In case you weren't aware, I'm an old-school gamer. Really old-school, as in I was playing casual games before many of you that grew up with video games were even born. Marbles and dominoes were among my favorite games to play, as were most card games and board games. And like the marbles and dominoes I grew up with, there is no form of entertainment I prefer over casual gameplay. That's why my eyes grew large as agates when I recently stumbled upon this little gem of a game.
Mythic Marbles is an action puzzle game of skill that is very simple to pick-up and play. It offers an engaging and rewarding experience to anyone that can appreciate the simple and subtle strategy of a good game of marbles. And even if you've never played marbles before, you're in for a treat. :)
In marbles, the objective is to knock all of your opponent's marbles off the playing field by shooting your own marbles at them, and while keeping your marbles in play. Mythic Marbles shares this same basic premise with a few additions that make the gameplay an even richer, more rewarding experience.
You are given 8 marbles to start each level with, and each level is represented by a unique arrangement of of marbles and 'wall' obstructions. Just click on a marble to select it, aim with the mouse cursor, and click to shoot. It's just that simple.
Once you get comfortable with the mechanics, you may want to begin refining your shots to maximize your scoring potential. A power meter on the left of the display allows you to choose the power behind each shot. You can click-drag to select a precise setting; or, while aiming, click and hold the mouse button down until the desired power is displayed, then release to shoot.
After you complete each level, you are awarded a score. The number of points you earn is based on your accuracy, the number of marbles you have remaining, and the maximum combo achieved. A "combo" is the number of marbles removed with a single shot. All things considered, combos are supremely important to achieving a good score.
To add some spice to the mix, you will have to navigate through teleports and around black holes as you progress through the game's 100 levels that, more or less, increase in difficulty as you go. Fortunately, there are also a variety of power-ups that can make your task easier: one that prevents your marbles from falling off the board; one that makes all the obstructing walls disappear; one that shows the trajectory your marble will take; one that will turn your marbles into fireballs, and one that charges them with electricity thus repelling and scattering all others from it. Taking full advantage of the power-ups can increase your maximum combo substantially, as well as getting those hard-to-reach marbles. But you'll have to hurry, power-ups are time limited and begin to count down immediately once you knock them off the board.
At the conclusion of each set of 10 levels, you will enter a turn-based challenge against another marble master, with each trying to knock the other's marbles out of play as in a real game of marbles. There are no power-ups available to you in these challenges, however, so you will have to plan your shots carefully and keep a cool head if you are to succeed.
Analysis: The game has a nicely polished presentation and feel to it, with responsive and intuitive controls, and very nice ball physics(!) And as a fan of the game of marbles, I enjoyed this game a lot. It held my interest from the minute I picked it up, and it was compelling enough to keep me playing until I had beat the grand master at the end. Achievement medals add a reason to go back and play through again, as does arcade mode with which you can select any of the game's 100 levels to best your previous score.
The game may seem rather easy to some since extra lives are easy to come by and most of the levels are easy to complete. However, if all you're getting is a couple of thousand points for each, then you have a lot of room for improvement in your strategy. Some levels I was able to score 60 or 70 thousand by concentrating on maximizing my combo.
On the other hand, the existence of power-ups in the game makes getting a good score somewhat dependent on luck, but that's a smallish complaint overall considering the casual nature of the game.
All things considered, Mythic Marbles is an enjoyable implementation of the classic casual game of marbles with the addition of power-ups that only a video game can provide. The result is an engaging game that can be picked up easily with enough depth to keep you coming back to it again and again.