well balanced. This game, frankly, needs to be commended on levels like Warp Core which looks so small and simple on the outside but actually contain so many different layers and truthfully stumped me many times over.
Another aspect of Marble It Up! that truly impressed me is something that a lot of games in the same genre struggle with; the difficulty curve. The game starts as easy as it possibly can be and with every level comes one more ounce of challenge which builds up constantly and consistently until the end of the game. It’s so satisfying that each level is a little bit harder than the last rather than having random jumps and spikes in difficulty which can feel very jarring and frustrating. There is also a setting for a “Training Mode” which essentially turns off the ability to unlock rewards but lets the player rewind time if mistakes are made.
“If Marble It Up! had more levels then I would struggle to find any real issues with it”
I have one issue with Marble It Up! and it hurts me so. The game is simply too short. I was enjoying the last couple of levels in Chapter 4 so much and the game had reached a level of challenge that gave me a relatively tough time. I was excited to see what this wonderfully crafted experience would take me next. Then it just abruptly ended and I was left asking myself “wait… is that it?”. I scrolled through the level selection screen thinking I must have missed one level needed to unlock Chapter 5 but I was actually done. I finished all of the levels in the game in two painfully short sittings. This being said though, if Marble It Up! had more levels then I would struggle to find any real issues with it as a whole.
Although it doesn’t take very long to finish the game, there are plenty of other things to keep you playing. There are many different marbles you can unlock by getting good time scores and by exploring levels to find hidden trophies. This extra exploration feature had me pacing back and forth through levels over and over again, searching every nook and cranny for that hidden collectable to unlock another cool marble. These marbles act in place of the trophy system that the Nintendo Switch doesn’t have and kudos to anyone who can unlock them all. Similarly, the online leaderboard feature adds some really fun endgame challenges. You can watch a replay of runs at the top of the scoreboard, play it frame-by-frame, or even race against a ghost of the score holder to try and improve yourself. I’ve found many times that by following the techniques of others, I can get better scores in levels where I couldn’t trim any more time off on my own.
Marble It Up! is available now in North America on the Nintendo Switch.
Thanks to Bad Habit Productions for providing us a digital review copy of Marble It Up! on Nintendo Switch.