Marble Viola’s Quest wears its many inspirations on its sleeve, and it clearly isn’t ashamed of that. Fortunately, it doesn’t need to be, as this is a very competent match three puzzler that will have its claws in you by the end of your first boss battle with the pesky Desmond.
You play as Viola, who is on a quest to restore the world’s magic after a mean guy called Desmond takes it all for himself. You do this by breaking marbles to free dragonflies that contain magic within.
In real terms, this plays like any other match three puzzler. You tap on the screen to fire coloured marbles out of an insect’s mouth, and if they connect with more than two of the same coloured marbles they burst.
Marbles not directly under your control slowly nudge themselves towards the end of a snake-like circuit, and you have to burst them before they reach the end or it’s game over. Dragonfly marbles are fine though – you want to release them.
The real fun comes from creating combos. If you burst a collection of marbles, and the coloured marbles either side of them match, you could set off a combo that will massively increase your score. This is also how you use your magic powers too, which have various different properties.
Good always comes with evil though, and this is no different. While you have a variety of magic powers and boosters to help you out over the course of your adventure, there are an equal number of frustrating debuffs that will put a spanner in the works.
For example, you might just get comfortably into a rhythm and then start facing marbles frozen in ice. You have to hit a marble into these first to break the ice before you can match these, which forces you to think well ahead or you’ll get stuck with a bunch of useless marbles.
If you’re worried at this point that Marble Viola’s Quest gets a bit repetitive over time, we can put those worries to rest right away: it doesn’t. That’s all thanks to this drip-feeding of new features that keeps things fresh.
That’s without even mentioning the new game modes though, which are by far the most exciting. Most notably there the Viola’s Garden side quest, which allows you to tool up via a range of upgrades.
This gives the game even greater depth, as it allows you to approach levels in vastly different ways. It’s a clever and very welcome addition.
Aside from this you’ll also face boss battles against Desmond, score chasers, and time attack levels that turn things frantic temporarily. We say temporarily, because this is for the most part a sedate experience.
Don’t confuse sedate with boring though – this is as addictive as you can expect from the genre. It just errs more on the side of relaxation than frustration, which is understandable given its all ages appeal. You could probably tell that from the cartoon visuals though, which are lovely.
Overall, Marble Viola’s Quest is an appealing and competent example of the match three genre, with enough fresh ideas to keep things from going stale. If you’re looking for a puzzler that won’t have you tearing your hair out, this is the one for you.