Tumble was one of the few PlayStation Move games that did something interesting with the controller when they both were released six years ago, but can the jump into virtual reality add anything worthwhile?
The core game remains the same; you are given a selection of blocks and shapes made of different materials which then have be stacked or interlocked to reach a certain height or number. It’s a bit like a reverse version of Jenga, but rather than uniform hyperrectangles the game gives you cylinders, pyramids and other odd shaped blocks.
Whilst the majority of the puzzles involve interlocking the shapes in the correct order, you must also consider the blocks properties. Glass and plastic blocks are light and slippy, whilst rubber elements are heavier and have more grip. To keep things interesting there are different types of puzzles, some require you to use all the blocks, others to reach a certain height, or to explode towers using mines.
Certain levels dispense with the stacking all together and require you to use mirrors to direct a light beam across a maze, or there are limbo levels in which a bar slides across the play area and knocks anything it touches off the side. Each level has a bronze, silver, and gold medal, and there are then further challenge medals that you can aim for. Acquiring a certain number of medals then unlocks the next set of levels.
Whilst it is more natural to use a Move controller and point and click the game works perfectly well with a Dualshock 4. However, it is much easier to manoeuvre blocks precisely with the Move, but easier to rotate them using the Dualshock, so there are benefits to both control schemes.
There is also a multiplayer mode which is quite different to the version that shipped six years ago. Rather than take it in turns, the person with the VR headset builds whilst the second player, viewing the game via the TV, must place traps and obstacles such as fans and lasers to hinder the builder’s progress. There’s also a co-op mode, and the single-player has over 70 levels to puzzle through so there’s a lot of gameplay to be found.
A new addition to the game is the rather amusing floating AI bot who guides you through the levels. There’s a hint of Portal about him, with the odd casual reference to you being an unwilling test subject as well as his rather dry sense of humour – “Sorry not sorry” he intones, after describing a particularly devious challenge.
The original PlayStation Move title scored a very acceptable 7/10 when we reviewed it six years ago, but VR really does add – if you will excuse the pun – an extra dimension to the gameplay. You can now clearly see where you can place the blocks, and with the pinpoint tracking on the PlayStation Move controller you can make the most delicate of placements. I found myself glancing around the sides of my tower to work out where to add the next, just as you would do in real life. After ten minutes or so in the game world, the controls and headset fade away as the puzzles get more and more devious, and that’s the best compliment I can give; I completely forgot I was playing a VR game.
Tumble VR builds on the successful formula found in the original PlayStation Move title, with virtual reality greatly adding to the experience. It may not be the loudest or prettiest VR title, nor the game that blows your socks off with explosion-laden trailers and exciting moments, but it is one of the most natural and immersive game I have played in VR so far. Tumble VR and its simple block stacking seem like the least exciting of all the PSVR launch titles, yet it’s turned out to be one of the best. Recommended.