Mallet Mania


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JoshMallet ManiaIt's beginning to seem like Nitrome's increased involvement with Miniclip is a really great thing. New game content is being released at break-neck speed compared to other developers, with a new title launched every couple weeks or so. Unveiled yesterday, Mallet Mania is Nitrome's newest production, a Marble Madness-type puzzle game. By using what appears to be a wireframe croquet mallet, you whack your ball with varying direction and power to guide it through maze-like levels to the goal. Stating the obvious but still worth noting, Nitrome once again stays with its tried-and-true pixel graphics and vibrant color scheme.

The first thing you'll notice about Mallet Mania is that it's tough. In part, it's because of the gameplay rules (explained later), but more than anything it takes time getting used to the control mechanic. Theoretically, it couldn't be simpler; you just use the mouse to aim the mallet 360 degrees around the ball. Once you've lined up your shot, press and hold the mouse button and you'll be able to move the mallet up and down, from zero to 100 percent power. Just release the mouse button and the mallet will hit the ball, sending it rolling in the direction you chose. Unfortunately, it's not as easy as it sounds. The small, standardized screen dimensions that Nitrome uses in this game (and all others) doesn't lend itself to easy, accurate mouse-aiming. You might find it frustrating trying to fine-tune the direction and power in such a limited controllable area.

Mallet ManiaOther than the touchy controls, it's a pretty nifty little game seemingly derived from modern "marble" genre games like Contour, Super Monkey Ball and even the popular 3D hit, Switchball. But Mallet Mania doesn't just offer a slew of sloping levels to guide your ball from generic points "A" to "B". There are plenty of unique obstacles and traps to avoid, many of which you'll have to interact with. Lots of different "tiles" you'll encounter have effects like sticky glue, magnets that repel your ball, spinner tiles that rotate and many more. The traps and objects also add a fun element to the game; anvils trying to squish you, conveyor belts carrying you away, teleportation tiles...there are even tiles that you can't cross, or ones that require special abilities to traverse. These elements greatly support the puzzle aspect of the game, adding an increased incentive to replay.

Analysis: Mallet Mania features 18 single-player levels, all of which can also be played in multiplayer mode with up to four people (offline, on the same computer). Three bonus "arena" levels let you square off against your friends (or yourself, if you don't have any) in player vs. player "combat." That's right, you can knock another player's ball off the level's edge, or into a trap!

As if the touchy mouse control doesn't make this game tricky enough, each level has a par, or "shots left." You only have a certain number of shots to use before you fail the level and restart. Unless Nitrome can make the control system a little more user-friendly, the par of each level should be increased to compensate. But if you've got a knack for these types of games (and a lot of patience), you might enjoy the challenge. Either way, it's another solid effort from Nitrome, renewing faith that the company will continue to release unique, fun games with broad appeal.

Play Mallet Mania

Cheers to Alex, Rosie, and Paulina for sending this one in! =)

44 Comments

As always I really like the graphics, music and overall look and gameplay of nitromes games.

This one is very nice too.

However, I gotta say, the physics is just horrible in this one. The movement of the ball is not natural. It doesn't really affect the gameplay though, it just could look a lot better.

cool game...mechanics could use a little work...not as fun as the typical Nitrome game tho.

There's about 10 different reasons why this game should be terrible...

...and yet I can't stop playing it.

I'm loving this game but I seem to have found a glitch...in course 7 I turned from a sticky ball back to a normal ball at the top of a hill and now my ball just keeps rolling down and falling off, but I'm not actually losing any balls, so it looks like it could just go on forever. *sigh*

It would be really nice if there was a reset button, too so you don't have to waste all of your remaining balls if you know you can't finish a level with what you've got left. Or if your ball gets stuck in a loop. *ahem*

When I read the instructions, I thought (once again) that the game would be a reused idea, and hard to play. Unenjoyable too.

But (once again) Nitrome has added their touch to the game, and made it immensely playable and fun. The music is good, and so are the saturated visuals.

My complaints are:
-Only 18 courses? I finished quicker than Onekey.
-Elements such as ghost blocks are underused.
-No reset button, as Flower said.
-Some weird physics going on, like rolling up a slope at three times the speed it should be.
-The arrow makes it unclear which direction you will go in, if you are perched on the top of a slope, and find that, instead of rolling down on the centre line, you roll off to the left or right before you are halfway.
-When you are sent up into the air by a spring, you have no idea where to land. You jump up, and land to the far left of the platform you wish to land on.

-A fairly disappointing end screen consists of a little sentence stating 'Thank You For Playing', and the menu saying to return to Main Menu.

Despite all those, the game is a good addition to their list of games, and as good-looking as Onekey (which was very good-looking indeed).

Oh:

Level 11 has baffled me. I have finished the game, but I have no idea how to get the gems in that level.

you mean like pause, restart level?

Finished this one in about an hour, so I felt it was a bit short-lived. Highly addicting, if infuriatingly difficult.

A good game overall but I think they COMPLETELY missed the mark when it comes to the difficulty curve. It was fairly easy and straightforward right up to about level 11 or 12 at which point it became unbearably hard!

Despite this, still a good game nonetheless, and it has that distinctive... Nitromey feel to it; great visuals, great music and great gameplay. :)

Oh yeah,

I also found the end disappointing; I was hoping for a bit more than "Thank You For Playing", but then I suppose it's hard to have an 'ending' in a game of this type.

I can't beat level 11! It should be easier than this!

Hel1p

Yay! I got a hole in one on level 3! You know, the one where there are lots of conveyor belts and levels/storys?

Sort of reminds me of Roll-on for arcadetown.

JT Inc:

from memory, you can do it one shot if you shoot 'backwards' at an angle of like 340' and the conveyor belt will take it stright to the hole. thats how i did it anyway. (hope thats the level you mean btw)

This is a fairly good game. I found it annoying that there are no shadows, which makes it hard to judge how high the platforms are.

Also, it suffers from a bug in Flash that I have seen with many other games: when you switch the music off, every sound effect freezes the game for an instant (on Vista). On my external speaker, the freeze is about 1 second long.
I have tried to report the bug to Adobe, but could not find the possibility somewhere. Do you know where to report Flash Player bugs?

suz: I don't suppose you know how to get the other gems in the level, apart from the one onscreen?

omg i hate the stupid rolling pipes in level 18..the black oil stuff also makes it irritatingly difficult...i almost got to the end but i ran out of shots :(

infuriatingly difficult, but annoyingly addicting (as usual :p).
btw...

what does the ghost ball do?

Never mind, just found out...very useful in course 8
also. What do the wonky balls do?

YAY! I've been questing for a while to get someone to mention my name for submitting a game!

HUZZAH MISSION ACCOMPLISHED :D :D :D

bookworm

you shoot one way and the ball starts to go in that direction then curves to it's left (i think, maybe right)

here's my question....

how do you get past the rollers on the oil in level 17?

Argh! I see what you mean Jessie. I just got to level 17.

Aha! The rolling pipes in Level 17. The second hardest part of the game:

Position the ball just outside the oil, in the centre, so you can roll straight through. 10% power should take you there.
Now, set yourself for straight ahead, and set the power to 70% or 75%, depending how close you positioned yourself. Let yourself go when the first pipe meets your mallet arrow. However, be careful- the pipe must be rolling in a DOWNWARDS direction.

Er, hope that helped. The next part can sometimes be fairly tricky.

Dav, try this:

180-60%
270-75%
0-100%
0-65%

jessie, try this:

180-40%
Then just wait for the right moment (it's when the first roller starts to roll) and use 180-100%

Lol, guys, if you press pause, you can restart the level.

Is it too much to ask for:

1. The ability to scroll around and see the rest of the course? I want to know my target!

2. The ability to cancel a shot? It would be nice not to have to waste a shot because you pressed a button too soon.

Steve:
It's possible to cancel a shot by shot the ball at 0%

Me it's the last level which kills me. The falling block after gate 2 is just impossible to get through.

It's possible to cancel a shot by shotting the ball with 0% power

Thanks Toni. The thing that caught me out was that, when I bumped myself to the end of the two joining conveyor belts, I would gently roll off the edge. Too much power then.

I found 75% was just too little, so I used 80%. It actually worked!

But, as shots are more important than gems, I find completing the level in one shot gives 400-500 more:

340-55%. Suz gave the degrees, I found 55% is best, although 60% works fine. You get 1700 points!
65% will work, however, the ball falls, and you have to click, so having another go with the mallet. The sign 'Lost Ball' flashes up, then it says you have completed the level. Weird. Try it. You still get 1600 points.

Why can't I zoom in and out of a level to see where my ball will go?
Can I have a faster reset level time?
Otherwise kinda fun.

Dev, I tried it and got the same result. Well, almost the same. It gave me only 1500 points. But interesting glitch nonetheless!

Emöjk, if you are playing just to finish the game, and not for the points, you can do it very easy in 2 shots:

Try to make first shot as close as possible to falling block, or that even hits it. Second shot depends on where you are standing, but it has to be something like 220-15%.

Altough there is another soloution for last level:

Let your first shot be 215-50%. It can be different, but the idea is that roller pushes you down. And then it's pretty straightforward. The only hard part is timing thing with 2 rollers, but it's not that bad.

This is as good a place as any to point this out: All Nitrome games come with two songs. The long, varied, enjoyable one goes on the title where you never hear it for more than a few seconds unless you choose to stop and listen. The brief, knife-in-your-brain repetitive one plays for the duration of the gameplay, where you will probably hear it loop about a thousand times. Somebody at Nitrome made a conscious decision that it should always be like this; why?

Cerulean:

At least the music is not bad. I mean, I time how long the menu and level music is, and write it down! (I also write the game name, the date it came out, the combined time of the music, and my rating out of 10).

This game was a pretty solid "meh" for me. The graphics are nice though and remind me of the good(?) old NES game Snake Rattle 'n' Roll.

How do I get the gem on Course 13? The one up in the air?

I can't get past level 18, anyone got tips?

I need help with level 10! What degree and power number thing do I use?

Wow, level 18 was the easiest. I just went at right angles for the first four shots then improved from there.

I hate this game. Yet, I finally got myself to play further then level 7, and give this game a review.

This is not my type of game. I've never been a 'golf-type' of games fan, and this is no different. Mentioned in one of the comments was a list on glitches/things that could make it better, and I'm not gonna repeat it. Yet, no matter how hard it is, no matter how many times I have been wanting to throw my mouse into the computer screen, and no matter how much times I mutter "The arrow doesnt help!" I cant stop playing. It's very addicting, but how I finished the levels I have no clue. I do what I think I do, and they're done before I know it... I've won this game half-way through with luck. I'm not gonna try past level 16. (I think thats where I am... It could've been 17/18).

What do you do in level 4?

hey josh, how come in the pictures the ball is yellow? it's red on all of the computers i have played mallet mania on. help?

Maybe they made some changes since we wrote the review?

I love this game.
But I really don't understand why isn't there an option to see the entire level, to scroll around and just plan the direction of my next shot. It's like playing blind in a way.

In Level 5 i almost ran out of shots

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