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Kororinpa: Marble Mania

by Aaron Kaluszka - April 4, 2007, 7:52 pm EDT
Total comments: 12


Balls to the wall action.

Inspired by the classic marble rolling game of Labyrinth, Kororinpa: Marble Mania invites players to roll marbles through various mazes and obstacle courses, using the Wii remote to tilt the entire playing field. Achieving a simple but fun concept, Kororinpa is an enjoyable experience perfectly suited for the Wii’s control scheme.

Kororinpa plays similarly to Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz, but with buttons facing exactly perpendicular to the ceiling as the remote’s neutral position. Players guide a ball through each course and must collect all of the crystals found within a level before reaching the goal. Falling off of the course, reaching the goal without collecting all of the crystals, or pressing A returns the ball to the start position. Players can reset position as many times as they want, but the clock will continue to tick.

Players can earn trophies on each level through quick completion times, and earning several will unlock bonus stages. Additionally, a single green crystal is found within each level, and collecting these gems also unlocks secret stages. A mirror mode is unlockable as well. An assortment of different marbles can also be earned, and each ball has its own control characteristics, which may make the clearing of a level easier or harder. Some, like the football, aren’t even spherical, and some balls include cute sound effects like cat meows.

Simply put, Kororinpa is the most tactile experience available on the Wii. With truly one-to-one controls, the boards move in concert to tilting of the remote flawlessly. From wall impacts to conveyor belt rumbling, the rumble feature of the remote truly makes you feel like you have your hand in the game. The physics are spot-on, and allow the ball to react to different materials and textures exactly as one would expect. The assortment of ball choices also provides different, but realistic control response. The sounds, both on screen and on the remote, perfectly complement the experience.

While play time is lengthened by the necessity of item collection, it takes some of the wind out of simply getting the ball to the goal as fast as possible. Course design varies; some courses are designed as survival obstacle courses, whereas others act more like mazes. More interesting levels require you to turn the entire course 90 degrees on its side, which opens paths that aren't apparent when the remote is level. In addition, some course elements move in response to tilting the remote while others move on their own.

Although the control is excellent, the lack of camera adaptation occasionally lets parts of the course obstruct your view of the ball, which can be frustrating when it’s already hard to judge distance. Additionally, if you’ve ever played the original Labyrinth, you’ve probably attempted flinging the ball over walls as a short-cut. With no physical repercussions, this is an even more inviting option in Kororinpa. Sometimes it works, but often the game will detect the launch as an off-course miss, even though the ball would have safely landed on a platform.

The game includes a two player mode, which simply has players race each other through the same maze on a split screen. Unfortunately, there is no direct interaction between the two marbles. Both players must complete the maze before the game is over, which is either nice in that it allows both players to finish their game, or painful if the losing player is particularly bad at a given level. One nice feature is that the multiplayer can be played with either two remotes or a shared remote/nunchuk duo.

The main downside to Kororinpa is that it is quite short. The game includes 60 levels, but their shortness is exacerbated by their relative ease. The title would have benefitted greatly from more levels, or even better, a level editor. Perhaps we can hope for a sequel with such features. Nevertheless, since the game is one giant time-trial, Kororinpa opens itself up to a fair amount of replay.

Kororinpa: Marble Mania is a very good game that makes excellent use of the Wii remote, allowing players to really feel the game. Its greatest failing is simply that the fun ends too soon.


Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
6.5 6.5 9 8 6.5 7

The simple graphics suit the simple game and are reminiscent of a themed mini-golf course. In actuality, I wouldn’t have minded a basic wooden board theme on every stage, but the game does change it up after every ten stages with themes like food, cityscapes, and outer space. The game also lacks progressive scan support.


Elevator music is probably the best description of the compositions, though that may actually be a good thing since too much of a beat could break your concentration. A few songs are catchier, including a Star Soldier remix. Sound effects are fitting and add to the immersion.


Control is completely responsive, and the playing field perfectly matches the orientation of the Wii remote. The rumble and sound feedback work in tandem to provide a remarkable control experience.


The game is quite fun thanks to its simple, but effective gameplay. Since there is no life counter, Kororinpa also allows for a little experimentation.


The game is ruefully short. However, it's perfect for speed runs, and the wide variety of ball types allows for slightly different experiences on the same boards.


Kororinpa could have been a lot more than it is, but what is there is a joy to play. Its marble rolling scheme suits the Wii controller perfectly.


  • Most tactile Wii title yet
  • Speed goals and various ball options provide replayability
  • Overzealous fall detection
  • Too short
Review Page 2: Conclusion


CalibanApril 04, 2007

However, if you didn’t like the horizontal control scheme of Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz, you probably won’t be a fan of Kororinpa.

Huh? If you didn't like it in Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz, you will most certainly prefer it in Kororinpa.


You're right, I misread Dave Trammell's impressions back when I read them and thought he was advocating a vertical grip.

EntroperApril 04, 2007

This game looks sweet, but given its shortness and lack of additional content, probably not worth 50 bucks. Sounds like a good one to buy used in a couple months.

It's actually only $40.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterApril 05, 2007

So wait, do you believe that Kororinpa is quite easy?

I ask because when SB and Cap reviewed the game they couldn't state clear enough that the game offers some frustrating challenges that will upset some of the less hardcore and casual gamers.

What did you think of the difficulty?

CalibanApril 05, 2007

It can get easier if you unlock a marble that has stats that is suitable for your style of playing.

CericApril 05, 2007

So Barnyard beat this game for there respected audiences.

Smash_BrotherApril 06, 2007

This game will frustrate the hell out of casual gamers at the later levels.

I recommend renting it with a friend because the 2 player mode is a lot of fun, but also because having a friend so you can laugh at each other's failures is the buffer between you and total and utter frustration.

I'm confused. I know we all have our own review styles and feelings of what different numbers mean, but how can a game with "9" controls, "8" gameplay, and 6.5 everything else get a 7? Maybe that lastability score is high?

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterApril 06, 2007


Originally posted by: TheYoungerPlumber
I'm confused. I know we all have our own review styles and feelings of what different numbers mean, but how can a game with "9" controls, "8" gameplay, and 6.5 everything else get a 7? Maybe that lastability score is high?

I actually understood it.

Graphics and sound don't really matter in this type of game, so IMO that doesn't add to the final score. And I think the final score is fair because it is my understand that the game IS fun but doesn't offer anything else (Cap and SB also gave it a 7 in their review).

The game is polished in its controls and concept, but doesn't offer anything else that makes it worth buying it or lots of replay value.

Actually, you misread me. My emphasis was meant to be on the control and gameplay socres being significantly higher than 7. Yes, a game like this graphics don't really count, so why is the final score so close to the graphics score?

RhoqApril 21, 2007

A friend picked this up and I got play it tonight. I really liked the game. The lack of camera control can be very frustrating, but then again if you had the option to control the camera the difficulty level of the game would go down considerably. I'm still not sure if it's worth $40. If the price drops to $29.99, I'd consider buying it.

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Kororinpa Box Art

Genre Party/Parlor
Developer Hudson Soft
Players1 - 2

Worldwide Releases

na: Kororinpa: Marble Mania
Release Mar 20, 2007
jpn: Kororinpa
Release Dec 02, 2006
PublisherHudson Soft
RatingAll Ages
eu: Kororinpa
Release Feb 27, 2007
PublisherHudson Soft
aus: Kororinpa
Release Mar 01, 2007
PublisherHudson Soft
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