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7  |  Marble Blaster
basscomm , 1/10/2006 9:24:32 AM
Up until I went to my local EB Games and perused their bargain games section, I had never heard of Garage Games or any of their titles. Usually this is a bad sign, one that I should shy away from the game I'm looking at at make a run for the nearest nuclear fallout shelter.

Thankfully, this time it wasn't.

Marble Blaster is a difficult game to describe if you haven't played it or something similar. The game is marginally similar to Marble Madness or Super Monkey Ball, so if you've gotten some play time with one or both of those titles under your belt, you'll have a fairly good idea what's going on here. If not, take heart that it's not a terribly difficult game to just pick up and start playing. The gameplay goes something like this: you control a marble and have to navigate through the varying courses to the goal. Sounds simple and it is.

Controlling the marble is relatively straightforward. It uses the standard WASD control scheme used in many many PC games. The mouse is used to control the camera and the left mouse button uses the various powerups scattered throughout the courses. Easy enough.

The game looks about as good as can be expected. The marble has swirls of color on it, presumably so you can see it move. I don't really have anything to compare the courses floating in the sky to, of course, but the visuals are acceptably represented. There's not a lot of detail on any of the surfaces, which helps the system requirements for this game remain fairly low. This game will likely run on pretty well anything you have that has a 3D card in it.

One area where the game is a bit lacking is the sound. Sure, the game has sound, but... Here are some key points about it:

1. The music fits, but is just kind of there. Often it'll just blend into the background and I'll forget it's even there.
2. The marble exhibits the same sound no matter what surface it's rolling on. All the surfaces sound suspisiously like a marble rolling across a table.
3. There's an announcer (with an oddly deep voice) that announces what powerup you picked up each and every time you do so. (e.g. "SUPERBOUNCE!")

So what does all that add up to? We have a game with a simple, but not completely original concept that is engaging and easy to play. A game that doesn't look horrible and sounds decent. To me that sounds like a winner... Or at least one that was worth the $5.00.

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