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Tumble
Score: 82%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Developer: Supermassive Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Puzzle

Graphics & Sound:
Every hardware launch has at least one "Tech Demo" title. Although it fails to impress on a technical standpoint, it manages to show just what you're getting into with the new product. PlayStation Move's launch has two such titles, pack-in game Sports Champions and the PSN downloadable title, Tumble.

Tumble is more about showing off the Move than showing off what your PS3 can do. Presentation is about a utilitarian as games get without simply shipping with crude wireframe models and other stand-in production assets. Blocks come in a variety of colors and shapes, but are just blocks. They get a little more interesting when you begin to run into blocks that look and act like Jell-O molds, and the narrator is neat, but that's about the extent of Tumble's glitz and flash.


Gameplay:
Whether you want to admit it or not, at some point in your life, you probably tried to build the tallest tower you could. In my case, I thought for sure I was going to reach the moon, but then I ran out of LEGOs and decided I'd rather just build my house. Still, it's the effort that counts... right?

Tumble won't let you build a tower to the moon, but the idea is the same. The concept is to take blocks and stack them as high as you can. Sometimes you'll need to fill a platform or deal with other obstacles, but in general, you're just stacking blocks and hoping something doesn't go wrong.

Single-player revolves around earning medals in order to unlock levels. With nearly 70 levels (split into 12 "Zones"), Tumble is no quick flash-in-the-pan game. Though most levels are just about stacking blocks, most throw in some odd wrinkle. Some levels require you to stack blocks in certain areas, while in others a bar passes over the tower and knocks down any blocks over a certain height. A few levels give you explosives to place around the tower. As with all play variants, this is much trickier than it sounds.

Tumble's multiplayer adds to the fun. I'd even go so far as to say it was my favorite way to play. Multiplayer games are split into rounds and feature the same play types found in single-player. The twist to multiplayer is both players are building on the same tower, but are trying to leave the other player with a bad situation on their hands. For comparison's sake, think Jenga with Tetris blocks. Toss in a few power-ups and, well, you've got a game that will probably lead to an argument or two. Just remember to put the Move controller down before unleashing your inner Snooki.


Difficulty:
Tumble starts out fairly easy. You're stacking blocks and basically just learning to use the controller. After a few levels, new blocks are introduced. Some have different weights; others have odd shapes. There's even a set of blocks that made of some sort of gelatin. These tiny changes have a big impact on how your block stacks work. Heavier blocks won't sit right on the stack, and some of the more delicate blocks force you to think about how you handle them.

Eventually, the environment begins to work against your efforts, introducing even more challenges. Sometimes you're given a smaller tower platform. A few missions will take place on an unstable surface. Over the course of the single-player game, you'll also have to contend with wonky gravity that affects blocks differently and even fans.

If you keep a cool head and think about what you're doing, it isn't too difficult to snag at least a bronze. Earning gold and silver is a little tougher.


Game Mechanics:
There really isn't much to Tumble's controls. To pick up blocks, you just need to point at it and pull the trigger. After that, everything is gesture-based; move the controller to the left and your pointer goes left. Flicking your wrist performs a 90-degree rotation. The game will even detect depth, allowing you to reach "into" the screen when placing blocks. The sensation is a bit disorienting for the first few games and more than once, the game had a difficult time trying to adjust to depth. Still, most players should adjust to both issues fairly quickly.

Outside minor calibration issues (all of which are fairly common for first-run tech), the only major technical issue I ran into was remembering which button to press on the controller. Pulling the trigger picks up bricks while hitting the (Move) button allows you to adjust the camera. Call it a mental hiccup, but once or twice I inadvertently hit one action's button when I wanted to perform another.

For what it is, Tumble is a fun game. Whether or not you want to drop $10 on the game is purely a personal choice. At first, I was sure I'd say the price point was way too much, but after some quality multiplayer time, I'm not so sure. What can I say, sometimes its fun to screw people over in a game.

Tumble isn't a reason to purchase Move hardware, but gives early adopters an entertaining way to show off the motion controller's capabilities.


-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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