Tumblestone Review

July 30, 2016

Match-three puzzle games have been around since the late 1980’s, and particularly in the smartphone market have been done hundreds of times over. Yet the genre continues to be reinvented – Dr Mario had players fighting germs, Zuma challenged players to time shots and hit moving targets, and Puzzle Quest added RPG elements. These are but a few examples of games adding a twist to the otherwise standard design. So where does Tumblestone fall? Thankfully, it too offers a twist on the genre and doesn’t feel like a run-of-the-mill clone.

Tumblestone’s design is simple to understand but tricky to master. Players are presented with a grid full of different coloured blocks and your goal is to remove them by matching three of the same colour. You are, however, restricted to selecting the blocks directly above your avatar, so you have to be mindful of what order they are removed. There are unwritten rules and strategies you’ll learn while playing, such as getting rid of single blocks before focusing on stacks. You’ll learn these mostly through trial and error, but you never get frustrated at failure and instead relish the moment of success.

tumblestone screen1

There are gameplay modifiers which mix things up a bit in later levels. To name a few there are Stoppers which prevent you from selecting blocks until certain conditions are met, and there are Wild Blocks which can substitute any other block. The modifiers revolve around solving puzzles in a specific way, so it challenges the player while keeping things fresh and consistent. Additionally, the game has Quests to complete, ranging from completing levels within a certain number of moves, to completing challenges at higher difficulty settings. You’re awarded experience points for completing the Quests, though these aren’t used for anything other than assigning players a rank. It does offer a nice side element to focus on and breaks up the flow.

One of Tumblestone’s best features is the sheer amount of content on offer. There’s a single-player mode which features over 300 unique levels and challenges, as well as an Arcade and Multiplayer modes. The Arcade offers Marathon mode where you see how far you can get before running out of moves, Infinitepuzzle which is a never ending puzzle, and Heartbeat where you race against the clock and try to prevent the grid from filling completely. It has a nostalgic feeling and is more casual, giving it a strong pick up and play vibe.

Multiplayer is the star attraction here. You can play locally or online with up to four players across three different modes. Puzzle Race sees players compete to solve a puzzle the quickest. Battle acts as a block exchange where if you take away some blocks they are added to your opponent’s field and vice versa. Tug of War is similar to Battle, only instead of individual pieces you have entire sections of the grid. Multiplayer is easily the most appealing mode of the game, and is a cut above online offerings in most other puzzle games.

tumblestone screen 2

Potential purchasers should be warned that Tumblestone is sold as two separate packs. The Arcade mode is considered DLC while single-player and online is sold as one main package. It’s not a deal breaker, but it’s a shame as it would have been a better overall product if all modes were sold together. Also, there are Achievements/Trophies tied to the Arcade mode, so hardcore completionists may want to keep this in mind.

Puzzle games are generally not known for their groundbreaking graphics, and Tumblestone follows this trait. The game has colourful and clean 2D animations, but otherwise the presentation is barebones. There is a colourblind setting for those who need help distinguishing the different hues, which is a nice inclusion.

Tumblestone is an enjoyable puzzle game which has a unique take on the Match-Three puzzle genre. There are a lot of unwritten rules and strategies to discover, along with plenty of content including a single-player mode, online and local multiplayer, and an Arcade mode. It’s one of the better puzzlers to be released in recent memory, and is engaging for all fans of the genre.


Unique and fun gameplay
Lots of content
Great multiplayer mode


Arcade mode is DLC
Barebones presentation

Overall Score: