Marble Drop is an interesting game, starting with a unique idea. The puzzles are fascinating to watch in progress, and often the actual workings of the puzzle in operation are vastly different from the way they appear when you first look at them. The simple truth is that the game is designed in such a way that it becomes too easy to complete all of the puzzles.
As with any puzzle game of this type, the actual puzzles start out pretty simple. You only need to get your colored marbles from the top of the screen to the appropriate bins down at the bottom. There are dozens of different diverters, gizmos and other devices that are slowly added to the puzzles as you progress. These will send your poor marbles off in different directions, down the wrong pathway, through other devices that split or combine them, paint them different colors and more. Things become increasingly complex as the number of funnels at the top change, the bins become increasingly difficult to figure out, and the actual paths become more and more convoluted. Everything culminates with the last puzzle, which is completely invisible.
Each puzzle that is successfully placed in a bin at the bottom of the screen is returned to your stock of marbles for the next puzzle. Anything still on the paths when the bins are filled or lost during play is gone. You can purchase additional marbles at any time but doing so will cost you points.
Where Marble Drop eventually fails is in one of the decisions made by the designers. At any time during play, you can skip to any other puzzle that isn't a bonus level and replay it for points. So, if you start running low on marbles, you can skip back to the first couple of levels, replay them and build up enough money to buy a huge stock of marbles to complete the rest of the game. By taking this one simple thing out of the game, the designers would have created a devilishly difficult series of puzzles that would require a substantial amount of planning to work through from start to finish. As it stands, the puzzles in Marble Drop are often quite difficult but the game as a whole can be solved by simply racking up points by playing levels over and over.
Really, this is too bad. Marble Drop is a wonderful idea and the graphics and overall gameplay are brilliantly executed throughout. Even with this anomaly that makes the overall trip so unsatisfying, the individual puzzles are well worth the time and brain power of anyone who considers themselves an aficionado of the puzzle genre.
Graphics: Very crisp and clean, enhanced by the constant motion on the screen.
Sound: Decent sound effects and nice music, marred only by the fact that they come up infreqently.
Enjoyment: This is a fascinating game to watch work, and many of the puzzle require so many steps that completing them is enough to drive you crazy at first. The ability to skip back to previously solved puzzles makes the game too easy to complete.
Replay Value: With the exception of finding additional, better solutions for some puzzles, there's no real need to play them again.
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Incredible Machine 3.0, The, Incredible Machine 2, The, Incredible Machine, The, Lose Your Marbles, Incredible Machine, The: Even More Contraptions, Castle of Dr. Brain, Lemmings, Lost Mind of Dr. Brain, The
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