Nintendad

[Review] TumbleSeed – Nintendo Switch

  • Developer: Team TumbleSeed
  • Publisher: aeiowu
  • Release Date: 02/05/2017
  • Price: £11.99 / $14.99
  • Title purchased for review as part of the #DiscoverIndies movement

TumbleSeed

TumbleSeed for Nintendo Switch is a game that I personally missed out on when it was released. Evidently I was still utterly absorbed in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, ergo being oblivious to the very existence of other games. Now, just shy of the second anniversary of this titles release I am experiencing it for the first time, thanks to the #DiscoverIndies movement. For those of you who don’t know, the premise is simple. On the inaugural Friday of every month, throughout 2019, browse the digital store of any of the major players, find an indie game that you’ve never heard of before and share your impressions of it. The beauty of this is, you don’t have to be a fancy pants media type to participate, you can do this through social media by simply sharing screenshots, videos and thoughts about the tile, along with the hashtag – #DiscoverIndies.
I however am a fancy pants media type, so I choose to review my #DiscoverIndies titles every month. You can find all past and eventually all future titles in the #DiscoverIndie tab.

Seedy business

Describing what kind of game TumbleSeed is is an interesting proposition. The developer describes it as a Roguelite roller so lets go just go with that. For anyone who hasn’t played a video game in the last 15 years or so, and is unaware of the term ‘Roguelite’, it stems from the incredibly similar term ‘Roguelike’. A few key traits of the Rogue sub genre of games are permadeath and procedural generated environments. Both are true and present in TumbleSeed.
So what is TumbleSeed then? Well it’s a game that utilises both of the joy sticks to control a platform that moves up a mountain. You use the left stick to move the left side and the right stick to move the right side. On the platform you have a seed, that you must get to the summit in order to be planted.
Simple right?
Wrong!

Planting the seeds

This title is tough as nails and the randomly generated nature only adds to the difficulty curve. It’s not the classic Rogue mechanic of one and done, you get three hearts. After losing a heart you are returned to the last checkpoint. Once all three a re gone, you are returned to base camp at the bottom of the mountain, ready for another run. It takes a fair bit of getting used to but once mastered scaling the mountain via the way of rolling along slopes that you control the gradient of is completely mesmerising and the gameplay loop is so addictive, grabbing you for just one more run. At the same time this title is downright heinous and there were numerous times I wanted to take my Switch to the shed, grab hammer and just go to town on it.
Luckily for Ol’ Purple, my lack of impulsiveness, combined with sheer laziness, not to mention having no disposable income prevented me from giving in to my primal urges. This time time at least.

SAME!!!

All comes tumbling down

For the record, I’m not personally the biggest fan of Rogue titles. I crave progress, being able to visibly track how far I’ve ventured, how I’ve developed and grown throughout the adventure. Despite this, the blurb on the eshop, combined with a brief trailer sold me on Tumbleseed very quickly. The graphical style employed is very cute and almost masks the insanity of just how challenging Tumbleseed really is. The soundtrack is equally jovial and really pairs quite beautifully with the visuals to create an immersive and, as aforementioned, completely consuming experience. I’m also not entirely sure, as I’ve grown accustomed to it in the nearly two years I’ve spent with my Switch, but I think Tumbleseed used HD rumble to good effect too.

Mountains out of mole hills

TumbleSeed is a somewhat surprisingly deep experience, offering so much depth and replay value. Aside from the initial four seed types you get, the first that allow you to plant flag seeds which act as checkpoint, the second granting you thorns so you can attack enemies, the third allowing you to collect crystals and the fourth rejuvenating hearts, there are also dozens of additional seed types to unlock. Unlike the standard four which you always have access to, once a run ends, you lose all of the new abilities that you have acquired, much akin to the way weapon management is dealt with in more traditional Rogue games. My only real gripe with the game is just how challenging it is, but that’s not the fault of this tantalising title, more my own shortcomings as a gamer.

Conclusion

Whilst it won’t be to everyone’s taste due to its Roguelite nature, is an incredibly well made game that is as engrossing as it is challenging. It is incredibly likely that if you play this game, you won’t want to put it down. At the same time, TumbleSeed lends itself perfectly to a brief blast at the end of your lunch break. To anybody who is a fan of Rogue titles, I can’t recommend TumbleSeed highly enough. For everybody else, it’s at your own discretion, but TumbleSeed is certainly unique enough in it’s execution to offer something both intriguing and engrossing.

Pros

  • Totally unique
  • Deceptively charming visuals and audio
  • Hard to put down
  • Incredibly replayable

Cons

  • Really, really, really hard
  • Anger inducing

Verdict
TumbleSeed is quite simply put an utterly unique gaming experience packed with charm and challenge in abundance.
4/5
Fifield

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