Tumble Review

By Jake Gaskill - Posted Sep 01, 2010

Tumble might not pack the kind of frenetic and explosive punch (or volume of levels) found in the Boom Blox series, but if you're looking for a solid introduction to your new Move controller, and you want to stretch the old noggin' a bit, Tumble definitely stacks up.

The Pros
  • Wonderful example of Move's precision
  • Plenty of puzzle variety
  • Multiplayer challenges are surprisingly intense
The Cons
  • Physics can be inconsistent at times
  • Depth issues
  • Not enough camera control

Supermassive Games’ downloadable PlayStation Move title Tumble is essentially a glorified tech demo. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. In fact, it’s one of the best Move launch titles precisely because of how limited its focus is. It might not pack the kind of frenetic and explosive punch (or volume of levels) found in the Boom Blox series, but if you’re looking for a solid introduction to your new Move controller, and you want to stretch the old noggin’ a bit, Tumble definitely stacks up.

Movin’ On Up

Tumble features a variety of challenges that task you with coming up with creative ways to use the shapes and objects provided you to either build a tower, pile as many blocks on a platform as possible, or even place mines on a pre-built tower in order to cause the most destruction. The shapes themselves are also made of different materials, which means a rubber block won’t slide, while a glass cube will. There are cones, pyramids, those Z looking Tetris blocks, and a whole host of shapes and materials to choose from, and one of the most enjoyable parts of the game is finding out how to balance, not only the shapes, but their physical properties as well.

For the most part, the controls are remarkably accurate. Just spinning the Move controller and watching the onscreen controller exactly mimic your movements is enough to remove most doubts as to the technological capabilities of Sony’s motion controller. Moving objects from the foreground to the background is particularly cool, however depth ends up being a bit frustrating, especially when you get the move complex challenges.


Made it, Ma! Top of the Tower!

The game does a good job of letting you know where your block is going to land, but the red indicator square doesn’t reflect the angle of the object, so you can’t really tell if the object is going to tip over until after you’ve placed it. This can be fatal though since once you get a bronze medal on a challenge (which you always get fairly early) you can’t let any blocks hit the ground, or you lose. There were a number of occasions where I was on my way to a silver or even gold medal but because I couldn’t tell exactly how a particular object was angled, a block fell, and I had to settle for bronze. Sometimes this is also the result of not being able to tilt the camera. It’s easy enough to move the camera around your structure, but because its placement is just a little too close to the action, and because you can’t angle up or down, it can sometimes be a bit more frustrating to place a block that it should be.

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As you’d expect, the developers did a great job on the physics engine, and as soon as you start playing around with the objects (I was particularly fond of tossing them around the room in a tower maker’s rage), you can see how much care was put into to making them as believable as possible. Unfortunately, there are times when the physics are a little too forgiving, and you’ll be able to create a stack where you shouldn’t be able to. Overall though, the building looks and feels great.


Companion Cube Stacking

While the single-player is mostly about taking your time, and being at peace with your carefully constructed creations, the multiplayer is all about the thrill of competition, building block style! There are 15 challenges in all, five of which require each player to have their own Move controller. Just as in the single-player portion, the multiplayer challenges offer a great variety of gameplay. One minute you’re taking turns stacking blocks, waiting to see who will bring the whole thing toppling down, and the next your dropping color-coded cubes into energy fields that push the blocks in specific directions in order to turn a giant windmill to see which player can knock off more of the opponent’s blocks.

Perhaps the most heart-pounding challenge is one that requires each player to build a tower as fast as they can. The catch is that the camera sticks with the player with the tallest tower. So it’s all about getting the lead early, and then making sure your tower does collapse, since that deducts points from your total, and brings the camera back down to let your opponent back into the game. In short, expect to do a lot of healthy screaming should you and a pal face off.


Solid Foundation

For a downloadable title designed specifically to showcase the PlayStation Move’s capabilities as a technologically sound piece of equipment, Tumble hits all the right notes. It controls well for the most part, has a wide selection of challenge types, and the multiplayer adds an entirely different character to the gameplay.