Tumblestone: PAX East 2016

The Indie Mega Booth at this year’s PAX East was, as it always seems to be, absolutely awesome. Developers and designers from all corners of the US and beyond were there to show off their latest demos, developments, and designs to the crowd. One developer that brought in a crowd, due in large part to receiving a huge bump from Nintendo only a few days prior to PAX, was Ty Taylor. Ty Taylor, for indie aficionados, is the lead brain behind the graphically glorious, ‘The Bridge,’ which has met with critical acclaim on Steam. To have Steam push your product so boldly is no small feat. But what happens when one of the three biggest names in North American consoles starts bragging about you?

Nintendo recently put out a huge list of games that will be dropping onto their Wii U and 3DS consoles via their estore this summer and one of the hottest tickets they boasted about was Taylor’s latest creation, ‘Tumblestone.’ Tumblestone is a fresh new take on both party games as well as the, ‘match 3’ genre of puzzle games. ‘Match 3’ games, like the name suggests, simply refer to a style of puzzle game that requires the player to make matches of 3 or more like-items. Think ‘Bejeweled’ or ‘Super Collapse.’ However unlike those games, Tumblestone throws in a healthy dose of strategy and planning. You may find yourself punished instead of praised for having quick reflexes in Tumblestone.

Tumblestone requires players to make matches of 3 blocks of the same color by shooting them from the bottom of the screen. The blocks drop down from the top of the screen and several rows of blocks are presented at once. After you make a match, those 3 blocks disappear, revealing the blocks above them. While some levels move lightning fast and making matches is reflexive, some levels demand that the players slow down and plan their attacks two to three moves in advance. Moving too quickly will force you to reset your rows, giving your more methodical opponents a huge advantage.

I got to sit down and play with Ty at PAX and he took me through all that Tumblestone has to offer. The multiplayer/party aspect is Tumblestone’s big pull and you can pit yourself against all difficulties of AI players as well as go head to head against up to three other human players at the console. If you don’t have any friends, you can go online to challenge other people over your Internet connection and play with other Tumblestone players around the world. There will be both national and international leader boards to see who is the best of the best as well as a series of achievement boards for those players who are able to successfully accomplish difficult challenges set up by Ty and his team.

The game also boasts a single player, Mario style world map filled with over 100 levels for you to master. Seeing the maps and the number of levels that you are required to defeat before moving on, I asked Ty if he was worried that people would get bored with the game too fast. He told me he wasn’t worried as each level wouldn’t be just matching three pieces over and over again. Every level will boast a challenge or stipulation that the player will be required to observe as they play. Some levels require players to focus on certain colors first while others have barriers that appear and disappear with every other shot.

With a huge bump from Nintendo, Tumblestone is ready to drop sometime this summer for Nintendo consoles and possibly on the Xbox and PS4 later in the year.