The Wii is the first console we can think of that could come with a 'mission statement'. You know, those things that people put on their CVs to convince bosses that they're 'dedicated, motivated and keen to bring excellence to catering solutions' (when they're after a job in Burger King). The Wii's mission statement would be about delivering unprecedented gaming experiences while hosting games that appeal to new and hardcore players. Luckily, Kororinpa, a game that sees you tilting maze-like stages to roll a ball around, meets both those requirements.
Its unique control system sets it apart from the conceptually similar Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz, and it's so easy to get used to that it's obvious within seconds how the game should be played. While Banana Blitz has you tilting the stage to roll your monkey, there are limits to how far it can tilt; despite the odd jump or hill the game always stays within the confines of a flat 2D plane. In Kororinpa there are no limits.
Imagine that the Wii Remote lying flat on your hand is the entire stage. The amount you tilt and turn the Remote is exactly proportional to the amount the stage turns. So if you turn your wrist 90 degrees to the right, the entire level will be on its side; turning it another 90 degrees will flip it upside down. What this means is that at times it may look like you've come across a dead end but in fact the stage can be turned on its side, turning the wall into the floor.
This ability to flip the stage any way you choose also means that your ball can pick up some serious speed if you make it go down steep inclines, so there are two ways to play the game depending on your skill level: either try to get to the end of each level using a methodical, patient approach, or try to get a gold trophy for each level by speeding through and completing them in a set time.
Turn, Turn, Turn
There are a variety of balls and they all handle differently, from the basketball that bounces really high after a fall, to the panda which is so fat it doesn't bounce in the slightest. Some of them are also accompanied by some hilarious sound effects as they roll: bouncing a pig's head round a stage accompanied by all sorts of grunts is one of our favourite moments on the Wii so far.
Kororinpa isn't without its faults, though. Considering the game contains plenty of 360-degree movement, you think you'd be able to rotate the camera at any point to get it behind the ball and plan your next move, perhaps by using the D-pad. However, there isn't a way to rotate the camera while playing - the only way to do so is to pause the game and go into a menu screen. This can really put you off, especially when you're in a later level and your wrist is upside down with the ball on the roof of the stage. That said, the game's levels have been laid out in such a way that camera rotation is rarely essential.
In fact, rather than being annoyed about the camera making things difficult, our main concern is that Kororinpa's perhaps a little too easy. Though some stages are extremely tricky and will take you a while to get through, experienced players should be able to at least complete all the levels in five or six hours; getting gold trophies in them all should only take another
couple of days.
There's still a good two-player multiplayer mode there, however, and in a nice touch you won't need to buy any extra controllers since player one uses the Remote and player two uses the Nunchuk.
But whether Kororinpa's worth £35 depends on how interested you are in replaying levels to try to beat your previous time, because if your only goal is completing the game then you'll roll through this in no time.