Kororinpa: Marble Mania (Wii)

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Sunday, April 1, 2007

Graphics: 7.00
Sound: 7.50
Gameplay: 8.00
Replays: 6.00

Kororinpa is the latest take on the Marble Madness/Super Monkey Ball style of gameplay, but this time makes use of the Wii Remote and its capabilities. As players can tilt each of the various stages, the developers have come up with some very inventive ones to play through. Unfortunately, even if the concept is exactly what the Wii was suited for, the slightly limited replay value and plain presentation keep Kororinpa from being the absolute must have it could’ve been.

Right from the beginning, players will be able to tell that Kororinpa just doesn’t have that much to it. While the stages are extremely interesting, there are only 40 of them and there is no set time limit (time only determines if you get a trophy for that level or not). Instead, players collect crystals on each level in order to activate the warp area that will allow them to move on to the next one. There are unlockable marbles and characters (such as a rolling penguin), but players will find that each of these are unlockable fairly quickly. There is also a head to head mode that can be used for two player action, but this has limited replay value as well.

One extremely unique aspect of Kororinpa is how the different marble characters actually handle differently from one another. Some of them go faster or slower depending on their size, and this helps add a tiny bit of depth to the game. It is nice to see that the developers made the unlockables actually add something to the game, rather than being there simply for show. In addition, the developers also took some steps to make Kororinpa a relaxing experience. Not only are there branching paths on many of the levels, but if your marble falls off the maze you won’t have to completely restart. The crystals that were already collected will not respawn, so you won’t have to keep repeating a segment constantly. This is an extremely positive aspect, as the later levels can be extremely devious.

Technically speaking Kororinpa is solid, but lacks personality. Everything is bright and bursting with color, but there are a limited number of themed backgrounds that the game bases its mazes around. Also, the levels are extremely easy to tilt and move around, but the camera can sometimes obstruct your view or not show enough of the road ahead. This can result in some accidental restarts, but is not a major issue. However, the major issue with this game would be its lack of character. Sure, there are some cute marble characters to unlock and whimsical music and sound effects (which could potentially get stuck in some player’s heads), but there isn’t much else. There just needs to be a bit more to this title in order for it to compete with the likes of Mercury and Super Monkey Ball.

It may not last quite as long as some gamers may want it to, but Kororinpa is a fun and slightly whimsical experience. While one can’t help but feel that this is just a bit of an expanded tech demo, it may be worth a pick up for gamers sick of bloated third party titles that are simply ports of existing titles. If you’ve been a fan of Mercury or Super Monkey Ball don’t let this one slip through the cracks, definitely consider giving it a shot at some point. Kororinpa may not have quite enough content to it to be worth the suggested retail price as of right now, but it could definitely become a sleeper hit later in the year when it’s price is cheaper and there is another drought of new Wii titles.

Overall Rating: 7.00

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