Kororinpa Marble Mania
A long time ago, when Wheel of Fortune was still hip, I spent long boring afternoons with my grandparents. The smell of muff, dusty seats and rarely used orange glasses was enlighted by smoky pieces of wood coming from one small toy. That toy, a box with little, to be avoided, holes, pieces of wood that formed a maze, a square piece of glass to cover this all, and one metal ball was the only piece of entertainment around.
Just like then, you can balance and roll that ball past obstacles, with the big difference that this time you’re holding a Wii-mote. The intuitive way this is done is amazing and the simplicity of the controls the perfect example of how Nintendo wants to keep everyone gaming.
Kororinpa is the name of the thing, eventhough the game is easier to be described as “roll-the-ball”. The gameplay is as simple as relaxing: pick your ball, choose the track, take a couple of juwels on the way and roll into the hole at the end. With a pleasant learning curve and the necessary checkpoints in the later levels this game lives on charm and the motion-based controls, not on challenge, options or extensiveness.
The physics are exact and realistic and the game reacts tight on your subtle movements. On top of that, the controls (you can’t control the camera btw but strangely enough this won’t bother you) allow a lot more possibilities to your surprise: a wall can suddenly become a floor and with a rapid wrist move you can have your ball floating through the air to later catch it again.
As realistic as the controls, so dreamy is the rest of the game. About 20 marbles, each with their own characteristics (quick, easy, sticky,…) and especially funny looks (pengiun, piglet or just brightly colored) make for some very playful tactical depth while the different stages shine in atmosphere, colors and variation. Therefore it’s all the more sad that nobody made any effort to have a widescreen option. On an HDTV everything looks scaringly muddy and blurred, something that only just gets compensated by the charm.
The music is equally sweet and although the sugar drips off it, the happy tunes will make a smile appear on the face of even the most hardcore gamer. With 50, there’s just enough levels present to make that smile not go away. Some unlockables and bronze, silver or gold medals depending on your best times give the game some replayability.
Kororinpa is a fun toy. Relaxing, refreshing by its original level design and addictive thanks to the excellent use of the controller it offers more than the honey sweet packaging would suggest. Too bad that we get a bit disappointed with the technical specs, but on the other hand this game isn’t meant for those looking for more than a couple of hours of balancing the ball.