Whenever you’re without online leader boards, one of the biggest challengers in a game is yourself. You’re always trying to beat your own score, always trying to do just a little bit better: always trying to shave off that extra second for just a few more points.
This spiritual successor to Marble Madness, known as Vertigo allows you to do just that. Navigating your marble, or Xorb as the game calls it, is a challenging experience that will bring you through fifty-four different tracks and nine different environments. Steady your hand, and prepare for Vertigo.
Upon initial contact with the world of Vertigo, you’ll immediately find yourself in an oddly designed world filled with the greatest obstacle course since Mouse Trap. You’ll almost feel a strange sense of intrigue as you begin your journey to become the ultimate Xorb.
For a budget title, there are a lot of experiences to be had. The developer, Playlogic, boasts fifty-four tracks, but what you don’t realize is that each track will take on average about one minute to complete if you can do it right the first time. It brings one to the conclusion that perhaps they were anticipating your continued failure. If your Xorb falls off the track three times, you’re going to begin again. Just be prepared to start over quite often.
A somewhat shocking surprise apparent in Vertigo is the intuitive control scheme. You control your Xorb by tilting the Wii remote forwards, backwards, left, and right. Many Wii titles do not easily recognize slight tilts and twists, but Vertigo does it perfectly. That’s not to say that you won’t have a difficult time getting through the levels, but it will not be the fault of the controls. You’re going to have to learn how to combine precision, timing and control to get through the twists and turns of the different tracks available for you to get through.
It sounds simple enough in theory, but as fans of the original Marble Madness know, looks can be deceiving. The simple concept of moving a marble from the beginning to the end is complicated due to the fact that there are enough roadblocks, pitfalls, and tiny paths to navigate. It’s a challenge, and a well put together one.
Where the the game excels in level design, it fails in general presentation. I am confident that the Wii is capable of much more than was even attempted. The blurred backgrounds, and lack of clarity really hurts the visuals, especially on HD televisions.
Vertigo offers several different competitive multiplayer modes that are a lot of fun. Bowling is a prime example. Using the competitive mindset from Wii Sports. Lining up your Xorb to make a decent hit is difficult, but completing the challenge is part of what makes the title enjoyable. You can play with up to four players competitively, and use all nine of the game environments to your pleasure.
The game’s arcade mode is where Vertigo shines. Going towards the fastest times with the least amount of deaths is challenging and frustrating all at the same time. You’re never going to get past the difficult levels on the first try. You’ll learn how to slowly navigate your Xorb through the worst of the worst, and you’ll also have a lot of crashed Xorbs on the ground.
The techno music will get old after the first set of levels, but you’ll need it to concentrate. The rhythm it provides gives you a steady pace to move your mind through. The narration of events is given by someone who lost their job doing voice overs for Unreal Tournament. Actually, it’s even worse.
If you want to be frustrated and sweaty, try out the options with the Wii Balance Board. It translates well from the Wii remote to your body. You’ll lean every which way while trying to keep the ball moving. It’s particularly fun while bowling.
Let’s face it: Vertigo is a short and simple title. Obviously Playlogic put a lot of time into controls, but that is about it. There just is not a lot there. Overall, I can’t really complain though, it is budget priced at an MSRP of $19.99, so you may want to give it a try!
It gets the job done. That’s about all you can say about the graphical presentation.
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The best thing about the game is how well it controls, and how well it plays.
“Meh” would be the best way to describe the audio in Vertigo. At least the sound isn’t annoying.
Unless you’re going to beat your scores, the single player experience is short, and multiplayer is lacking.
Vertigo is an average title with some great ideas, but the budget price makes it worth a try.