Mediocre marbles

This Bejeweled clone doesn't do much to impress.

We review a fair number of computer games, and it often seems that we see variations on the same handful of games over and over again. So it goes with Exploding Marbles. This Bejeweled-inspired game is fun to play, just like its predecessors, but we can't say there's anything about it that particularly impressed us.

The program's interface is basic and maybe a touch amateurish. A grid of colored balls is arranged over a busy background image, giving the playing area a slightly cluttered look. Playing the game entails simply dragging balls to create lines of three or more of the same color so that the balls disappear. The occasional bomb marble is thrown in to liven things up. The game's soundtrack, weird and cheesy dance music, elicited raised eyebrows from nearby friends, but this can be turned off. Overall, Exploding Marbles wouldn't be bad, except for one thing: the trial version's nag screen. We only successfully got the game to operate one time; on our other attempts, the nag screen never disappeared and the actual game never launched. There wasn't even a way to close this screen; we had to Ctrl+Alt+Del to shut it down. After several such experiences, the nag screen informed us that we'd used up our five trial versions and would have to purchase the game to continue playing. This, combined with the fact that we had to restart our computer to finish installing the game to begin with, made Exploding Marbles more trouble than it was worth.

Exploding Marbles is free to try, but the trial version limits players to five games. The program installs a desktop icon without asking but uninstalls cleanly. We recommend this program with reservations.

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