Stumbling Through the Tumblestones
By Brett Wolfe
Reviewed on Xbox One
Released on July 12th for Xbox One, PS4, WiiU, and PC
Developer/Publisher: The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild
Who is the one responsible for these Tumblestones getting in my way? Why must they ruin my dinner plans? Someone will pay for this. Join the Queen of the Nile, Cleo, as she is on her way to have a delicious dinner when her day is ruined by the Tumblestones blocking her path. Cleo soon meets up with the Goblin King, the…well, King of the Goblins, who sees Cleo as a love interest and offers to help rid the land of the Tumblestones. Cleo has him adventure to Wonderland to secure the Tumblecrown and bring peace to the land. Throughout the adventure, you run into many peculiar characters like a Mermaid and the Sausage King. You read that right, the Sausage King. Not much more can be said about the story of the game to avoid spoilers and we wouldn’t want that would we.
Tumblestone was developed by The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild of (The Bridge), and is the July 2016 Xbox Games with Gold title for the Xbox One. Tumblestone is a mashup of a puzzle game mixed with a sort of action stylization. The puzzle aspect is very similar to games such as Bejeweled, but with a twist on the gameplay. It is the similar match three concept, but it goes deeper than that with the game pieces being the board and still being able to make a match. The gameplay has your character standing underneath a pile of Tumblestones and shooting up at them to make the match. Connect three and they disappear; the only catch is that there are no options to connect the pieces diagonally. If a blue is blocking the yellow that you need, you are out of luck; Try Again. It is worth noting that this game is incredibly difficult. The first stage (acting as the tutorial) makes it seem like a fun and easy puzzle game for causal gamers, but this game gets brutal. It is ridiculous. Each stage (There are 11) contains thirty different sublevels and by the time that you reach level 1-25 or so this game just gets mean, and you are still only in the first stage. Then from stage two on there are modifiers added to the games that ratchet up the difficulty even more. I personally had to use a walkthrough for a bunch of levels just to beat them. The hardest part though comes when you reach the “boss” levels (i.e. 1-10, 1-20, so on) and the puzzle become randomized, with you needing to beat a series of puzzles to progress the level. Now I will give them some leeway as they do have skip tokens you can earn, but you get one per stage.
When it comes to the aesthetics of the game and the package that comes with it, I do not believe at all that this is a full package as a whole. It has a campaign, multiplayer, and arcade mode in the base game. Sounds like a full package to me, you might be saying. However, the arcade mode that comes with the download of this game is only a trial. The part that would keep a puzzle connoisseur coming back to this game to play it more and more IS A TRIAL. Unlocking the full version of the arcade mode is $5 USD and it will unlock three game modes: Marathon, Heartbeat, and Infinipuzzle. None of which is worth the five dollars extra when it should have been in the game in the first place. The multiplayer is honestly the best part of this game. It is up to four players online, local, or against bots and has three game modes: Tug of War, Battle, and Puzzle Race. There is hardly anyone online playing this game and they might make some fun party games for a little while, but this mode is still pretty lackluster.
Finally, Tumblestone does look very pretty and has some nice designs, but the sounds get very repetitive and the cut scenes have no dialogue, just mumbled nonsense. When it comes to replaying this game, the only way I can see someone doing so is after purchasing the extra content and then I believe you would have to be really into puzzle games. I think this game was meant for the causal player to pick up every once and a while and I see that as how you will need to play this game without breaking a bunch of controllers. I was excited for this game when I saw that it was on Games with Gold, but it feels incomplete and I wish it didn’t. I wanted to like this game, but I just couldn’t.
*It’s worth noting that this game is $20 after Games with Gold. So pick this game up before August 15 if you want to play it because I do not think you will be getting your money worth with this title.
Final Score: 4/10
Brett Wolfe: I am a California University of Pennsylvania student going for a degree in Mechatronics Engineering Technology (Mechanical/Electrical/Robotics). I love playing video games as it is one of my biggest passions. I will play almost anything, but the thing that gets me the most into gaming is going for achievements. I also love watching Cop shows and anything dealing with the supernatural. Reviewing has always been a passion of mine and I am glad that I finally get to do it.
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