Overall Score 67%
3D Magnetic Marbles
3D Magic Marbles is a puzzle game that's a bit like Lemmings. A stream of marbles moves in a particular direction from a particular square on a futuristic chess board. As player you must place various tiles in the path of the marble stream to affect the marbles. Arrows for example will send the marble stream in the direction indicated. Lead enough marbles to the exit and the level is complete.
As the title suggests, the game is 3D in a forced perspective viewpoint. The graphics are not very attractive and lack animation, but get the job done. It is easy to distinguish between the different tile types that must be placed in the marble stream. There are a number of graphics options, including resolution and screen depth but the relative crudeness of the textures makes the default 800x600 perfectly acceptable.
There is no music and not much sound. You get a bugle call as the marbles march but not much else and no event noises for mouse clicks and menu selections. More sound would have been nice.
Unlike Lemmings, the tiles are in strict order and not selectable. This makes the puzzles a little more challenging. You can preview the level before you play, and you get a few seconds to place tiles before the marbles roll. Some traps move which requires placements to be timed. Some levels have higher or lower floors but multi-storey tiles do not occur.
There are a few notable problems. It is difficult to see which square the cursor is over and I often placed things just below the square I wanted. There is no undo or quit either... the quit being very important because marbles can easily get stuck in infinite loops and they don't seem to realise. I stabbed Escape but nothing happened. In the end I had no option other than Ctrl-Alt-Delete twice to reset the PC. I could have pressed P, U, R, K then Q to reset the level but that wasn't very intuitive.
A built in level editor and a random level option are supplied, and there are lots of types of tile to keep the game interesting as progress is made. There are some presentation problems but the central idea works well and there are enough game play enhancements to keep the game interesting. Not Lemmings, but worth a look.
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