Tumble Review: Barebone Blocks

Illustration for article titled Tumble Review: Barebone Blocks

Playing with blocks never gets old, especially if you're using a motion-control enabled Playstation 3 to do it.


But is the block-building puzzler a step above the colorful and fun Boom Blox for the Wii, or just a pale version of the Electronic Arts classic?

Let's have a look.


Controls: The level of detailed movement detection is astounding in Tumble. It shows precisely where your Move controller is at all times in the virtual 3D space of the game. It tracks how you twist and turn the control and where it is pointing. /span>

Snap To It: Instead of having to constantly worry over how you grab hold of the blocks you need to use to build towers and stack atop of platters, the game lets you change your holding position with a flick of the wrist. Each flick snaps the piece around in a different direction, making it much easier to manipulate them.

Sticky Blocks: One of Tumble's game changers is the sticky block. The green gelatinous cube immediately sticks to whatever you place it on. Anything placed on it also sticks. That means you can build sideways, or straight down and it makes puzzle solving much brain twistier.

Earthquakes, Limbo Bars: Tumble doesn't rely on just the blocks to create puzzles. It also plays with the environment and adds annoying distractions. For instance, some levels are hit with timed earthquakes as you try to stack to a certain height. Other levels include metal limbo bars that swing over sections of the building area, knocking everything in its path down.

Dexterous Intellect: What I love most about Tumble is how it requires not only quick thinking and puzzle solving, but that it also requires a deft touch and dexterous use of the Move controller.



Souless: Tumble has a lot going for it. An artful design, pleasing aesthetics, any sort of decorative add-ons, plots or colorful characters are not among the list. This is as stripped down a puzzler as you'll see. In my imagination, this is what the Boom Blox tech demo looked like.


Hidden Challenges: Tumble is a painfully controlling game. It forces you to march along a fairly narrow path to get from level to level, never even hinting at what new puzzles and designs may lay in store for you. The end result is a game which does little to motivate its players to continue playing.

Tumble feels like an unfinished game, like the skeletal mechanics of something that still needs to given muscle, fat and skin. The game play is fun, the mechanics solid, but the lack of anything beyond those puzzles and the monotonous disembodied voice of a British woman can become wearing.


Tumble was developed by Supermassive Games and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the Playstation Moveon Sept. 19. A copy of the game was given to us by the publisher for reviewing purposes. Played through half of the game's dozen level-packed areas.

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Hmmm.... all Move games look unfinished and unpolished.