Momentum is an indie game developed by Projectile Entertainment based near Salt Lake City. The inspiration for this game is a mix between the dial controlled marble labyrinth and the complicated handheld marble maze games. Immediately after starting up the game, players are given a short tutorial as part of the first few levels. Each level gets progressively harder, showing you a new function on the controller and an appropriate level designed to utilize that function.
The controls are very simple. One analog stick controls the camera view, one controls the the maze, one trigger applies a break on the marble, and the other trigger gives a boost to the movement of the maze. The simplicity of the controls are a strength for this game, but I wish I would have been able to remap the controls to switch the functions of the break and boost, or even the sticks for maze and/or camera control.
Level design is a solid strength for this game. The levels get progressively more difficult and more imaginative. Levels are also grouped into stages. Each stage has its own theme and music to distinguish it from the other stages, but those are only the surface elements that separate them. The true differences in the stages come from adding variety in gameplay mechanics. Stage 1 is designed around flat tracks which twist, turn, and bend while you navigate the inside and outside of each track. Stage 2 levels are similar with mostly flat tracks but they add switches and mechanics. Some switches have timers leaving you only a few seconds to complete sections of the maze before access is closed, some switches activate mechanical obstacles which can help and hurt you as you progress through each maze. Stage 3 is by far the most difficult. The flat track from the previous two stages is only a bridge connecting between 3D obstacles which include half pipes, domes, and other round surfaces. Navigating these obstacles was extremely difficult and fairly frustrating for myself.
Game play is smooth and functions really well. I didn’t run into any clipping issues or errors that kept me from completing the obstacles that were in front of me. Even as the maze twists and turns, if I don’t move the camera, and portions of the track start to cover my marble an “x-ray” view auto activates and I’m able to keep track of my movement until I can readjust the view for the next section of the maze. All these features make the game easily accessible for players to move through the levels and stages. However, this is absolutely 100% a skills based game so it’s not for the faint of heart or those who frequently rage quit as a result of a halt in level progression. In order to encourage replay-ability and extra challenge for gaming masochists each level is timed and medals are awarded to level completion within certain timed windows. As levels are completed, and medals are earned, players earn achievements and new skins for their marble.
Related to level designs are the backgrounds and music that are related to each stage. The music and sound design is nice but can get fairly repetitive in longer play sessions, or even more annoying when stuck on a level or even a tough section of the maze; for me the music then became a small source of frustration. The backgrounds are two dimensional and are pleasant to look at, but like the music in long sessions or frustrating sections a change in background could be a nice change of pace as levels progress.
Overall the game is entertaining and above all else challenging. The concept is executed very nicely. It would be nice if the game had a local or even online multiplayer modes; something like challenges and races, or even a team mode where players could switch back and forth sharing progress through level completion. For anyone looking to challenge and/or hone their stick skills this is definitely a good way to do it, because many of these levels require exact precision.