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Overview

Marble Blast Ultra is a 3D action/puzzle platformer developed and published by GarageGames for the Xbox 360 (via Xbox Live Arcade) on January 25, 2006 for 800 msp ($10). The sequel to Marble Blast Gold, Marble Blast Ultra features 60 levels (with some recycled from the predecessor), enhanced high-definition graphics, new power-ups, and a multiplayer mode for up to eight players. After being part of the Arcade Hits section of the Xbox Live Marketplace beginning on December 5, 2007 (discounting it to half price) and releasing downloadable multiplayer levels in late 2008, the game (and all DLC) was removed from the Xbox Like Marketplace on February 11, 2011 (due to the re-launched GarageGames's lost of the game's rights).

Gameplay

It is strongly reminiscent of Marble Madness in that the player assumes control of a marble and must steer it to the level's exit, avoiding various obstacles and using power ups along the way. It is, however, completely 3D rather than from a 2D isometric viewpoint, so has full camera control on the right stick. The marble can also jump in order to scale structures and "Blast" which, when sufficiently charged, allows the player to reach greater heights than usual or influence the direction of rivals in multiplayer. A great deal of dexterity is required in order to navigate the levels without falling off the edge of the floating stages.

Single Player

There are roughly 60 single player levels which are split into three difficulties: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. The idea is to reach the finish, but some require gems to be collected before the exit can be used. Additionally, each level in the game has a "Par Time" to beat, and if they are all bested an achievement is earned. There are also leader boards for each level, however many of the levels are prone to abuse, resulting in the upper echelons of the table to be dominated by illegitimate times. Numerous power-ups are placed on each level to allow the player to advance or access some of the multitude of shortcuts within the game. Easter Eggs, in this case literally colorful eggs, are also hidden throughout the game, with an achievement unlocked upon collecting them all.

Multiplayer

There are over a dozen multiplayer stages. The idea is to collect gems in order to beat the other players, with red gems earning one point, yellow earning two and blue earning five. Power-ups also exist within the multiplayer game and can be used to beat others to the punch.

Downloadable Content

The first and third DLC packs are 200 MS Points, while the second is a free update for all. Each DLC pack includes one new achievement.

Agoraphobia

Master of the Spires - Collect 50 gems in Spires. (20)

Marble It Up!

Blue Gem Hunt - Collect a blue gem in a Marble It Up! multiplayer match. (10)

Marble Fu

Map Pack Dominator - Get 40 gems in any 3 of Playground, Bowl, Concentric, Vortex Effect, Blast Club. (20)

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