Finding a game with the abundance of character that Tumbledrop supplies is a rare thing. Its animation and cheerful demeanor remind us of Rolando or even Katamari, but most impressive is its unique combination of physics, logic, and adorable shapes.
The goal of Tumbledrop is quite straightforward: get the pink star to safety. On every level, there is at least one green platform, surrounded by water. If the pink star falls into the water, the level restarts; if it lands safely on the platform, you progress. Each level begins with the pink star suspended by a number of yellow shapes, and your job is to eliminate shapes by touching them, with a mind for how the remaining objects will physically react. A short timer limits how quickly you can remove shapes, and therein lies the challenge and need for strategy.
The game’s physics system is phenomenal. It is as realistic as expected from a puzzle game, but what sets it apart are the subtle variations that small increments of time can create. Removing one shape may have caused one chain reaction one time, but waiting one more second for the pieces to settle can have a whole different effect if you play the level again. Not only that, but it can be intensely fun to just remove pieces obviously serving as cornerstones and see what happens.
One of the most appealing aspects of Tumbledrop is its charming animation. Each shape has a little face, complete with facial expressions that react to its fate. When the pink star lands safely on a platform, the faces of all of the shapes remaining will break out in joyful smiles. But if the pink star begins a descent into the water, its small eyes widen and turn white with terror.
Katamari happiness is contagious.
While the main objective is simply to get the pink star to safety, a star medal is awarded if you do so by removing a small number of shapes, and a heart medal is awarded for removing a great many shapes. With the current tally of 60 levels, split evenly among the three basic difficulties, there are 120 medals to earn. However, we still found this unsatisfactory, due to the unvaried nature of these medals. The game would definitely benefit from more unique achievements, which could be paired with new modes that are timed or include pieces that can’t be removed.
Another feature we want to see expanded is Tumbledrop’s social connectivity. There is currently Facebook and Twitter integration in the quick play mode, where all of the levels are shuffled up to see how long your winning streak can last, but it isn’t connected to the main part of the game, and it could be much more extensive.
Altogether, Tumbledrop is a gem that tumbled into our hearts as soon as we picked it up and refused to let us drop it until we had completed at least one set of its brain-teasing levels.