My word, another one. The third physics-based Windows Phone 7 game I’ve reviewed in a row, but at least this one doesn’t involve stacking – thank goodness for small mercies! No, this title doesn’t bother itself with the troubles of blocks and balancing, but is instead all about manipulating the landscape in order to get a small ball – presumably the tumbler of the piece – to a goal.
At first this makes for little more than a glorified marble run, rotating the landscape in order to guide your tumbler through a fixed path. At this the game works well enough, penalising you for swiping too impatiently as the tumbler ends up being bashed around by the stage, or dragged in the wrong direction by inertial forces. However, it soon shows a little more ambition, turning into an altogether more complicated beast. First it introduces elements to the stages which are affected in different ways by your actions, rotating at different speeds and in different directions, or occupying their own orbits. And more and more, the game begins to demand that you make greater efforts to bend physics to your will, using centrifugal forces and inertia to launch your tumbler through the levels in order to reach its goal.
The game also adds dynamic elements to the levels: some objects which move of their own volition, others with unique properties when coming in contact with the tumbler. Using these, the game is able to depict themed levels – so, after a series of abstract stages to navigate, the player is presented with a mini pinball table, with bumpers and automated flippers to navigate, or a tiny volleyball court with a perpetually jumping player, where the only control to be had is in swinging his arm around.
Which brings us to the controls. Key to them is the shape of the stages: each is perfectly circular. The player can rotate the stage clockwise or anti-clockwise, which may in turn move objects on the stage. This can happen indirectly – gravity pulling objects down from a pivot – or directly, as the objects rotate to match the state’s facing. The latter controls the volleyballer’s arm, while the former leads to situations with trap doors that must be navigated, flinging the tumbler through them before they slam shut. It’s a clever system, allowing for a complex array of influences while having an incredibly simple control system.
Alas, the game has clearly not been endowed with a large budget – it won’t be blowing anybody away with its graphical stylings or its sound effects. But this slightly cheap feel just makes the game all the more endearing – it’s an unpretentious, well designed little puzzler which doesn’t try to dazzle you, simply impressing with its solid controls and tricky level design. A charming little game, and one which is available for free – go out and grab a copy already!
Tumbler Gameplay Video
Version Under Review : 220.127.116.11
Tumbler is a FREE game for Windows Phone 7
Our Rating for Tumbler