The fate of the word is left to a seed, the only seed that can move across the land guided by a platform below them. TumbleSeed has you controlling a seed which sets out to explore a world full of holes, desperately trying to not tumble into them.
You are a part of the prophecy. A seed that’s going to go far, solving the issue of monsters creating holes within the ground. You are The TumbleSeed. However, your movement solely depends on the bar below the seed. In the Nintendo Switch version of the game, which is what I used to make this review, you must move the joysticks up, to move the bar appropriately. Moving the left joystick up, tilts the left side up, while moving the right tilts the right side up. This is a very unique way to control your character.
This movement is what makes TumbleSeed a very, very interesting game. You’ll need to make tiny adjustments to the sides of the bar to make sure you avoid monsters, holes, activated buttons and also get to go inside houses to talk to individuals. Moving slowly in places and then quickly to overcome holes will be helpful when it comes to control. Your goal is to continue moving forward while not falling into holes, traps or hitting enemy — and there are a lot of them.
As The tumbleseed, you will go between open lands filled with monsters and towns, with various other seeds within them. These villages with tons of other characters add a needed break to the challenging and intense gameplay, as well as some character to the story. You’ll run into people who talk about you saving them, some that are afraid of the holes that are happening and a few villagers who will have a selection of stuff you can purchase or quests for you to take.
Your base camp, where you will end up each time that you die, will give you quests and provide a little bit of conversation. These different seeds for purchase are the most interesting thing to me. As The Prophet Seed, you can switch between a few basic seed types from the start. You begin with the default seed, which can plant checkpoints — this is very useful as when you fall down a hole you’ll need to have a checkpoint nearby to continue forward with the rest of your lives.
You’ll also start with a gem seed, which plants gems until it’s full and then rewards you with a few gems. Gems are the currency and also used for planting. As there are a lot of enemies, you can be a thorny seed, which can plant gems to gain thorns revolving around yourself. When these thorns collide with enemies they will die. After a bit of playing you’re also given a heart seed, which, after planting a lot, can refill your lives. These are just the starter seeds you get, but if you trade in gems, you can get seeds that make you camouflaged if activated, seeds that plant springs, seeds that attack much more viciously and many, many more. You can switch to a different seed at any time, which also pauses the game and lets you cycle through the options — a feature you should use often, especially when in intense parts of the world.
Now, I should probably talk about planting gems to activate these seed’s abilities. You can collect gems scattered throughout the land. These gems are then planted in small holes within the land of monsters. They then grow flowers. In the case of seeds that need to be planted once — like checkpoints, thorns, or springs — you will instantly gain that ability. In seeds that take a few gem plantings before it works, like gaining a heart and gaining more gems, you’ll need to wait until the seed itself is full of color or the heart is completed on the health bar.
The only issue with planting gems is that in the monster lands, there is only a limited area to plant in. You’ll need to decide if you want a weapon right now or would rather start planting for some gems later and sometimes you’ll miss the planting areas altogether because it’s too dangerous to go there.
The monster lands do contain more than just monsters, traps and holes. At times, there are buttons that you need to keep your seed static on, letting it light up around you. This button usage is also how you make purchases at shops — so you’ll need to learn to make your seed halt its roll. These buttons will also make up challenging puzzles, normally surrounded by monsters and holes, adding more difficulty to the game.
When it comes to checkpoints, you’ll need to place them often. When you fall down a hole, the screen will only move so far back before removing another life and then forcing you back to the base camp if you don’t have enough to continue.
TumbleSeed is a really quirky and enjoyable game — as long as you have the patience for it. There’s not a game I’ve ever played that’s similar. The movement does take some time to master and you will find yourself being challenged on the puzzles as well as when loads of monsters start appearing. Using the huge amount of seeds, you’ll be able to get by. The graphics themselves are really lovely as well. All in all, I really enjoyed the story and gameplay of this completely unique game.