Kororinpa (Wii) Review

By David Kelly 24.11.2012 6

Review for Kororinpa on Wii

When the Wii first arrived on the gaming scene there were many promises of new gaming experiences arising through the use of the new control scheme. It has been quite a few years since the initial excitement and potential associated with the Wii console's appearance -- and now that the Wii is nearing the end of its very successful life, many may feel that while the promise of new experiences was delivered, it wasn't perhaps delivered in the volumes that were expected. Quite a few early titles did show promise, but efforts gradually petered out; even Nintendo itself produced quite a few titles with traditional control schemes in the end.

Kororinpa, developed by Hudson, arrived early on in the Wii console's life to little fanfare. It is a very simple game and a few games similar to it were released as WiiWare but without either the technical excellence or charm of Kororinpa. The aim of the game is to roll a marble through a level to the goal, picking up a set number of jewels on the way. This type of gameplay was implemented very successfully on GameCube with Super Monkey Ball, but Kororinpa uses the Wii Remote's tilt sensors instead of the GC's analogue stick to tilt the whole level so as to move the marble toward the goal.

The control scheme leaves the GC's stick in the dust, which is no mean feat. The Wii Remote proves itself to be extremely sensitive and an awful lot of time must have been spent on the physics of this game. What is even more impressive is the range of different marbles and balls that are unlockable and behave in a different way. For example, there is a football (soccer ball!) that is very bouncy and makes certain levels far more difficult. Each marble/ball has its own level of acceleration, speed, bounce and 'slidiness' and they do all feel really different.

Screenshot for Kororinpa on Wii

There are some suitable for people with a very low level of skill that move very slowly while others are simply novelty balls that make comedy noises such as the panda and frog balls. It is all done with no lack of panache -- both technically and aesthetically. The default marble started with is actually one of the best and proves a great place to start -- players will probably use it for some time until their expertise grows before moving onto the more sensitive and challenging ones.

Kororinpa is split up into several themed worlds that have their own unique look -- for example, in one world candy and cake themed levels must be navigated around, while in another the levels are set in a city with the paths looking like little roads. The graphics are pleasing but not mind-blowing -- it is all done to a pretty high standard and there is enough variety in the levels and the different types of obstacle to keep the interest up. The camera works pretty well most of the time too -- making sure players have a good view of things, but there is the odd time in the trickier levels where straining to figure out what way to tilt the level to move in the right way is -- but it never feels unfair.

Screenshot for Kororinpa on Wii

Best times are recorded and there are trophies to go for, and gaining good enough times for gold trophies will unlock hidden levels. Levels also have a green gem to find, which unlocks more secret levels. The game schedules the unlocking of content in the form of music tracks, balls and levels to keep the interest up to but, ultimately, there aren't a huge number of levels. Even counting the Mirror Mode there are only around 100 levels. The later space-themed stages are really tough but it feels as if the game could have benefitted from getting a little bit tougher earlier to improve the lifespan. Still, those trophy times will keep players who enjoy time-trial gaming coming back.

There is also a two-player split screen race mode that is well executed but it has gathered some criticism because the balls don't collide -- but such a mechanic would result in pretty chaotic and ultimately frustrating gameplay and the decision to avoid collisions is probably the correct one.

Screenshot for Kororinpa on Wii

Kororinpa feels a bit on the light side in terms of content but it partially make up for it in terms of sheer enjoyment and the general charm inherent in its presentation. This charm extends to the music as well - the themed levels have their own sets of tracks and they are very enjoyable so adding to the overall theme of the game. Some of the tunes in the secret levels are modern remixes of old Hudson NES shmups so those will be fun to spot for those old enough to remember games like Hector '87.

Overall, Kororinpa is a sweet, charming game with a killer physics engine that delivers a really enjoyable experience. It caters for all levels of skill but it is a pity that there aren't more levels. It features one of the best uses of the Wii Remote in the entire library -- the subtlety of the control is extremely impressive, and so has to be recommended.

Screenshot for Kororinpa on Wii

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Unfilled potential pretty much sums up Kororinpa. Such a great job has been made by Hudson Soft on the physics and control in this game that the developer seems to have run out of the energy required to build a large number of levels in which to make full use of the engine.

Also known as

Kororinpa: Marble Mania









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (4 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

This was one of my favourites when the Wii first launched, but I agree that it certainly had its flaws. There were times where I simply couldn't see the ball properly because of the way the level was being moved around.

Thankfully the sequel removed any issues and still remains a superb game today!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

This is one of the games I always get out when showing someone the Wii for the first time - great fun. Smilie

This game made a lasting impression on me, I've yet to try the sequel though.

If you enjoyed this, you'll absolutely adore the sequel - there is SO much extra content and any of the little camera issues in this are almost completely rectified. You should be able to find it cheap now, so I highly recommend finding it...

...davyK is working a review of the sequel, so you might be interested in reading that first Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Adam Riley said:
If you enjoyed this, you'll absolutely adore the sequel - there is SO much extra content and any of the little camera issues in this are almost completely rectified. You should be able to find it cheap now, so I highly recommend finding it...

...davyK is working a review of the sequel, so you might be interested in reading that first Smilie

:O How... how did I not know there was a sequel?! *runs to Amazon*

EDIT: It's actually pretty expensive... :/ And is called 'Marbles! Balance Challenge'? O_o

( Edited 27.11.2012 19:14 by Ikana )

Smilie Sticking to Konami's weird naming convention in Europe (Eledees instead of Elebits?! :eekSmilie The sequel was called Marble Saga Kororinpa in the US, but for Europe the 'Kororinpa' part was dropped for some strange reason.

How to build a new brand! Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

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