Most people looking for a must-have PlayStation Move title to go along with their new toy will probably not look twice at Tumble. When downloading or installing (or both, sigh…) demos, they’ll be drawn towards stuff such as The Shoot, Sports Champions, or Kung Fu Rider. But, eventually, they’ll stumble upon Tumble, and the chances are that once they do, they’ll be hooked.
Tumble is a game revolving around blocks, and the building or knocking down of towers of these blocks. Using the Move controller, you’ll be required to build as high a tower as you can using an unlimited supply of blocks, blow up a pre-built tower using mines (with the goal being to get the blocks to fall as far away from the base as you can), or build a tower using every block that is available to you. On occasion, you’ll be directing a laser beam using glass and mirrored blocks, too.
Various game-changers come into play on later levels, and you’ll soon be required to build your tower so that it doesn’t touch a horizontally moving ball, or stack up all the available blocks whilst not ever allowing your tower to go higher than an on-screen limbo pole. Oh yeah, and building whilst an earthquake goes on is one of the challenges too, and it’s an absolute swine to complete.
This all sounds very simple and, honestly, it is. Tumble’s depth comes from the fact that the blocks are differently shaped, and made of different materials. On that earthquake challenge for example, putting a weighty wooden slab down on the platform first is a good idea, as it won’t move about so much. Top that with a rectangular block made of grippy rubber, and you’ve got the makings of an earthquake-proof building. It’s all incredibly logical, but that doesn’t make it any the less difficult to beat. What you’ll notice whilst playing though, is that not once will you have to wrestle with the controller to get it to do what you want. Providing you’ve calibrated things properly, the Move controller gives you full 1:1 control over the block you’re currently holding, and the exquisite physics on offer mean that placing a block delicately down a half an inch to the left rather than just lumping it on top of the tower any old way could be the difference between success and failure.
And, as with all good puzzle games, failure feels good. You’ll get to a point where success looks like a given and a slight bit of heavy-handedness when placing a block, or even misjudging the amount of space you have when trying to get a block into position will be enough to start your construction listing and lurching. You’ll try to save it. Oh, how you’ll try. Grabbing the block you’ve just placed in the hope that physics will suddenly stop making sense and the tower will magically right itself is my favourite, although it’s usually followed by a slow-motion “Fuuuuccckk iiiiiittttt!” as I realise that what I’m doing isn’t working, and that the tower has just reached the point of no return and is unstoppably careening toward the floor. So, you’ll fail a lot, but why does it feel good? Because – and this is said with no exaggeration at all – it means that you get to try again, only this time you’ll be more careful. This time, you’ll not try to be clever and put a triangular block under a flat panel block. You’ll do it with more logic. Here we go…last block….oh, no….it’s…it’s… fuuuuccckk iiiiiittttt!
Tumble is a game that not only stands head and shoulders above most of the retail Move launch titles, but does so by some distance. Some will dismiss it out of hand as being a simple puzzle game, but the truth is that it does what it does SO well, and that the controller works so sublimely whilst it does it, that the simplicity doesn’t matter. Tetris is simple. Columns was simple. Jenga – which is the game that will immediately spring to mind as you play Tumble – is simple. Simplicity is good. Tumble is outstanding.
Review contributed by: Ken Barnes