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Manic Marble 3 for iPad

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If you’re like me then you’re a big fan of the ball and marble rolling genre of apps. Manic Marble 3 for iPad is a new edition to the rolling genre that offers the familiar look and feel of it’s preceding series of iPhone/iPod touch apps, but with 8 all new 3D levels on a much cleaner and larger iPad display. Roll your marble across tricky, multi-dimensional worlds, while racing against the clock, avoiding hard to miss obstacles, and jamming to some fast paced techno beats!

Created by Rich Olson, Manic Marble 3 for iPad is a truly challenging game. As you’d expect you quickly calibrate the app before getting started. Personally I recommend that you calibrate with your iPad exactly straight up and down. I tried out a few different methods and found this to be the best. It’s really easy to change your calibration as well. You can pause and do it in mid game if you want. The level selection menu doubles up as a tutorial. You need to roll your app to your unlocked level of choice. Obviously when you first start out only level 1 is unlocked, but you’re free to roll around a bit to get your bearings before picking a level.

Each level in the game is completely different. The number of obstacles, blind drops, and crazily sharp turns increase ten fold each time you advance. As I mentioned, I’m a big fan of this style of game, however I found myself struggling a bit. Personally I find the current sensitivity setting on the app to not be quite sensitive enough for my taste. I feel like my movements need to be more exagerated than necessary to make simple turns and changes of direction. This makes the game-play a little less enjoyable when tilting and turning the iPad so dramatically it makes it more difficult to see what’s coming next. I’d love to see a future update that includes the ability to adjust the sensitivity level so users can customize it to their preference.

I’m somewhat torn on this game. I played it non-stop for about 30 minutes the first time I picked it up, but as much as I wanted to like it I just felt like there were a few things that needed changing before I could be really into it. The lack of tilt and turn sensitivity was big for me as I found myself unable to make what I considered to be relatively simple maneuvers, even when using exaggerated motions. After falling off the track the game immediately starts you back fairly close to where you fell off. When this happened I found myself frequently being started in awkward positions. By the time I made an attempt to adjust, I was falling into darkness again. In my opinion, It’d be better if you were given a 3-2-1 countdown before you start you rolling again. This would give you enough time to react.

Overall Manic Marble 3 for iPad is an ok game. I think it has potential to be up there with other popular rolling games, but it definitely needs a little tweaking to really shine. The positives of the app are it’s graphics, in-game music, and the difficulty and length of its levels. They all seem to fit the app very well and certainly encourage you to keep playing. If some of the rough edges of this baby are smoothed out I can see it moving further up the list.

Pros:

  • Good graphics, 8 challenging levels, and speed inducing in-game music
  • Ability to custom calibrate for optimum fitting

Cons:

  • Lacks sensitivity; requires more exaggerated tilt/turn motion than I would like
  • Game restarts without a pause; often leads to repeated falling off the course

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