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Actionloop Twist

Modern marble.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Falling block and tile and logic puzzle games have enjoyed a renaissance on Nintendo DS, whether it's stylus-driven efforts like Meteos and Zoo Keeper or more traditional affairs like Tetris and Slitherlink. With the launch of WiiWare, Nintendo must be hoping to repeat the trick - and it's already had a go with an agreeable if steeply-priced Dr. Mario retread. Actionloop Twist arrives at the same price - 1000 Wii Points, or approximately GBP 7 / EUR 10 in old money - and makes an even better account of itself.

Instantly recognisable to anyone who tried it on the DS under Actionloop and Magnetica banners, or on Xbox Live Arcade as Zuma Deluxe, the gameplay is simple: coloured marbles snake around the screen on a preset path towards an exit hole, and you have to stop them getting there by firing marbles from the centre of the screen into their midst. Any marble groups of three or more of the same colour are deleted when you contribute to them. When the marbles surrounding a disappearing group can crash together to form another coloured group, they do, and disappear themselves. With careful manipulation of the snaking marble line, you can initiate chain reactions to collect more points or fulfil objectives.

The key difference is Wiimote controls. Rather than twizzling the analogue stick or flicking marbles with the stylus, as you do on XBLA and DS respectively, you rotate the body of the Wiimote (as though you're holding a rolling pin by the end) to change the direction that your little marble gun is pointing. A Mii of your choice (to which your profile is bound) merrily fires off a marble when you press the A button. The snaking marble line often doubles back on itself, and there are sometimes multiple snakes to contend with, so in an added loopy twist you can hold down the A button to charge up a lob, which tosses a marble into the air at a slower pace to land wherever you've positioned the aiming reticule.

The game calls them gemstones. I'm calling them marbles. They're marbles. Deal with it.

There are two main single-player modes to try out in addition to QuickPlay options for one or two players. Challenge mode is a high-scores affair that gradually ramps up the speed and introduces new colours to complicate matters, making matters even more difficult by introducing the occasional snake-hastening rocket to shoot down, and can be played at three skill settings. But Quest mode is the more exciting: you're given a sequence of small scenarios with specific goals. One level may ask you to get rid of 100 marbles without letting any of them reach the goal; the next may impose a time-limit, or ask you to focus on a particular colour. Other levels require you to complete a certain number of chain reactions - two, three or more chained deletions deep. To vary the pace, there are also puzzle tasks in the Quest feed, which ask you to get rid of a predetermined selection of marbles in a set number of moves without having any left over.