Saturday, January 16, 2016

Yet Another Year of the GameBoy: Tumblepop

To know me--or at least the part of me that enjoys playing video games--is to know that I love single-screen platformers.

If this is the first time you've come across that phrase, it's basically used to describe and categorize games like Bubble Bobble and Don Doko Don and Snow Bros.

Also, despite this genre's name, not all of the games included under its umbrella stick to a single screen. Taito's Parasol Stars is a good example.

The game I'm covering here, Data East's Tumblepop, is another example. Or at least its GameBoy port is, as some of its many, many stages scroll to cover more than that handheld's standard screen acreage.

That's not really the point of this post, though. (Don't worry, I'll talk about this portable version's gameplay, graphics and soundtrack in an upcoming write-up.) The point is to applaud the wonderful packaging Data East produced for the Japanese GameBoy port of Tumblepop.

I mean, seriously, look at the lovely piece of art that's plastered across the cover of Tumblepop's box.

OK, so I guess it's kind of weird that the game's title is a bit off-center, but I can deal with that when everything else is so on point.

I especially love how the pumpkin enemy's claws (or at least I think those claws belong to old pumpkin head) are gouging the ground before it--you know, because it's being sucked into a super-powered vacuum.

In case you weren't aware, the protagonists in Tumblepop wield vacuum cleaners and use them to suck up baddies and spit them back out at other baddies. As for why they do this, well, I'm not entirely sure, although I have a feeling the game or its manual explains it in some loosely acceptable manner.

The back of Tumblepop's box (see above and below) gives viewers a better look at this, er, weapon of mass de-suck-tion, in case you're curious.

Somewhat unfortunately, both Tumblepop's car label and manual cover feature the same piece of art that's found on the front of its box. Oh, well, at least it's a nice piece of art.

Also, at least the manual cover strips some of the color out of the art--which is pretty par for the course when it comes to Japanese GameBoy manuals. (Here is one more example, and here's yet another.) 

The interior of Tumblepop's instruction manual is anything but "par for the course," if you ask me. I especially like that the art style utilized for its illustrations is a bit different from the one utilized for its cover art. 

As for Tumblepop's in-game aesthetics, I'd describe them as acceptable. Obviously they're hurt by the fact that they're black and white (or black and green) rather than the full spectrum of the rainbow, but besides that they're also a bit ... basic? Bland?

That's not meant to cast aspersions on this portable port, by the way. Even with the somewhat uninspired visuals, Tumblepop for GameBoy is a fun little single-screen platformer.

Like I said earlier, I'll publish a write-up that more thoroughly critiques this title's gameplay shortly. In the meantime, you should consider heading over to my Flickr photostream, especially if you'd like to see a couple more photos of its lovely packaging.

See also: previous '(Another) Year of the GameBoy' posts

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