Day 269: Fumbo

Posted: 2011/08/05 in Indie Games

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game (XBLIG) every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and are not well represented in the top 50 lists on the Xbox Dashboard. Today is day #269, and today’s game is “Fumbo”.

Fumbo solves the problem I didn’t know I had: that almost all puzzle games have become bubble popping/board clearning experiences. Fumbo is different, you rotate pieces until the puzzle is solved. Success doesn’t clear the recently-rotated section either, it simply helps you keep building to a complete solution of the board. Look past the Madagascar-esque presentation (or appreciate it, as per your preference), and you’ll find an enjoyable and customisable puzzle game beneath that’s truly unique.

First, from the developer (PhudgBoy):

“Fumbo is an African themed puzzle game designed to be casual yet mentally challenging. Fumbo does away with the overused bubble bursting, board clearing, time limited scenarios of the puzzle genre and replaces it with a puzzle that is challenging but allows the player to solve it at a comfortable, relaxed pace.”

On the presentation front, it must be said that I love the African-themed background music. That theme runs through the graphics and audio, and is refreshing and enjoyable. The controls for picking up, rotating, and replacing pieces is seamless enough, and before long you’re solving puzzles. Each piece has four sides, with animal portions on each. Match the correct lower halves to the correct upper halves all across the board to win. So ingrained in us is the idea of progressively “clearing” a board in a puzzle game that I’m actually struggling with this review to not inadvertently type the word “clear”, so it’s really nice to see a game with a decidedly different focus.

The game has a “cheat” button in case you get stuck, but it has a sense of humour about it: a loud siren barks out every time you use it, making sure anyone in earshot knows you’re a cheaty cheatersen. A neat touch, but be ready to mute the TV/sound system if your roommates are asleep.

For 80 Microsoft Points, this is a game that’s very hard to go wrong with. The presentation can appeal to all ages, and the difficulty level variety is enough for puzzle solvers of all ages and skill levels.

Click here to download “Fumbo”, and then please come back after playing to rate the game.

Know someone else who would want to read the review, or rate the game? “Share This” and invite them to.


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