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.