Marble Mixer Review
Shooting marbles. As a kid, it was as satisfying as an ice cream cone on a hot summer’s day. And while an adult can still sneak some ice cream from time to time, it’s hard to get a game of marbles going with your friends when you’re 35. Thanks to Marble Mixer, however, you can get a game going in your pocket.
Marble Mixer is a multiplayer experience unlike any other on the iPhone. Up to four players, be they real world friends of AI opponents, can pick a corner of the screen as their base of operations. From their designated corner, players will shoot marbles in an attempt to outscore their opponents. Marble Mixer offers up three gameplay variations, each with their own set of rules and unique presentations.
Table Tactics is the simplest of these three modes, and the most similar to the marbles experience you had as a kid. Each player will take a turn shooting their marble towards a scoring ring. The closer to the center you get, the higher the points. Watch out, though! At the center of the board is a hole that you can lose your marble in, earning you no points. Players can even try to knock their opponents’ marbles into the hole to really beef up their score.
Space Mania is similar to Table Tactics, but rather than taking turns politely across a set number of rounds, the experience is a free-for-all with a 60 second time limit. For a group of friends looking to engage in fast, frantic fun, this is easily the best bet of the three.
Finally, there’s Monster Picnic. A very hungry monster (ok, it actually looks like a cute teddy bear) needs to be fed. His face will spin around in a circle, and players will try to shoot balls into his ever-moving mouth. The player who feeds him the most balls wins.
As you’ve probably guessed, physics plays a big role in making or breaking an experience like this. Thankfully, the physics in Marble Mixer feel spot on. Marbles move appropriately based on the direction and speed of your flick. When they connect with other marbles, the chain reactions play out exactly as they should. And nothing is more satisfying than hearing that “clack” one marble makes when it pushed an opponent’s into the hole.
Marble Mixer originally appeared on the iPad back in April, and has only recently been shrunk down by GameHouse to fit on the iPhone and iPod Touch. The game is identical no matter which version you get, however for those looking to play with real people, we can’t dispute that it’s much more comfortable to get four people sitting around an iPad than an iPhone. Other than that small caveat, it’s hard to find anything to criticize in either version.
The game advertises that Marble Mixer provides fun for ages 2-102, and as a parent to two little ones I can tell you that the low end of that scale doesn’t lie. Marble Mixer on the iPad has become a frequent family activity in our home. Now, thanks to the iPhone version, we can take that fun with us wherever we go.
For such a timeless experience, it’s surprising that no one has thought to make a traditional marbles video game before now. As such, we’re delighted to see the first team to handle it get it so perfect right out of the gate. If you’re looking for a fantastic party game to put in your pocket and engage your friends, you’ll have a hard time doing better than Marble Mixer.