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Mad Marble Maze

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A common gameplay element (or, often, a game's whole premise) involving rolling some sort of sphere from the beginning of a level to the end. The player might be pushing the ball around, inside the ball, running atop the ball, or tilting the level to control the ball.

Many wooden mechanical versions of this game exist, generally having a pair of knobs to manipulate the angle of the field and a large number of holes before the end to get caught in. However, most video game versions have the player manipulating the ball directly rather than tilting the field. Real life versions of this trope are examples of Dexterity Games.


  • Marble Madness is the archetypal video game version.
  • Super Monkey Ball
  • Marble Blast Gold
  • Marble Blast Platinum is a Nintendo Hard take on the trope.
  • Marble It Up is a Spiritual Successor to the Marble Blast series, featuring very similar gameplay elements.
  • Inked (2012): Some puzzles in the game involve rolling a ball into a hole to open a pathway.
  • Futurama: The Beast With A Billion Backs features a Blood Sport version.
  • A demo of just this comes with HTC phones to show off the accelerometer.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: The sidescrolling games in the Sonic series are this concept applied to platformers. Sonic is faster while rolling and the series' physics and level design stem from how he can interact with terrain and gimmicks as a ball.
    • The first game's Special Stages evoke this, with Sonic whirling through a psychedelic labyrinth. Hitting certain buttons can control the speed and rotation of the labyrinth itself.
    • Sonic Labyrinth forced players to roll and bounce on its isometric labyrinths by severely limiting Sonic's walking speed.
    • The puzzle in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) involved Silver guiding large spheres to a goal under a limited amount of actions.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Sunshine has the infamous Watermelon Festival mission where you must roll a watermelon safely to a juicer while putting up with some truly janky physics.
    • Super Mario Galaxy has a few levels of this sort; there's a Power Star in the ball, and Mario has to get it to the end of the level to get it out of the ball.
    • Mario Party 4: The Story Mode minigame Kareening Koopas has the Party Star who wins Koopa's Seaside Soiree and its Koopa host duel with yellow-colored tilting checkerboard tables. The objective for each character is to tilt their table to make it so the Koopa shells land onto holes, for which they not only have to time the tilts but also deal with fake palm trees that are obstructing the shells. When all shells in one table are in their holes, the player will receive the next table to repeat the process. The first character to fill all holes with Koopa shells in three tables wins.
    • Mario Party 6: The minigame Crate And Peril has one player open a magical paperboard box that shrinks the other three players and suck them into its contents (four equitably-placed wooden fences and two Spiny shells). Then, when the minigame begins, the solo player proceeds to tilt the box so the Spiny shells move and attempt to pinch the other three characters, eliminating them upon contact. The solo player wins if they succeed in the objective, but the rival trio will win if at least one of them manages to survive during 30 seconds.
  • Tilt for the Commodore 64. In this maze, the marble uses simply physics (roll in direction of tilt) and cannot touch any walls. There are also obstacles in the path that can be opened for less then a second, later changing to ones that obstruct unless the maze's orientation is changing.
  • Wii Fit has one exercise that consists of this, using the balance board.
  • Neverball, a free software Super Monkey Ball clone.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • The Mercury series are these, using a blob of mercury in lieu of a sphere.
  • Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex has a couple of levels like this, with Crash inside the ball.
  • Web game Spin the Black Circle
  • The Atlasphere round in American Gladiators. Two Gladiators are placed within giant metal spheres, tasked with preventing the two contenders, in spheres of their own, from scoring by passing over rounded targets on the arena floor.
  • Spyro: A Hero's Tail has the Ball Gadget, which you must roll along a track or path, with Spyro inside like a large hamster wheel, to either get Dragon Eggs and Light Gems, or reach a new level.
  • Ballance
  • Hamsterball
  • The bizarre climax to The Muldoon Legacy.
  • Ōkami: There are several "push a ball" puzzles, ranging from merely annoying to infuriating. A difficult sidequest in Agata Forest involves rolling three of them up a hill.
  • Perplexus
  • Oxyd: You control one ore multiple balls by moving your mouse.
  • Enigma: Just like in Oxyd, you control a ball (sometimes several) by moving your mouse.
  • Cameltry (also known as On the Ball) is one of the few video game versions involving manipulating the field instead of the ball.
  • The Special Stages from the first Sonic the Hedgehog game seem to be inspired by Cameltry, the difference being that you control Sonic while the maze spins by itself. Years later, Sonic the Hedgehog 4 also used this type of gameplay and the fields are now rotatable.
  • The Ball, an Unreal Tournament III mod and 2nd place winner of the "Make Something Unreal" contest.
  • Switchball.
  • Assassin's Creed III: Liberation has one of these as a First Civilization puzzle.
  • Overball is a game where you roll a ball through various mazes, making flowers grow to unlock doors and lower bridges in order to progress to the exit. Bottomless pits are an ever-present hazard, as is falling off the edge of the map. Monsters can destroy both your ball and the flowers you're trying to grow.
  • Rock of Ages: The premise of the game. You roll a boulder down a hill, avoid your opponent's traps, and try to crash his castle's gates.
  • Venineth takes the marble-rolling formula and enhances it with Scenery Porn.
  • Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble