TumbleSeed is an upcoming action video game in which the player balances a rolling seed on an ascending, horizontally slanted vine past procedurally generated obstacles to reach the top of a mountain. The game is a collaboration between developer Benedict Fritz and designer Greg Wohlwend, based on the mechanical arcade game Ice Cold Beer and built through the Cards Against Humanity game incubation program. TumbleSeed is planned for release in May 2017 on macOS, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Windows platforms.
In TumbleSeed, the player controls an ascending, horizontal, and slanted vine to balance a rolling seed past holes and enemies in procedurally generated obstacles to reach the top of a mountain. If the seed falls into a hole, the player returns to the bottom of the mountain to try again. While ascending the mountain, the player can upgrade the seed with multiple offensive and defensive power-up “suits”.
The game is based on Ice Cold Beer, a mechanical arcade game in which the player controls the ends of a metal rod to raise a rolling, metal ball vertically in a wooden cabinet while avoiding holes cut into the wood. The Chicago-based indie development team found the machine at an arcade where they competitively played the 2013 video game Killer Queen. Developer Benedict Fritz later prototyped a version of Ice Cold Beer in the Unity game engine with a simple white background and black, circular holes. His friend, designer Greg Wohlwend, who had previously worked on Threes and Ridiculous Fishing, saw a short, online video of Fritz’s prototype and the two began to work together on the project by adding enemies, an in-game world, and procedurally generated levels. Their prototypes included dungeon crawl and open world, action-adventure genre explorations. They spent two years designing the title and wanted to honor and contribute to the legacy of Ice Cold Beer. They also worked through a Cards Against Humanity game incubation program in 2015, and several other indie developers based in Chicago joined the production: David Laskey, Jenna Blazevich, and composer Joel Corelitz. The team released a promotional trailer in August 2016 ahead of a demo at the PAX West game show.
With the announcement of the Nintendo Switch, the development team sought to become a “flagship” demonstration of the console’s HD Rumble feature, in which the player proprioceptively “feels” in-game textures through the controller’s fine-tuned vibrations. The developers thought that the Switch’s “high-fidelity vibration” afforded players a greater sense of in-game detail with better perception about the seed’s speed and direction. They cold-called Nintendo and began work together in June 2016, prior to the Switch’s announcement. Designer Greg Wohlwend saw the game as sharing classic Nintendo attributes, including a wide color palette, accessibility, and difficulty. Nintendo, at the time, was thawing its relations with indie developers by removing restrictions for development on their consoles. Wohlwend said that their partnership was positive and the port of the game’s code to the Switch was painless. Originally planned for release in 2015, TumbleSeed will release on May 2, 2017, on Nintendo Switch, macOS, PlayStation 4, and Windows platforms.
OS: Windows Vista or Later
Processor: SSE2 instruction set support
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: Shader Model 3.0 capable card
DirectX: Version 9.0c
Storage: 500 MB available space