Since their launch around two years ago, the Minis range has been both a blessing and a curse for PlayStation gamers. A blessing because, well, we all love games and more releases equal more good times, but sometimes a curse because a lot of these titles just aren’t designed to be played on a home console with a dual shock in your hand.
Take The Marbians for example. A simple tale of alien marbles who crash-land in a child’s bedroom in Roswell during the 50’s and need to escape back to their miniature UFO, though we must be honest it isn’t going to win any awards for it’s storytelling. It is however a very fun and addictive little game, just one that isn’t anywhere close to being at home on PS3.
The game consists of 72 separate challenges, each split into three separate ‘toy boxes’ of levels. Each one is themed around a 50’s toy-room along with insanely annoying fake 50’s tunes playing in the background. About three of them, on a loop. The Marbians is a physics puzzler and you need to get your crew of little rotund aliens back to their ship on each level by flicking them with your analogue stick. Things get more complicated as you progress through the levels by adding multiple Marbians and a series of obstacles to think your way around.
It’s all very jolly and fun, if a little short. 72 levels may seem like a lot, but the challenge level is a little inconsistent and you can run through the first of the three set of levels in around 15 minutes quite easily. Finishing the last few trickier levels will take you more time however, as will collecting all of the ‘moon rocks’ on each level if you’re so inclined.
The main issue however is that the title is much better suited to a touch screen interface, so if you own an iPhone or Android device it really would be crazy to recommend it to you on PS3. Yes, as with all Minis it works on the PSP too, if anyone is still carrying one around with them, but it is so much better on your phone it isn’t even funny. As a comparison I downloaded the title on my Xperia Play (71p by the way, as opposed to £3.50 on the PSN store) and it played so much better as it was clearly designed around the mechanic of using your finger to flick the eponymous creatures. It also looked sharper and just generally better suited to a small screen home.
A few other niggles; as far as I could make out the game doesn’t allow you to scroll around the play-field to plan your strategy which is inexcusable in a game of this nature, something which again the Android version does allow. It also takes too long to restart a level when other versions of the game allow you to do it instantly.
Sorry to keep harping on about the superiority of the game in other formats and to reiterate the game itself is a fun timewaster on any machine, it’s just that it really deserves to be played on the format for which it was designed for. A tricky one to score as you can probably tell, but remembering I am reviewing the PS3 version, I rather sadly have to award 6/10.
The Marbians is available now on the European PSN store and on the US store this fall. It’s also available now on the App Store and Android Marketplace, but you wouldn’t be interested in that would you? (Hint – yes.)