Tumble Review
Tumble box art
System: PS3 (MOVE) Review Rating Legend
Dev: Supermassive Games 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Sony Computer Entertainment 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Sept. 17, 2010 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Gravity is for losers
by Andrew Groen

The PlayStation Move hardware has been at a loss for good software since its launch. Sports Champions has been one of the only bright spots in a pile of rushed games and tech demos like Start the Party and Kung Fu Rider. Tumble is still pretty much a tech demo, but it's also a game that couldn't be possible without the PlayStation Move controller. That aspect alone will make this game a worthy purchase for a lot of gamers out there looking to experiment with the new technology.

Tumble screenshot

It's also a very capable game though. There's not a lot to it, but the core mechanic of stacking objects and fighting against gravity is good fun. That's hardly surprising. We've been playing excellent games based on gravity for decades (think Jenga.) There's a pulse-pounding tension that comes from watching an unstable tower sway back and forth, and it almost always leads to laughs and high-fives immediately after it tumbles.

The real question going into Tumble was whether or not the fun that Jenga produces in a group could be translated to a single-player experience. The answer is: well, sort of. It's a fun game, but I couldn't help but feel that some of its game modes would have been more fun if they were actually board games. The Move controller certainly helps, but even with 1:1 motion ratios there's nothing that can simulate having the piece in your hand. That leads to some inaccuracy, and a feeling of detachment when you're putting down the piece.

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To their credit though, Supermassive Games has done an admirable job of translating that kind of control to the Move hardware. There are a number of intelligent systems in play that help the player stay in control at all times. Having a player control an object in a 3D space using a different object in a differently-scaled 3D space is exceedingly difficult, but they've pulled it off very well.

Tumble screenshot

For instance, at any time you can push a button and bring the on-screen cursor into the middle of the screen. It's like a reset for your cursor. You're essentially recalibrating the system whenever you please. This is in stark contrast to many games that will calibrate once, and then you're stuck with it for a while. Even if you want to change positions.

Plus, you can shift the position of the object while you're holding it. It just takes a single flick of the wrist (up, down, left, right) and the object slides 90 degrees in your grip. It's a good solution to a simple problem that nonetheless could have crippled this game if not properly addressed.

Tumble screenshot

The majority of Tumble is about stacking objects. I know, that sounds incredibly boring, but as was stated earlier, Jenga has been around for ages, which is based on the same idea. These levels give you a set of objects. It's your job to stack them as high as you can, as fast as you can. The inclusion of the time limit (if you beat it you get an extra star) adds a lot of tension to what otherwise would have been a boring, simplistic formula.

Screenshots / Images
Tumble screenshot - click to enlarge Tumble screenshot - click to enlarge Tumble screenshot - click to enlarge Tumble screenshot - click to enlarge

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