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 boost the replay value. Players looking for something casual but with a bit of a challenge shouldn’t miss out on this game.

Gameplay: The game features 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 must maneuver marbles directly or indirectly are nothing new. Marble 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.

Marble 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 complete all the concept levels and the prototypes before reaching the final product. This also means that boards start as cardboard designs before turning into wood, metal, and electronic components.

Initially, the controls are rather tricky 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 the marble can fall off the board. However, the physics used in the game aren’t entirely 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 must also beat the strict time limits. 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 must collect red stars placed in more challenging locations on the board can also be unlocked, and a challenge mode where the marble moves twice as fast. These all add to the game’s longevity, which means that even though there are only 24 levels, mastering them can take quite a while. The 1.1 update for the game added a level creator that is unlocked after completing all 24 levels. 

The first few levels in the game are pretty straightforward, but the boards become more intricate as the challenge ramps up. 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. Zooming in and out for a better look at the surroundings is also possible.

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. Regarding audio, the game doesn’t disappoint either and features relatively upbeat tracks to accompany the action.

Although 24 levels don’t sound like much, Marble Muse provides decent value for money. 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 to shave seconds off your best time is a lot of fun. The inclusion of a level editor also gives players a reason to come back for more.

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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