This is an interesting take on the whole strategy marble genre. It’s a very niche sort of thing, and not one we see on consoles too often. It leans into puzzle solving too since you need to coordinate ball movements to produce the most proficient strikes. It somewhat reminds me of Sparkle, at least along the similar lines of design.
The concept is different here since it provides some match-3 type inspirations where the goal is to eliminate your opponent. This will be the AI through story mode for the most part, but a local two player match option is present as well. For the most part it’s a fairly enjoyable journey with a concept that keeps you engaged in wanting to do just one more level. I will note, that due to the origins of this one that it can get a bit grueling later on as you progress.
That aside, it’s largely enjoyable and a neat source of puzzle solving. You’re trying to get the right combo, create chains and understand the flow of the balls. With that, it seems your opponent gets particularly set matches that they’re programmed to use and that could cause later frustration. For the most part you should move through levels fairly effectively, without having too many issues.
You do get some quality time out of this one prior to it feeling as though it’s too amped up. It mostly comes down to making sure you’re getting those upgrades in and finding the right strategies to eliminate the opponents. Now with that, the game really lacks any sort of real narrative. I honestly didn’t expect this type of game to have one, so that’s not the biggest deal to me. It does provide a somewhat grim look when it comes to the story themes, at least I thought so.
I found the visuals to be rather charming, and magical. They have a solid level of detail and quality to them. They’re very straight forward yet quite unique across the levels you play. At times the balls will be straight across, at other moments they wind across the screen.
Dynamic, mostly different the whole way through which is nice. You do get some further variations with special mid-change levels where you need to stop the ball chains from expanding too far. These act as ways to split up the journey to different areas or to introduce new enemies that you’re fighting against.
When it comes to chaining the balls you’ll be matching the various colors to produce different impacts. These various categories are also ones you upgrade with the points you earn under the three star categories that exist within the game’s individual levels. You get options such as red for attacking, purple for charging or green ones for health.
There are others too, but I’ll leave them to you to discover should you hop into play the game. It gradually introduces these balls as you work through it, tutorial wise it’s fairly easy to understand. There’s not necessarily a whole lot replayability in this one, but you can go back to make sure you get the max points on past levels if needed.
Marble Duel is an interesting puzzle game focusing on the match-3 formula across a wide range of levels that might leave a bit of a harsh taste if you make far enough along. That’s of course in regards to the increasing difficulty, but honestly it’s decent enough for the most part of playing through it.
They’re just levels to work through, where you need to balance the abilities and to make the right moves. It’s not necessarily the type of thing you’ll feel a must have need to complete conclude so I don’t think there’s any shame in calling it quits once you’ve had enough. You still should get a number of hours of play while working through this.
You can even go further past that point if grab someone for local play. I do like the dynamics of back and forth dueling, that was neat here. It’s definitely different enough, though I wish they would have focused more on a story aspect and had worked on pushing it further away from its mobile origins.
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Marble Duel Review on Xbox Series X
Review Code Provided by HeroCraft