Review: TumbleMaze

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Length As long as the player wishes to play

Release Date 2019

Publisher: Blue Orange Games
Category: Puzzle game
Players: 1
Price: $27.99

TumbleMaze is a solitaire logic game from Blue Orange, a company known for smartly-designed products that are geared towards kids but offer enjoyable gameplay for adults as well. With multiple levels of difficulty, it is a great game for a variety of ages.

Review

As an avid fan of puzzle/logic games, I was very excited to check out TumbleMaze, a solitaire puzzle challenge with a cool action element. The game is played on a slanted, plastic board with a grid of holes in it and a lever that releases marbles, which roll down the inclined plane.

To begin each puzzle, the player inserts a card into the side of the board, which illustrates the setup. TumbleMaze comes with three lengths of wall pieces, which can be inserted into the grid to create barriers to guide the marbles. Each card also shows where the marbles begin at the top of the board, and the slots they must land in at the bottom to complete the challenge.

When set up according to the illustration, the puzzles do not work, of course. Here is an example of a puzzle set up, with no additional wall pieces added:

Notice that the puzzle requires one marble to land in the leftmost slot, and another to land in the rightmost slot, only one of which occurs. In order to solve a puzzle, the player must add the indicated pieces to the board to make all required marbles go where they need to. As an example:

With the addition of a yellow wall piece, the puzzle is now complete: one marble lands in the leftmost slot, and another lands in the rightmost slot.

The puzzles come in four difficulty levels, and they can be surprisingly challenging. Some may have multiple, valid solutions, and there is a great deal of room for creativity if players want to design their own.


TumbleMaze blurs the line between a game and a toy, but no matter which category it falls into, it’s a great time.

This type of game can easily be disappointing if the puzzles are too easy. Take Roller Coaster Challenge from ThinkFun, for example; it is a great toy, but a lackluster puzzle for adults and even older kids, because it is way too easy. Happily, TumbleMaze is tricky enough to make players think, and it makes them feel smart when they figure out a tough puzzle. (Also, it’s just really fun to play with the pieces.)

This game is a great tool for teaching problem-solving skills; I could totally see it being used in a classroom setting. The only issue I have with it is that the challenge cards are not double-sided. The back side of each card bears the solution, but I would have much preferred if it had been a whole new puzzle. Nonetheless, the puzzles that are included are good brain teasers.

All in all, I enjoyed TumbleMaze a lot. Solitaire logic games like this can be hit-or-miss, but this one is a definite hit.

A review copy was provided by Blue Orange Games.

The Bottom Line

I enjoyed TumbleMaze a lot. Solitaire logic games like this can be hit-or-miss, but this one is a definite hit.

 

8.5

Author: Stephen Hall

A bard pretending to be a cleric. Possibly a Cylon, too. I was there when they dug up the "E.T." cartridges.