Okay, it’s getting harder and harder to keep up with all of the great iPhone titles that I have to review. Every one of the games is addictive and could easily take up hours of my time, but I must move forward strongly and not get distracted. This time, I’ll be talking about Superstar Games’ Marble Merge, a game that is so profoundly addictive and strong for a debut title, that it plagues my interest as to what the developer will come up with next.
Marble Merge is available right now on the App Store for $0.99, and I highly suggest you get it before even starting the review. It’s just a matter of what’s fun, and the game is undoubtedly, unendingly, addictively fun. If you find yourself with spare time and have your iPhone/iPod Touch in hand, this dollar investment will go a long way for you. But I’m sure you’re wondering why, so here we go.
The premise is simple: blow up the marbles. The game contains 4 different groupings of modes: Normal, Hard, Survival, and Mini Games. In the Normal and Hard modes, you simply follow the direction in the excellently explained “How to Play” guide in the main menu, which will teach you how to rotate the marbles to your benefit and what the special marbles (e.g. spiked marble, shrinker marble, grey marble) do. Connecting the marbles is quick and simple and blowing them up is easy and rewarding. Of course, your expertise is challenged in the Hard and Survival modes, but the overall experience does not feel as if it gets old. If you remember, when I reviewed Gelex I mentioned that any game which utilizes the Tetris scheme ultimately cannot fail, and this game is yet another example. I found myself playing this while I was in line on Black Friday, camped out in a tent with several of my friends, enjoying the mechanics of this game repeatedly.
It’s very imperative for me to mention the mini-games because they’re some extraordinary fun. For the mini-games, which are little additions that truly help the overall product, to be available in addition to the main game modes for only $0.99, there’s not a bad thing to say. The three mini-games included are “Marble Magnet,” “Roto Match,” and “Marble Shooter.” Each contains a unique twist, like for “Marble Magnet,” you have to tap the incoming marbles 5 times in order to avoid them merging with the marble in the center (essentially you are protecting this marble), or “Marble Shooter” where you shoot incoming marbles in a very S.H.M.U.P. style mini-game. The inclusion of these mini-games makes this title extremely worthwhile.
For a puzzle game, Marble Merge is beautifully designed. This isn’t to say you’ll see the highest-res NVIDIA graphics, but the merging of the marbles or just the general shine on the marbles is crystal clear and effectively designed. The game’s presentation in general is great as well, right down to the main menu which you can navigate through clearly.
Explode marbles. Fin.
This is the only complaint I have, although it can be assuaged by the option of enabling or disabling the sound during start-up of the app. The problem to me is that when you lose the sound is incredibly loud (depending on how loud your settings are)…like abnormally loud and bothersome. Otherwise, the music and sound effects in general work tightly with the rest of the game’s interface.
And that’s that. I really liked this game and am still exploding marbles. If you’re a bargain shopper on the App Store, there’s just no way you can pass this up for $0.99. Congratulations, Superstar Games, you have a hit on your hands. Now it’s time to promote like madmen.
[The reviewer was received a free copy of the game for review purposes.]