The Mastermind Behind Tetris Returns: Marbly Review

If you happen to own an iOS device and would think to play a game on it, Marbly is your game. Its creator happens to be the man behind Tetris and this title proves to be just a easy to learn and difficult to master, with some unobtrusive free-to-play hooks.

If you happen to own an iOS device and would think to play a game on it, Marbly is your game. Its creator happens to be the man behind Tetris and this title proves to be just a easy to learn and difficult to master, with some unobtrusive free-to-play hooks.
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Alexey Pajitnov has made some great puzzle games over the years. His breakout hit, Tetris, is widely regarded as one of the best puzzle games. Pajitnov, in conjunction with WildSnake Software has released his first mobile title, Marbly. This title definitely lives up to its creator’s hype and is a game that deserves to be on every iOS device.  

 For this review I will be employing the MDA Framework developed by Robert Hunicke of thatgamecompany, Marc LeBlanc of Looking Glass fame, and Robert Zubek of Zynga. This framework is called MDA based off its core principal of what game design is, Mechanics, Dynamics, and Aesthetics.

Mechanics: the rules and concepts that formally specify the game as a system

 

In Marbly, the player is presented with a checkered board of various sizes and shapes with many colored dots on them. The player’s goal is to maneuver one of the colored dots so that it will line up horizontally, vertically or diagonally with at least two dots of the same color. Dots can be moved much like the queen in chess, in any direction as many spaces as possible before another dot is in the way.

Then, when dots line up, they will be removed, when all dots are removed, the level is complete. As in most mobile games these days, Marbly is a free-to-play game with ways that players can purchase a virtual currency to help them play the game. This virtual currency is Coins (original, I know) which the player can use to purchase hints, move redos, puzzle restarts, and solvers. 

Dynamics: the run time behavior of the game as a system, and its players

Marbly’s free-to-play mechanics are not in-your-face at all. They are placed in the game to force the player to truly think before spending their coins or help actions. The player is given plenty of the coins just through playing the game, and with the many daily challenges the game offers, players can acquire Coins when they need them to solve a puzzle. The game’s match-3 mechanic can sound overplayed and simplistic, but with the design of the levels, the team at WildSnake with Pajitnov have made each level a great brain teaser. 

Aesthetics: the emotional responses evoked by the game dynamics.

The game’s look is definitely nothing to write home about, but the visual design conveys information in a perfectly simple way, adding to the games perceived simplicity. The game does have a soundtrack and some sound effects and cues, but they border between forgetful and annoying. While the game’s visual style and sound design are bland and nonexistent, the game’s puzzle design more than makes up for those shortcomings. 

Simply put, Pajitnov and Wildsnake have made a great puzzle game. Like many puzzle games before it, including Tetris, the visual and audio are not the most amazing, but placed to service the game’s highly enjoyable puzzles, making this a great mobile game.

Also be sure to check out SnakeAttackMike’s first impression with Marbly here!

 Play the game online now (requires Flash): http://www.shockwave.com/gamelanding/marbly.jsp

Get the game for iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/US/app/id646308179

If you happen to own an iOS device and would think to play a game on it, Marbly is your game. Its creator happens to be the man behind Tetris and this title proves to be just a easy to learn and difficult to master, with some unobtrusive free-to-play hooks.
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The Mastermind Behind Tetris Returns: Marbly Review

If you happen to own an iOS device and would think to play a game on it, Marbly is your game. Its creator happens to be the man behind Tetris and this title proves to be just a easy to learn and difficult to master, with some unobtrusive free-to-play hooks.

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About the author

AJMandula

Hi! I'm a game developer from Colorado working on a game, 5th beat for the OUYA. When I'm not working on my own games, I am playing what I can on my PC, 3DS, Vita and iPhone.