Review: Marble Circuit

This is a multi-directional marble maze with 64 challenges. Choose a card to see your challenge, place the multi-directional tiles on the board, then release the steel marbles to see if you land your targets.

The Good

Brain Burn (+10)

I’m already terrible at path building, let alone with guiding steel marbles one at a time through windy paths. Then, add in targets at the end of those paths for populating pools? Not only do you need to see which way the multi-directional pieces fit but also double checking each path to ensure that the marbles land in the correct pool at the end of the path. Thank goodness you release just one marble at a time. Seeing the pool results doesn’t tell you all of what you need to know to try again. You need to pay attention to each marble as it falls to ensure you know where and why a result happened.

“Fill It In” Puzzle with a literal twist (+11)

Marble Circuit is reminiscent of games like IQ Puzzler where you have a starting setup and then need to fill in the rest. As always, things often do not execute as you plan! You need to slide the top barrier wall to the side rather than lift the entire thing at once, which adds to the relative simplicity and improves your ability to break down the puzzle. I haven’t quite figured out if the rolling speed through the paths has an effect on the target pools. Considering they only have one solution per puzzle then perhaps they accounted for that already? Regardless this is a game about destination rather than completion itself, which is a compelling new concept to me.

The Bad

Redoing Your Work (-8)

The triangular multidirectional pieces have a flat side that you can overlook; if you just don’t see it, you don’t see it. There are really no hints, so it’s either you get it on your own or you give up. Even if you just try one marble at a time, you need to set it back to where it was behind the barrier. If you just want to see the whole result so you can reverse engineer which of the tiles is the troublemaker, you’ll need to wait for all of the marbles to make their way down the pathways. On top of this, the design is such that you need to start over every time because some of the path pieces do not allow you to just leave them hanging on their own. Even if you were to try and just manually take the steel ball to test the possible destinations, it will knock around the piece and just frustrate you. The only solution at that point is to literally fill in everything haphazardly just to test the placement of a single path.

Losing Your Place (-6)

Without taking notes on the side (i.e. providing more components than the game comes with) it’s easy to forget what pieces went together to produce what successful result. This game becomes a little bit of experimentation so not being able to do this straight out of the box is aggravating. Some folks may have an easier time with the logic puzzle of “if not this, then that” so maybe organizing the pieces by “tried, failed” and “tried, partial success” could be helpful. If you do this, I will say ahead of time: WOW is that a lot of memory and effort…

The Ugly

Cumbersome Design (-6)

This is by far an unnecessarily large and clunky game, with awkward steel marbles that are tiny and slippery. I personally find it hard to justify taking up the space on a shelf just for one person to play by themselves. It is also very difficult to see the shallow pathways in the puzzle plastic because of how shiny and brightly colored they are. While I can understand the need for it to be shaped and sized the way it is in order to accommodate the pieces properly in their wells, it’s also inconvenient.

Possible Misprint (-1)

While checking on a few things for this review, I saw some feedback from customers on the publisher’s site about a misprint. I haven’t played enough of the challenges to confirm that this misprint exists and where it is, but I imagine that can be frustrating if the solution isn’t even valid.

Difficulty: 2/5 for Advanced
Satisfaction Grade: D (66.7%) for Okay
Worth Your Money? No.