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Game Info:

Tumblestone
Developed by: The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild
Published by: The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild
Released: July 12, 2016
Available on: Windows, macOS, Linux/SteamOS, Xbox One, PS4, WiiU
Genre: Puzzle
ESRB rating: E
Number of players: 1-4
Price: $24.99
(Humble Store Link)

 

Thank you, Ty Taylor, for sending us a copy of this game to review!

When it comes to puzzle games, it seems that the "match three" type comes up many, many times. These games should be familiar to anyone who has played video games for any length of time. Line up three matching shapes, and poof! They disappear. The puzzle continues in this fashion until a certain condition is met – often the removal of all the shapes – or the player loses. 

So Tumblestone doesn't deviate from this tried and true formula by much. The developer, The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild, does add a slight twist, though. Your character needs to select three of the colors from the blocks closest to him/her/it. If you don't select three matching colors, you will be penalized – often by having to start the puzzle all over from the beginning!

Tumblestone
Highlights:

Strong Points: Colorful and amusing graphics; fun and varied gameplay
Weak Points: Bland music; puzzles can sometimes be frustratingly difficult; few online players to compete against
Moral Warnings: Cartoonish violence; undead references

While I wouldn't call this mechanic particularly innovative or original, it is different enough to keep a player interested, at least. The game features a variety of modes to play. There is a story mode, in which several characters with oversized heads try to solve a set of puzzles that increase in difficulty the further into the story you get. There are a few random challenges thrown in for good measure, but most of the puzzles have a unique solution. Other modes are randomly generated, such as "infinipuzzle," in which you can make matches until you make a mistake, or marathon, where you can keep making matches for as long as you can until the stones close in on you.

One of the main emphasis to the game, though, is multiplayer. Tumblestone supports local LAN or online matches. However, there never seemed to be anyone interested in joining a match. Fortunately, you can select computer opponents to play against, and set their difficulty levels to provide you with a decent challenge. Multiplayer also gives you, the player, experience points, which only seem to be useful for trying to gain achievements.

Tumblestone
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 80%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 92%
Violence - 8/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 8/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

The art style is cartoonish and goofy. Each color of the blocks has a different, amusing, and animated expression. The characters you can choose, which include a mermaid and a sausage, have wacky designs. A colorblind mode also is available, which is a handy option to have. A variety of languages also are available. The music is catchy, but not particularly memorable. The sound effects are functional, but lack originality. There is no voice acting to speak of. The controls are sharp and responsive, whether you're using a game controller or the keyboard.

From a moral perspective, there isn't a lot to worry about. There are a few undead references – especially in relation to the Skull King – and some cartoonish violence between characters in the story mode. But there isn't any blood or gore, nudity, or language issues to be concerned about. This game is about as clean as they come, really, and quite fits the "E for Everyone" rating given by the ESRB.

All in all, Tumblestone is an entertaining game that encourages frequent replay. The graphics are fun and the puzzles are challenging enough to keep the brain engaged, but not so frustratingly difficult as to discourage playing. For indie games as of late, the price of $24.99 may seem a bit steep. But for the amount of replay value, if you enjoy puzzle games it could very well be worth it. But if you're looking to enjoy it as a multiplayer game, you may want to bring some friends. 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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