Hands On Preview : Clickgamer’s Tumble Jumble

iPhone
4.5
 

Tumble Jumble

Publisher(s)  Clickgamer
Developer(s)  Utopian Games

Platform(s) Reviewed  iPod Touch • Release Date  November 10, 2009 • Version Reviewed  pre-release •

Pros    Fun addictve gameplay, Seemless per-level global leader boards, Comprehensive easy to use level editor    Cons    No way to share user-generated levels, Some of the "Easy" levels seemed too difficult, Rotation controls a little too sensitive

 

We had the opportunity to get our hands on the final build of Clickgamer’s Tumble Jumble before it hits the App Store next week, lets just say…you are in for a treat!

Tumble_Jumble_02Tumble Jumble : Intergalactic Rodent Removals is a fantastic new physics-based puzzle game from Clickgamer. As an employee of the Intergalactic Rodent Removal Company, you must rotate and drop a specified number of block-shaped rodents into containers while avoiding a variety of obstacles, including lasers and evil platforms. Tumble Jumble’s game play is similar to Tetris, but has some really nice physics aspects that make it a much more fun and interesting game. A finite set of different shaped polygons will drop from the top of the screen and players must find a way to fit all of the pieces into the container, without anything sticking up over the top. Unlike Tetris, where you only see a preview of the next piece, in Tumble Jumble you actually see a preview of the next five upcoming pieces so you can strategize ahead. While the pieces are falling you can adjust them left, right, speed their descent, or rotate them clockwise or counter clockwise, but as soon as the piece touches either the side wall or another object, the player has no more control over it. When your object lands, gravity and momentum takes over and the “rodent” will settle or shift until it finds its final resting place. This can end up helping or hurting your chances at success. There is a counter at the top of the screen which tells you how mant pieces you have left to fit into the container.

Tumble_Jumble_03Clickgamer has further varied gameplay by adding some additional elements that (now ordinary looking) Tetris never had. A few special blocks are included, which when they touch another object, will either destroy it, removing it from the container, or enlarge it, causing it to take up more space. There are also certain red-colored objects in the container which, if touched, will cause you to instantly lose the game.

All these gaming aspects lead to a game that is tremendously fun and challenging, if not a little frustrating at times. Some levels require perfect execution, while others are a bit more forgiving. It did take a few play throughs to get used to the game’s Physics component, but once we did, it added some really nice complexity and depth to the game.

While the pieces look more like cute polygons with eyes than “rodents” to us, we really liked Tumble Jumble’s stylized vector graphics, and were instantly drawn into the game. This visual style is complemented nicely by a beautifully composed piano & woodwind soundtrack, that is a pleasure to listen to. Although the mellowness of the music is offset by occasional harsh Industrial sounding bells and whistles, which make you feel like you are in a factory setting. In between stages, players are treated to some amusing animations which help to explain the game’s storyline.

Tumble_Jumble_05Tumble Jumble features over 60 levels, broken up into EASY, MEDIUM, HARD and EXTREME puzzles, with the player having to complete the majority of levels in one difficulty before being able to progress to the next.

The level difficulties ratings didn’t always seem to be appropriate, with some of the levels classified as “Easy” being fairly difficult. Upon completion of a level, you can submit their score (time) to the per-level global leaderboards to see how it stack up against other players around the world, and the developers themselves. Accessing the global leaderboard info was fast and seamless, and you can quickly keep replaying levels to try and improve your standings.

Further expanding the game’s repalyability, Clickgamer has thought to include a full-featured built-in level editor, providing players with an infinite number of levels limited only by their creativity. The level editor is super easy to use, you just drag and drop your obsticles, then slect the blocks you want and which order you’d like the player to place them in. It literally took us less than 30 seconds to get a great level up and running. Name your level, set its difficulty and save it for future play, or go back and edit it at any time. The only thing we thought was missing from the level editor, is a means of sharing the levels amongst other players online, hopefully we might see this in a future update.

Tumble_Jumble_04We always like to offer our two cents on suggestions for improvement, so here it goes. As mentioned before, we’d like to see a means for sharing user-generated levels. Overall the game’s controls were really solid, with one exception. We sometimes found ourselves over-rotating objects, so it It would be nice to have a way to adjust the sensitivity of the rotation controls. Finally we think it’d be cool if Clickgamer could add some accelerometer support that would allow players to tilt the device a little to play with the gravity and help shift (already landed blocks) a little left or right, to make a little room at the top for more objects.

Being burnt out on Tetris, honestly we were a little hesitant picking up this game. Although, any reservations we had were quickly squashed when we discovered that Clickgamer had come up with a truly engaging game that, while at first glance may seem like just another Tetris game, has a lot more depth and substance. Tumble Jumble will be available on the App Store next week for the low price of just $0.99.

We highly recommend the game, especially to fans of Tetris and people who like to overpack their suitcases. Clickgamer and developer Utopian Games have created an entertaining little puzzle game loaded with value and hours of entertainment.