Home > Impressions, Video Games, Xbox 360 > Impressions: Marble Blast Ultra (Xbox 360)

Impressions: Marble Blast Ultra (Xbox 360)

One of the less noticed additions to the new Xbox 360 dashboard update yesterday is the new “Arcade Hits” section in Xbox Live Arcade. The section isn’t really anything special, it’s basically the “Platinum Hits” for XBLA games, where the games are offered for discounted prices. The initial batch of games are Zuma, Small Arms, Lumines Live!, and Marble Blast Ultra. Of those games, the only one I didn’t own was Marble Blast Ultra, so I went ahead and spent 400 points and proceeded to try the game out.
MBU is pretty straightforward. You control a marble through a series of stages trying to get to the end point of each without falling into the abyss in order to beat the target time for the level. There are three difficulty levels, with 20 stages in each.

If this sounds familiar, then you have probably played Sega’s Super Monkey Ball series. In fact, it’s hard to play MBU without comparing the two games. However, unlike in Super Monkey Ball, you actually control the ball, and not the stage. This gives the player much more control over the ball which results in fewer mistakes. You also have the ability to jump and pick up special items that you can activate at any time, such as a spring to make you jump higher or a rocket that gives the ball a burst of speed.

The graphics are nice and colorful, but with a few exceptions the level design is bland, uninspired, and simple. Most of the first 30 or so levels that I have played have been bizarrely easy. There is also very little variety. Super Monkey Ball would often feature bonus levels or boss battles. Marble Blast Ultra is simple A to B gameplay at all times, though sometimes you will have to collect gems to unlock the exit.

The game does feature a multiplayer mode, but there aren’t many people playing it. The goal is to collect more gems than the other players. It actually works very well, and it’s fun knocking people of ledges while racing towards gems. I look forward to playing this mode more, but I doubt it will get any easier to find matches online.

Marble Blast Ultra is a great game for just sitting back and relaxing. Anyone who remotely liked Super Monkey Ball should definitely give this game a try, just don’t expect anything new or varied outside of multiplayer.

  • Developer: GarageGames
  • Publisher: GarageGames
  • Release Date: 1/25/06
  • Price: 400 Microsoft Points ($5)
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  1. December 6, 2007 at 10:52 PM

    Without Monkeys, it’s just not the same. šŸ˜‰

    Definitely a solid title. GarageGames is awesome.

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