‘Tumblestone’ Arcade DLC Review

Tumblestone #5

Platforms Xbox One/PC/Playstation 4/Wii U

Developer/Publisher Quantum Astrophysicists Guild

Genre Puzzle  Platform Played Xbox One

Providing a handful of new modes to Tumblestone players, the Arcade DLC has been available to purchase since launch. Marathon, Heartbeat, and Infinipuzzle are available to demo with the core game, but in order to play more than 60 seconds, this DLC is required. This has resulted in some mixed feelings by gamers because on the one hand, it ultimately comes down to the developer and/or publisher to deem what is DLC and what comes in the final package, and this may be a method used to make up some of the income lost by debuting through the Games With Gold program, but on the other, day one DLC is still viewed negatively by many players as they believe it could have been included in the initial launch if it was available for the release date. Sadly, even after playing the DLC modes, it is difficult to imagine anyone changing their stances one way or the other, even if they were to pick up the additional content.

The single largest positive found in the DLC is the offering of modes outside of multiplayer and the story. If someone does not wish to challenge other players or bots, but also cannot progress beyond a specific level in Tumblestone, these three extra game modes offer a way to play the game by yourself, and generally in a slightly more relaxing manner. In the story mode, there is always a fair amount of stress placed on the player to correctly solve the puzzle so as to unlock the next level. In each of the bonus modes, there are no ends, they all continue until you either fail or quit. Marathon mode allows you to take a more relaxed approach to matching blocks, as it will offer you the time to assess your current situation without pushing blocks slowly towards the bottom of the screen. However, there is an interest element found in Marathon mode, which is a transparent sheet covering a certain portion of the blocks. If you happen to shoot a block above the edge of this panel, it will force another row of blocks to come down. If you fail to match three similarly coloured blocks, this sheet will lower by one row as well. Obviously the lower this panel goes, the more difficult it becomes to make mistakes as there is less open space between the blocks and failure. Fortunately, if you manage to clear out all of the blocks which are not hidden behind this panel, it will raise by one row, offering you more breathing room but also bringing you one step closer to a large quantity of bonus points. If you are successful is pushing this sheet all the way up to the top of the screen by clearing row after row of blocks, a large number of wildcard blocks will appear, boosting your score without any potential for immediate failure. Due to the lack of time-based elements in this mode, Marathon is easily the most enjoyable for anyone searching for a casual puzzle experience in Tumblestone, and actually presents the only mode where it may be found.

Tumblestone #6

Heartbeat is the second mode provided through the Arcade DLC and it forces the player to think quickly while attempting to clear a moving collection of blocks. After a brief two or three second headstart at the beginning of the level, the mass of tumblestones begins sliding downwards, exposing additional rows of blocks but also constantly bringing the player closer to failure if they are unable to match up triplets quickly enough. Similarly to the Marathon mode, if you fail to match three blocks, there is a sudden surge of tumblestones on the screen, giving you less room to work. The final game mode is Infinipuzzle which as the title suggests, provides an endless stream of randomized puzzles to complete. Each separate puzzle is separated by a row of indestructible tumblestones which only disappear after completing the previous section. Modifiers can be used to make this mode more challenging, but like in multiplayer, you may only use the modifiers you have unlocked through story mode. Infinipuzzle ends when you fail to complete a puzzle, with one wrong move spelling disaster.

The variety of modes offered in the Arcade DLC is decent enough, but it admittedly feels very underwhelming when speaking about additional content for a game. In fact, it has taken you longer to read to this point in the review than it would for you to sample the three additional gameplay modes offered through Tumblestone‘s DLC. Marathon is great as a more casual option for players, and Heartbeat will offer a tension-filled experience but still allow for mistakes without forcing a restart. Infinipuzzle will likely be the mode from this DLC which gets the least play time simply because it offers precisely what the story mode does, but without cut scenes or specific modifiers based on the world you happen to be playing through. If there were another mode or two included in the DLC, it would provide a much more appealing package, particularly if new modifiers were included as well.

The Verdict

Given the limited number of modes made available through Tumblestone‘s Arcade DLC, those who held a negative opinion of the DLC prior to purchasing it will likely not have their stance swayed. Those who own the core game on the Xbox One and downloaded it for free through the Games With Gold program will find themselves more inclined to pay for the added content, but anyone playing on a separate platform and therefore paying for Tumblestone as a standalone experience might feel paying an extra $5 for three modes to be too steep. There is nothing inherently wrong with the game modes, and two of the three offer completely new ways to play the match-three style of game, but anyone expecting to receive hours of gameplay from this added content are only going to find it if they absolutely despise the story mode or have completed it. Even at that point, it would be difficult to divide more than five or six hours between the game modes before it becomes too tedious. The Arcade DLC helps broaden the appeal of Tumblestone, providing slightly more casual modes, but those investing in the added content should be well aware that it will not drastically change sentiments towards the title or the amount of time spent playing it, for better or worse.

The Good

  • Introduces a more casual game mode
  • Allows players stuck in story mode to enjoy something other than multiplayer

The Bad

  • Only three new modes offered in the bundle
  • Modifiers are still only available to use after being unlocked in the story mode
  • Infinipuzzle mode feels like a copy/paste of the story mode but with randomized puzzles

The Score: 6.1

Eric is an Xbox editor for Analog Addiction where you can find all the latest gaming news, previews, reviews, and everything else that rhymes with those words. ‘Like’ Analog Addiction on Facebook to receive all of the updates as they’re posted.


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