There is joy to be found in the simple things, especially in gaming. Simple stories or gameplay mechanics can create a rather enjoyable experience. Marble games are the ultimate mix of simplicity and fun. One of my first experiences with marble platformers was Marble Blast Ultra, back in 2006. It was a game that was simple, yet tons of fun when rolling through the multiple levels. Recently, a spiritual successor to Marble Blast hit the Nintendo Switch. Marble It Up plays like it’s predecessors, yet uses modern technology to its advantage.
Marble It Up is a platformer with time trial aspects. Your goal is to race from one end of the 40 tracks to the other as fast as you can. Some tracks ask you to go from point A to point B. Others require you to collect a specific amount of diamonds before reaching the exit. All tracks can be repeated as often as you like while you work on rising up the leaderboards. Much like its predecessors, Marble It Up is simple, but it is wildly entertaining.
Much like other marble games, Marble It Up has tracks that twist, turn, and defy gravity. Tracks come in all shapes and size. Plus, the objectives change on a pretty regular basis. Each chapter will contain multiple racing (getting from A to B) and diamond collection tracks. And each track does not take a lot of time unless you search for trophies that unlock rewards. You could easily complete a track within minutes of starting. If the level design doesn’t entertain you, then the power-ups will.
Some of the track designs require you to use power-ups in order to platform and race to the end. There are speed boosts and jump power-ups that will help you finish the tracker a whole lot faster. Pause buttons will slow time, which is vital in case you mess up. The number of power-ups is pretty generous, but you may need some strategy to reach them without it affecting your overall time. And there are many instances where the track is not smooth, so racing at full speed towards a powerup may end up working against you, like if you hit a bump and launch yourself off the track.
Again, the concept and execution are simple but very effective. In an impressive use of technology, the developers behind Marble It Up have the game running at 60 FPS. It runs at this framerate both in the dock and while playing it portable. I love this feature because of how smooth it makes everything you do. Racing on a straightaway looks fast at 60 FPS, and that makes things a lot more enjoyable. Above all else, this is a racing platformer, so the framerate adds to the intensity of each race. The crisp and responsive controls only add to how well Marble It Up was put together.
As is, Marble It Up is very fun. The only major problem is how barebones it feels. At launch, you have a robust single player with a leaderboard. When I received this code for review, I received word that additional multiplayer modes are coming, including a Baller Royale mode. I think it would have been beneficial to have these modes ready at launch. I understand that there is some pressure to make a release date. But man, it would be so awesome to see how a Battle Royale with marbles would work!
The graphics are appropriately colorful and look great on the Switch. And the soundtrack is full of pep and rhythm. Overall, the game is very pleasing to look at and sounds fantastic. And besides the colorful tracks, you can unlock a ton of designs for your marble.
While barebones at launch, Marble It Up is a very fun and simple platformer. There is plenty of variety in each of the levels and they are a blast to race through. It’s a great game if you are looking for something leisurely and relaxing to play. Just hurry and give us those added modes!
Note: GameOctane editor Ryan Welch received a digital code from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.
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Simple, yet fun
Controls very well
Nicely designed levels
Bare bones at launch