Tumblestone is an indie puzzle game that has been making the rounds at PAX and GDC for the last few years. I had the pleasure of playing the game several times over that period of time and was happy to see it grow each time I laid eyes on it.
Tumblestone is played as follows: an array of different colored blocks is arranged across the top of a vertically aligned playing field. You control a character that moves across the bottom of the playing field and shoots a blast of magic directly upwards. The goal is to shoot upwards and eliminate three blocks of the same color in a row. If you are unable to do so, then you will be forced to restart the level. The key is that you will need to make sure that you are eliminating blocks in such a way that you will continuously reveal additional colors. This means that you need to plan your moves and always be thinking a few moves ahead.
That may be true of a lot of different match three puzzle games, but this is different. The biggest difference is that the blocks you eliminate don’t need to be touching each other. They don’t even need to all be available at the time you fire your first shot. You could, for example, dig three blocks deep into the play area to finish your move.
Some levels will take a lot of trial and error, but it takes almost no effort to restart and get going again. It only takes a single button press.
Tumblestone is also full of different game modes. The best among them is, without question, the multiplayer mode. Up to four players race to complete their playing fields. Players can move at a blistering pace if they get up to speed and can think fast thanks to the, very accommodating, control scheme.
There is a story mode as well. The narrative isn’t much to write home about, but it is entertaining enough. At the very least it provides a reasonable excuse to move to different backdrops for the various stages. As you progress through the different levels you will encounter more and more difficult challenges as well as blocks that you have never seen before. Some of the puzzles get pretty insane, but the complex elements within them are introduced slowly over the time.
Is it a kids’ game?
Yes. This may be challenging for some younger kids, there is nothing inappropriate going on here.
Can kids play it?
This is a puzzle game, so it is definitely difficult to play. But, there is no reading involved, so kids who like puzzles will be able to play the game without anything like that getting in the way.
If you like puzzle games, then this is going to be an excellent addition to your game catalog. It is available digitally on the Xbox One, PS4, Wii U, and on Steam.