|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Hudson||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Hudson / Konami||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 17, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The Kororinpa series is back with a bigger and better title. The continuation of the Wii's original marble saga, comparable with Super Monkey Ball and Marble Madness as far as gameplay, is definitely a step-up from the previous title. I really enjoyed Kororinpa: Marble Mania and still play it to this day, but it's possible that after playing Marble Saga: Kororinpa, I might not go back to the old one. The addition of new stages (150 total), more attention to detail, controls that are really up-to-snuff, level editor, 4-player competition, and even some Wi-Fi features make this one a winner.
This doesn't mean everyone will love it. In fact, this game will cause two different kinds of reactions: there will be players who can't get enough of these neatly-designed and colorful stages full of tricks and treacherous paths, and then others who will just become so irritated they won't be able to get past the first few stages. Ultimately, you have to figure out if this is your kind of game, but I'm here to make things a little easier. Read on and find out what this sequel has to offer.
When you start the game, you'll be able to choose between Easy gameplay, Normal, or Balance Board. The maze-like stages are tailored for these categories, making each of them an equally engaging experience. Since the use of the Balance Board is a new addition, I'll start with that one. It's certainly not a perfect alternative to the regular Wii Remote controls, mainly because of the commitment to play while standing up and using your body weight to control the ball. However, it works really well and makes you move your body a little, which is always a good thing, especially if you spend your days anchored to a chair. Because this type of control is markedly more challenging than the standard set-up, the first few levels are a little easier; this way everyone gets the hang of it before the level of difficulty ramps up. For those who are up to the challenge, there are thirty stages in the Balance Board mode.
The Easy and Normal modes are divided into several different worlds, each with their own theme, and they're also tied up to a story line. Players are tasked with helping Anthony the Ant to collect parts of the Stump Temple and eventually obtain the legendary Golden Sunflower Seed. The story is on the light side and doesn't come with pretty cutscenes or anything like that, but it's cute and will engage young players at least. They probably won't be able to get past the first few stages though, so keep in mind that this title is mostly for older kids, teens, and adults, though that doesn't mean children can't watch you drive the ball through these curvy and vibrant worlds full of imagination.
The level design is undoubtedly the best aspect of this title. As you advance through the different world levels, the challenges become greater. At first you'll just deal with tricky ramps, curvy walls, and narrow surfaces, but soon new elements will be introduced, such as magnetic rails, dodgy elevators, holes, and spiral tubes that lead to unexpected endings, slippery or bumpy surfaces, conveyor belts, pinball bumpers, and a whole lot more. Cool themes like the candy world, desert lands, the city, or the neighbor's house present a great variety of textures, unique elements, and new challenges. There's more attention to detail than in the previous title, and everything but the backgrounds looks very sharp and, above all, very colorful.
In each level you'll collect orange crystals. They're a requirement in order to beat the stage, so you should make sure to grab them all before reaching the goal. There's also one Kororin Capsule to be found in most stages, and these are typically placed in a harder-to-reach area. They're worth collecting, as they'll unlock temple parts and pieces (a.k.a. junk) that you can then use in the level editor. I found this level editor to be quite intuitive. If you practice, you may become an expert at level creation, being able to move parts up and down, from side to side, rotate them, and much more. I'm sure I would have great fun creating my own levels and presenting new challenges for my friends at home or sending them new maps via Nintendo Wi-Fi. Hudson also promises to offer new stages for download from time to time.