Marble It Up! Ultra Review (PS5) – Marble It Up! Ultra wastes absolutely no time in getting players involved with playing the game. There’s no rhyme nor reason to any of the obstacle courses that players are challenged with navigating, they are simply told to navigate them. And this snappy and simple setup is part of Marble It Up! Ultra’s appeal as players are immediately thrust into creative and challenging gauntlets.
Marble It Up! Ultra is an enhanced version of the aptly named Marble It Up!, released previously in 2018 that adds new single-player content as well as expanding upon multiplayer offerings, providing a more well-rounded experience overall for players both new and old.
Marble It Up! Ultra Review (PS5)
Rolling Around At The Speed Of Sound
Marble It Up! Ultra channels classic games such as SEGA’s seminal Super Monkey Ball franchise and offers some new twists on this well-loved formula that help it to stand out as a title well worth experiencing.
The basic formula of Marble It Up! Ultra is a familiar one, with players being tasked to navigate a ball (notably lacking a sentient creature inside) to the end of various obstacle courses, and of course not falling off of the stage. It’s a formula that has endured over the ages and lends itself to a strong arcade style that is great to just pick up and play for a few minutes.
Despite this familiar foundation, Marble It Up! Ultra introduces some unique mechanics that help to set it apart from its contemporaries and inject unique flavour into its levels; Marble It Up! Ultra delicately balances more linear and fast-paced levels with more open-ended exploration levels that challenge you to find certain collectables before finishing the level.
Each level feels totally distinct and really shows an incredible degree of creativity from the developers which should be commended! While levels start out relatively basic, soon levels start introducing mechanics like gravity-altering platforms, various power-ups and bumpers to add additional layers to these intricate levels.
Visually, the game goes for an abstract style that avoids sticking to any particular theme for an extended period of time. This is a double-edged sword where I was never visually bored, but not much actually stuck with me once I finished a level or world. Every level feels isolated in its own little vacuum.
The same goes for the soundtrack, each sounds great but the lack of any identifiable level or world themes led to a soundtrack that melted together over time for me, despite sounding decent enough. I would love to see some more thematic consistency, but this is a small grievance in the small scheme of a game that clearly has fun at its core.
Rolling, Rolling And More Rolling
At the heart of Marble It Up! Ultra is a game all about rerunning the same levels over and over for better times. By obtaining low times on levels, you can unlock even more over time. Mastering and learning the levels that you play comes first and foremost with this game.
Compared to similar ball-rolling games, Marble It Up! Ultra’s physics feels far weightier than I was expecting. This did take some getting used to and I did find myself coming across hurdles with these physics, especially in the levels that demand higher precision. These road bumps were rare but did throw me off at times.
Levels also encourage you to explore your environments in order to gain different cosmetics for your marbles – these range from skins to the trail that you leave behind at high speeds. There are plenty of cool options to mess around with, as well as some downright strange ones.
Instead of rushing through levels to see how fast you can beat them, you’ll want to try and learn the intricacies of the different challenges, and throughout my time with the game, it was rewarding to see this learning start to help me shave down the seconds, and doing it in some swanky marble style.
Marble It Up! Ultra is an exceptionally easy game to understand from the outside looking in; if there’s something that you need to see or understand, you’ll see it immediately. This clear visual language makes going through a new level exceptionally approachable and fun while limiting frustration.
You’ll see new power-ups plenty and helpful UI elements that help to direct you towards key collectables. There were a few stages in which it felt a bit unintuitive to find where to go but this largely comes down to memorisation and learning, as the game so encourages.
Marble It Up! Ultra also features several online multiplayer modes for players to dabble in should they feel inclined. These range from competitive gem collecting, to tag and a game of marble sumo wrestling. There’s certainly a variety here, and while we weren’t able to test these modes out during our review period, time will tell as to whether these modes have the legs to stand on! (Or curves to roll on, I suppose.)
These modes take the core gameplay of Marble It Up! and introduce new creases that promise to add even more replay value onto a package that’s already fit to burst with options. This and the addition of online replays and leaderboards looks to be harbouring a strong sense of community, where people can learn from one another and really optimise their times.
Despite some small hiccups with the general presentation of the game, Marble It Up! Ultra offers a fully featured package of over 100 intricately designed obstacle courses for players to learn and overcome. The physics may taking some getting used to and can occasionally feel stiff, but with time and learning, it becomes far easier to manage.
Marble It Up! Ultra is available on PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox One.
Review Code generously provided by the publisher.