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How to Play Pathological

Pathological is a puzzle game consisting of marbles that roll along paths, and interact along the way with various devices and gadgets.

The object of each level is to "complete" all of the wheels on the board. To complete a wheel, catch four marbles of matching color in the same wheel. The marbles will vanish, and the wheel will turn dark to indicate that it has been completed. Note that this is only the usual way of completing a wheel. The exceptional cases are described in the section on Triggers and Stoplights.

To rotate a wheel, click the right mouse button on the wheel. On mobile devices, tap the wheel. To eject a marble from a wheel, click the left mouse button on the marble. On mobile devices, swipe your finger in the direction you want the marble to go.

When the game begins, you are assigned a total of three lives. Your spare lives are depicted by small red marbles at the top of the screen. An extra life is awarded every 5000 points. A maximum of ten spare lives is enforced.

The Board Timer

The board timer is the maximum amount of time allowed to complete a level. It is depicted as a digital countdown at the top of the screen. If the countdown reaches zero, the level ends and you lose a life. If you complete the level within the available time, a bonus is awarded based on the percentage of time remaining.

The Launch Timer

The launch timer, depicted as a blue bar on the left-hand side of the screen, represents the maximum amount of time that a newly launched marble can remain in the launch area at the top of the board. Each time a marble is launched, the launch timer is reset to its full value. If the launch timer expires, the level ends and you lose a life.

The length of the launch timer is displayed numerically at the bottom of the blue bar. The number represents the number of passes that a newly launched marble can make before the timer expires. The value is different on different levels.

The Active Marble Limit

Each level has a maximum number of marbles that are allowed to be in motion at a time. As long as the maximum number of marbles are in motion, you can not eject any more marbles from wheels.

The number of currently active marbles, and the active marble limit are shown numerically at the left edge of the launch area at the top of the board.

Game Elements


Buffers catch and hold a single marble at a time. The marble is held until another marble knocks it out, and takes its place. Note that once a marble falls into a buffer, there is no way of emptying the buffer again.

An empty buffer

A buffer holding a purple marble


Directors force all marbles to exit in the indicated direction. They are often used as one-way gates, allowing marbles to pass through in one direction but not the other.

A director


Filters only allow the indicated color of marble to pass through. Any other color of marble will simply bounce back in the direction that it came from.

An orange filter


Painters change the color of passing marbles to the indicated color.

A blue painter


Replicators create copies of marbles. Whenever a marble enters a replicator, at least two marbles are emitted. Some replicators produce more copies than others.

The number of copies produced by a replicator may be limited by the active marbles limit.

A replicator


Shredders simply destroy any marbles that enter into them.

A shredder


Switches, like directors, force marbles to exit in the indicated direction. But unlike directors, switches switch between two different directions. Each passing marble causes them to switch.

A switch


Teleporters transport passing marbles to their twin teleporter at some other location on the board. Note that a board can have several pairs of teleporters, and their pairings might not be obvious. It can be helpful to realize that teleporters can only change the location of a marble - not the direction.

A teleporter

Triggers and Stoplights

Triggers and stoplights place temporary restrictions on wheel completion.

If a board contains a stoplight, then the first three wheels to be completed must be completed, respectively, using the three colors of the stoplight in order from top to bottom. For example, if the stoplight has the colors red, yellow and green (as in the diagram), then you must first complete a wheel using four red marbles. Then the second wheel must be completed using four yellow marbles, and the third must be completed using four green marbles. After the stoplight has been fully exhausted, then the rest of the wheels on the board can be completed using any colors as per usual.

If a board contains a trigger, then the first wheel to be completed must be completed by exactly matching the marble configuration presented by the trigger. Trigger configurations are chosen randomly. After the trigger has been satisfied, the rest of the wheels on the board can be completed in the normal way. But beware! A trigger will only stay satisfied for a short time.

A board can only have at most one stoplight or trigger, but it can have one of each. If a board has both a stoplight and a trigger, you must satisfy the trigger before working toward exhausting the stoplight.

A stoplight

A trigger

A partially-exhausted stoplight

A satisfied trigger


Eject a marble from a wheelLeft mouse button
Rotate a wheelRight mouse button
Abort a levelESC
Pause the gameP, SPACE or PAUSE
Skip to the next levelN
Skip to the previous levelB
Toggle fullscreen modeF2
Toggle sound effectsF3
Toggle musicF4


Completing a wheel50
Satisfying a trigger50
Exhausting one light on a stoplight20
Completing an already-completed wheel10
Time bonus per % time remaining5
Bonus per % holes empty2
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