App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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The Marbians have crash-landed in Roswell (of course) and need to get home. Normally something like this would be relatively easy, only they've landed in an attic toybox and gotten themselves separated from their ships. What's a Marbian to do? Exactly what any diminutive spherical extra-terrestrial would do in this situation: hurl their body into things until they connect with their ride. Or bounce themselves unconscious, whichever comes first.
iOS users are no doubt familiar with games like this: cute, colorful visuals, a well-produced and appropriate soundtrack, a simple key gameplay mechanic, as well as the inescapable draw of scoring all three whatevers on each level so that they can brag to friends, unlock more levels or both. In The Marbians' case, the mechanic I'm referring to is the flickin' and a-rollin'. Each level is cleverly designed around the tiny aliens' ability to ricochet off of everything, often requiring players to fire them off at specific angles in order to bank around turns and avoid obstacles and hazards.
As with virtually all Cute & Colorful Mascot iOS games, The Marbians uses a three-tiered scoring system that correlates directly to nabbing items. In this case, moon rocks. Three of the little blue things are scattered around each level, and while merely completing a stage is usually fairly easy (except for that group in the third toy box), doing so and grabbing all of the rocks is anything but. It's exactly the kind of simple-yet-addictive structure that never fails to get its hooks in. That and the way the levels build upon themselves, steadily adding new elements like switches, oil slicks, a second Marbian and more make for yet another hard to put down game.
Of course, I could start picking apart all kinds of completely inconsequential "negatives" such as the little critters bouncing being a tad too sensitive at times, but there's really only one thing that kind of bugs me about The Marbians. Just one little nagging issue that doesn't so much frustrate me as it gives me pause to wonder "Why?" It's the way they pass out. I understand that all that rolling and bouncing takes its toll, but how come they pass out and become useless at certain times and not others? I know it would make things too easy if players could just fire them off, stop them mid-roll and fire again, but I can't figure out what actions will reduce them to a mere obstacle and what will allow them to keep going.
As I've said before, The Marbians has all the hallmarks of another classic (and lucrative) iOS title: It's vibrant, fun, addicting, adorable and a buck. Cute mascot puzzle game enthusiasts definitely need to check this one out. Just be aware that the full game has to be unlocked through a $0.99 in-app purchase.