Tilt And Roll Up A Monstrous Mountain In TumbleSeed

TumbleSeed [official site] is described by its developers as a “rolly roguelike”, which is a catchy piece of alliteration that’s perhaps overeager to embrace the term “roguelike”. It’s more like an arcade game: you control the tilt of a horizontal beam running the width of the screen, on top of which rests your character. By rolling him left and right you avoid holes and monsters while ascending a mountain and applying upgrades as you go. There’s a trailer below and I like it.

I haven’t played a game in which you control a character by tilting a beam like that before. Like Downwell’s gunboots, it’s a smart and simple idea, and also like Downwell’s gunboots I sorta wish I’d thought of it.

Though I haven’t played a game exactly like this before – I guess it’s a bit like Loco Roco, sorta – that doesn’t mean such a game doesn’t exist. That “it’s more like an arcade game” in the first paragraph wasn’t just me being a roguelike snob, either: the developers also sent along this video of the thirty-year-old arcade game that inspired TumbleSeed. It’s called Ice Cold Beer and there’s a version of it in an arcade bar near the developers in Chicago. Check it out:

Knowing that it has this history makes me like the game and its central idea more, for some reason. TumbleSeed is due for release early next year and you can sign up to a mailing list to find out when on that official site.


  1. Barfo says:

    I played this (extensively at PAX) and it immediately was game of the show for me. The kinetic/rolling/balancing elements are immediately grokable and fun (and pretty well shown in the trailer), but what is not necessarily obvious from the trailer is how very tight the rogue-like elements are. There is a complex risk/reward balancing of resources, prioritization and especially scarcity, this is a serious rogue-like with a very cool basic mechanic and an interesting pastel art style, not a pastel wrapped rogue-lite with small procedural elements. From what I saw (I made about 5-7 runs at it over all 4 days) there is a huge amount of thought that went into many small details of design, especially how to make the various enemies/barriers/etc harmonious within a zone, but distinct between them.

    Once this can get into the hands of people to play, it has the potential to be a big sleeper hit.

  2. treat says:

    Ice Cold Beer is the one game I play every time I visit my local arcade (along with Race Drivin’ and Fire Truck) and I’m really happy to see this is a thing that will exist in the same reality I inhabit.