Marble Muse
Gameplay 8
Graphics 7
Sound 7

Marble Muse is a deceptively simple looking game, but thanks to the challenging controls and excellent level layouts it is actually quite addictive. It might only feature 24 levels, but the additional challenges and secrets definitely boosts the replay value. Players looking for something casual, but with a bit of a challenge shouldn’t miss out on this game.

Gameplay: Well-designed boards and addictive gameplay.

Graphics: Although not stellar the visuals look decent enough.

Sound: The upbeat audio is a good match for the gameplay

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Marble Muse

Developer: Ketos Games | Publisher: Ketos Games | Release Date: 2015 | Genre: Casual / Indie / Simulation | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

From Marble Madness to Super Monkey Ball, games where players have to maneuver marbles either directly or indirectly are nothing new. Mable Muse is an indie take on the genre, where the goal is to roll a marble around different boards while collecting stars. Moving the marble is accomplished by tilting the boards, but as it is a physics based game, care must be taken not to drop off the board entirely. It is a straightforward concept, but done really well and quite addictive to boot.

Mable Muse features 24 levels that are based on the theme of an inventor designing and testing different board layouts while building a pinball machine. The levels are split into three groups, so players must first complete all the concept levels, then the prototype ones before reaching the final product. This also means that boards start out as cardboard designs before turning into wood, metal and electronic components.

Initially the controls are rather trick as the movement of the marble can only be controlled by manipulating the roll and pitch of the board. The controls are rather sensitive, so it takes a delicate touch to maneuver around or across some of the pathways. All the courses are suspended in mid-air, above the inventor’s workshop, which means it is possible for the marble to fall off the board. However, the physics used in the game aren’t completely realistic, so there is usually time to flip or tilt the board in such a way that it is possible to catch the marble again.

Simply collecting all the stars scattered across the boards is enough to complete the levels, but players aiming for bronze, silver and gold medals need to beat the strict time limits as well. There are even “secret” marbles hidden on the boards which can be used instead of the default marble when found and collected. In addition, an extra mode where players have to collect red stars that are placed in more challenging locations on the board can also be unlocked as well as a challenge mode where the marble moves twice as fast. These all add to the longevity of the game, which means despite the fact that there are only 24 levels, mastering all of them can take quite a while. Even better, the developer recently announced that a level editor will be added to the game, which is great news for creative players.

The first few levels in the game are quite straightforward, but as the challenge ramps up the boards become more intricate. Additional elements, such as bouncing pads, ball launchers, bumpers, flippers and ramps are gradually increased and later levels also feature moving objects to contend with. Some of the boards even feature maze-like layouts with multiple levels and holes. Thankfully, no matter how elaborate the board designs become, it is always easy to follow the action. Anything that gets in the way of your view of the action automatically turns transparent to ensure that nothing is obscured. It is also possible to zoom in and out for a better look at the surroundings.

Although the visuals are rather simple, the texture details are good, and everything looks crisp and clear. Some more backgrounds would have been nice as everything takes place inside the workshop, but then again the focus is on the boards and not the background. When it comes to audio the game doesn’t disappoint either and features plenty of rather upbeat tracks to accompany the action.

Although 24 levels doesn’t sound like much Marble Muse actually provides decent value for money. Obviously players who only care about breezing through the levels will be done with the game in about two or three hours, but completing all the challenges is a different matter. The game also surprised us with how addictive it is and hunting down all the secret marbles or taking big risks just to shave seconds off your best time is a lot of fun. If the developer delivers on the promise of a level editor the game will turn into even more of a time sink.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP+
  • Processor: 2.0 GHz or higher
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: DirectX 9 or OpenGL 3 compatible video card
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Hard Drive: 720 MB available space
  • OS: Windows 7 or higher
  • Processor: Intel i5, AMD Athlon II 630, 2.8 GHz or higher
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000, NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450, ATI Radeon HD 4800, or higher
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Hard Drive: 720 MB available space
  • OS: OS X 10.7+
  • Processor: 2.0 GHz or higher
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: OpenGL 3 compatible video card
  • Hard Drive: 720 MB available space
  • OS: OS X 10.7+
  • Processor: Intel i5, 2.8 GHz or higher
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000, NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450, ATI Radeon HD 4800, or higher
  • Hard Drive: 720 MB available space
  • OS: Ubuntu 10.10+
  • Processor: 2.0 GHz or higher
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: OpenGL 3 compatible video card
  • Hard Drive: 720 MB available space
  • OS: Ubuntu 10.10+
  • Processor: Intel i5, AMD Athlon II 630, 2.8 GHz or higher
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000, NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450, ATI Radeon HD 4800, or higher
  • Hard Drive: 720 MB available space

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