Tomb Toad, the unconventional gravity-based dungeon-crawler, arrived in app stores this week with the help of publisher Crescent Moon. Those with their ears to the ground have been highly anticipating solo developer MissionCTRL’s latest title over the past year and with good reason. Tomb Toad stands to be a ground-breaking spin—pun absolutely intended—on a classic genre. The gameplay is deceptively simple: A funky little toad man slowly drifts towards the bottom of the screen, and your only movement controls are rotating the top-down map on its axis and throwing yourself at the mercy of gravity. In addition to being a creative take on the genre, this creates a focus on carefully plotting each move. Thus, it turns an otherwise standard dungeon explorer into a fascinating mashup of the rougelike and puzzle genres.
Expertly navigate your gruff-yet-adorable toad adventurer around enemies, traps, and treasure as you take in the ultra-retro 1-bit graphics. The game boasts 100 levels, an original chiptune soundtrack, and a custom level editor to prolong the fun, inspire creativity, and give the player the most bang for their buck.
The question remains whether or not this gravity-based control scheme has been fleshed out enough. Is there enough polish for it to graduate from gimmick to full-fledged mechanic? Will Tomb Toad turn out triumphant? Or trip up tremendously? Truly, this is a trial to tune in to. Priced at $3.99, Tomb Toad seems worth the cost of entry to experience such a unique take on the genre while highlighting an underutilized mechanic. However, only time will tell. It’s available now on iOS and Android devices.