Puzzle games have always had a special place in my heart because of how different each one can be. Even though many are similar (or are even truly the same), it’s not that hard to find a puzzle game that plays differently than any you’ve played before. Oddly enough, right before I got this game, I was starting to think that I needed a fresh and new puzzle game. Sure enough, Tumblestone delivers this ‘new’ feeling with every ten to fifteen levels. In this indie puzzle game, you’re tasked with matching triplets of colored blocks called Tumblestones. This is made into a much more daunting task when the game starts adding shot blockers, toggling blockers, wildcards, color locks, or any combination (up to two at a time) of several other modifiers. Simply put, Tumblestone is a game with simple premise that is made much, much more difficult by ever changing rules.
Even after putting several hours into the game, I still enjoy seeing the goofy, super colorful art style this game offers. Everything from the characters and Tumblestones to the backgrounds and dialogue are all bright, bouncy, and lighthearted. This is all very nice since the player will more than likely get rather frustrated with a few of the more obnoxious puzzles. Coupled with this is some sounds and music that are very fitting but suffer from two major issues. First, both the sound and music get rather repetitive rather quickly. The second issue is that, for whatever reason, the music kept cutting out mid-puzzle while I play. This was more than likely just a bug, but it was extremely distracting and left the game feeling a little strange when the music stopped playing. I ‘solved’ the music issue by playing my own music while leaving the goofy sound effects on.
Now, even though it has the weird music glitch, I would like to say that I adore this game as a whole. There are a few modes that you can choose from. These include story, local multiplayer, online multiplayer which are all playable when you first start up the game (Note: There are other modes available, but they are only available as DLC so I will be writing a mini-review at the bottom for these modes). In fact, there is an option hidden away in the settings called ‘party mode’. This option takes away the players ability to play online, earn XP, complete quests, or unlock achievements but gives the player access to all characters and modifiers. This allows players to play local multiplayer with any character and crazy combination of modifiers that they want. I think this option is great if you don’t want to get through the games massive amount of levels just to unlock some characters and modifiers.
Speaking of levels, there are 12 worlds and (I’m assuming) 30 levels in each world. I’m not sure if every world has 30, but I know the first 4 worlds follow this rule. Either way, that’s a lot of puzzles to play through, so it should keep you busy for quite a while! If you can’t find enough puzzles in the story mode, you can always play one of the multiplayer modes where you can play one of three game modes against up to three opponents (player or AI). These game modes are Puzzle Race (a mode where you try to complete one puzzle before any other opponent), Battle (a mode where your matches put more lines of Tumblestones on one of your opponents boards), and Tug of War (a mode where each player tries to complete many mini-puzzles while adding more puzzles to their opponents with each completion). These three game modes will last any puzzle lover a long time as the puzzles are always different, except Tug of War because the puzzles are only 3 lines long and become fairly simple rather quickly.
The Arcade DLC (available separately for £3.99) was bundled with my copy of Tumblestone, this DLC includes three new game modes called Marathon (make as many triplets as you can without making a mistake), Heartbeat (make triplets fast enough to keep up with the lowering board), and Infinipuzzle (make as many triplets as you can in this never ending board). These game modes are quite fun but can only be played solo and I personally didn’t care to play them many times through as all these game modes offer is high scores and a few difficult-to-get achievements.
Overall, Tumblestone manages to deliver a unique puzzle experience while keeping you on your toes as the game changes slightly with every new modifier. There is a slight issue with difficulty consistency, but that may just be me getting used to the new rules forced upon me. The multiplayer works great and is massive fun with friends that don’t get too competitive. All in all, the game is simply a great puzzle game. Tumblestone is seriously one of the best puzzle games I’ve played in a long time.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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