TumbleSeed — Precarious Abstract Tilt Action
Greg Wohlwend, Asher Vollmer, and Jimmy Hinson impressed the heck out of me with Threes! when it released on iPhone. While the art, game design, and music all came together brilliantly, the charming animations and art won me over right from the get go. I usually keep tabs on what designers and developers are working on next. The team of Benedict Fritz, Greg Wohlwend, Joel Corelitz, David Laskey, and Jenna Blazevich just released TumbleSeed and the wait has been more than worth it.
TumbleSeed is a modern rogue-lite game that is a spin on the classic arcade game Ice Cold Beer. Ice Cold Beer had you navigating a ball into a particular hole. The wall behind is full of holes and you control the movement by making the ball roll to the left or right as you use joysticks to raise the bar. TumbleSeed takes this core concept but adds a lot more.
You play as a seed that is trying to get to the top of the mountain peak to be planted. The world is full of obstacles that are trying to get you, and there are 5 different sets of procedurally generated levels to traverse as you try to make your way to the top. You use each joystick on the controller to tilt the branch from either side and pressing X will let you switch between the starting 4 seed types. FlagSeed will let you plant checkpoints using crystals while Thornvine gives you a way of dealing with enemies. Crystal and Heart are passive types that will let you gain crystals or a heart by moving over 3 or 4 seed patches.
While the game maybe too difficult for its own good initially, even compared to the classic rogue-lites like Spelunky and Rogue Legacy, the art direction and sound direction is excellent. Every screen of actual gameplay is a work of art with multiple things going on at the same time. Animations are smooth, and the choice of colours makes this one of the nicest looking and deceptively simple games in a long time. Every seed type (there are over 30) looks distinct and the enemies you encounter while meticulously crafted in mechanics and visuals make even the shortest of runs memorable.
TumbleSeed is an easy recommendation for anyone who has patience and is looking for a quick pick up and play game with an addictive game hook. It is available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Steam.