If recent scientific studies are true, and playing video games improves your hand-eye-coordination and perception, then Marble Blast Mobile might give your brain a boost. After mastering the fine motor skills required to beat this game’s increasingly challenging mazes and courses, don’t be surprised to find that you can suddenly juggle, joust, and play the piccolo.
OK, OK, so maybe this game won’t grant you new abilities, outside of being really good at video games. But the satisfaction of steering your marble to the goal, after several minutes of intense concentration, will make you feel like you can do just about anything. And that sense of accomplishment comes with quite a bit of fun, too.
Choose your weapon.
In Marble Blast Mobile, you use tilt controls to roll a marble across a variety of twisted landscapes. Some levels require you to collect gems, but in others you just have to race to the end. While there have been many other ball-rolling games on the iPhone, the intuitive and adjustable tilt controls make Marble Blast Mobile one of the best of the bunch. Yes indeed: Marble Blast Mobile is one of those rare iPhone games where the tilt controls actually work better than the touch controls. In fact, we recommend staying away from the awkward joystick option altogether–you won’t need it.
Besides the controls, another reason to get your hands on this game is for the clever level design. Some of these stages are taken straight from the Xbox Live Arcade game Marble Blast Ultra, but all of them feel right at home on the iPhone. A level called “Spork in the Road” forces you to navigate narrow, winding pathways without a guard rail, while “Bowl” offers no danger of falling off the ledges, instead making you climb your marble over foothills. It’s possible to spend as much as an hour on some of the game’s 20 single player levels just trying to beat the time limit.
It’s plenty of fun just to roll casually around the levels, but you are also given a medal based on your time. A bronze medal or higher is required to unlock more than half of the game’s levels, so very early on the game forces you to stay focused. While this can be tough, it never feels impossible. The game looks great too, and each landscape is fully rendered without any pop-up. However, the framerate does tend to slow down just a bit when there’s too much activity.
The race-for-gems multiplayer mode is limited to LAN, and it seems to work just fine, provided you can get on the same wi-fi network with other iPhone owners who have bought the game. Global multiplayer has been promised for a future update, but even without it, the single-player game has plenty of content.
Even though the level of challenge is fairly high in Marble Blast Mobile, it never gets frustrating due to the excellent tilt controls. At $4.99, we can easily recommend this game to players of any skill level.