As any conscientious turtle-keeper knows, the very last thing you should do is put a marble in its mouth. If Woka Woka is anything to go by, the reason for this is that it will fire the marble back out at lethal speeds.
Woka Woka is a marble shooting game. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a kind of matching game in which the coloured objects you’re trying to match are snaking into the screen on a winding channel.
To make a match and clear clusters of marbles of a given colour you have to fire marbles of the same colour so that they shuffle into the line alongside them. If the line reaches a pit at the end of the channel, you lose.
That’s the core gameplay, and at first it seems very straightforward. The first few stages seem almost impossible to lose — all you have to do is aim your turtle at marbles the same colour as the one in its mouth. You steadily unlock potent power-ups (more on this later) but it’s difficult to see why you might need to use them.
But quite quickly the difficulty ramps up and the strategic depth of Woka Woka is exposed, like a six pack after a crash diet. For instance, clearing a cluster of marbles only briefly relieves the pressure, creating a gap between the ones that are moving and the ones you’ve just stranded.
This gap closes fast, and firing more marbles can actually make it close faster, since this causes all of the marbles to shuffle up by one, meaning you have to be incredibly deliberate about the matches you make.
You also have to be accurate. Simply landing your marble where you want to can be difficult when the line is moving along and you’re trying to hit a distant part of it, but there are considerations that call for even greater accuracy.
As cold as ice
Some marbles are covered in ice, and you can’t do anything with them until you’ve smashed it all off. If there’s an ice marble next to a clearable cluster you’ll find yourself aiming for the half that lets your marble take out a layer of ice and then roll in beside its matches. Instead of aiming for marbles, you’re aiming for half-marbles.
Fortunately, there are plenty of power-ups and perks to help you out. Some marbles have slow, pause, or reverse symbols on them, though only temporarily. Clearing these has the corresponding effect on the line of marbles creeping towards the pit, buying you a bit of time
Then there are the consumable items that you can deploy when your back is against the wall. These include a tornado, a mallet, a cannon, and more, and you restock your supply of them by completing missions and generally progressing through the single-player campaign.
Or you can buy them in the shop. Woka Woka is a free-to-play game, of course, and it comes with all the mechanics and incentives that every free-to-play game comes with, including the incentive to pay to win after 20 or so stages.
In some ways the punishing difficulty is welcome, since it focuses the mind and forces you to get the most out of the game. But less talented players may simply become frustrated as they find themselves running out of lives, using up their consumable items, and watching ads.
Balls to the wall
If you feel like pitting yourself against the toughest marble shooter around, you should definitely give Woka Woka a go