Topple in Review – A Stacking Game with Style

Ngmoco, the company of Dr. Awesome and Rolando fame has just recently made one of their older titles free: Topple. This deceptively simple game has you stacking blocks in order to reach a given vertical goal. However the game’s difficulty ramps up in the form of more unusual shapes to stack that break the conventional variations of a square block and a more distorted foundation in which to start placing pieces upon. The resultant product is a highly addictive game which uses its whimsical charms to lure you in and its surprisingly deep gameplay to keep you coming back for more.

The presentation in Topple is excellent with an art style that is reminiscent of Cartoon Network’s “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends”. The aesthetic presented in the game comes to life within the blocks, backgrounds and music as you play the game. Blocks will grimace and express delight as they wobble and teeter on the playing field and as a result you can’t help but feel empathetic towards the tower you’ve made. Backgrounds reinforce the cartoon image having you build against backdrops of surrealistic places such as a winding cityscape or a deep forest. To complement this given art direction of the game, GroovyAudio has provided orchestral music that gives a lighter feel to the game and accents the personality already found within the game.

However Topple certainly has some substance to back up its good looks as you’ll have to use strategy to rise higher later within the game. Although the outset of the game is simple, in the levels later on within the game you may find yourself having to use the tilt system in order to compensate for your increasingly unstable structure as shown above. Creativity will also have to become a staple as you’ll have to find new and innovative ways to make your heart stop with blocks as your tower’s structural integrity is compromised just to gain those few extra feet.

Although Topple is an extremely solid game, it’s not without its few small flaws that detract from the experience. One flaw that rears its head can be found as you progress in building your tower higher, as blocks that are below or close to being cut out of view are frozen in place. As a result playing pieces that are below your current point of view cannot be affected by anything at all even with deliberate movement of the pieces. This ends up detracting from the possible larger scope of the game and removes the tension of building such a large structure.  The game is once again restricted but on a competitive level this time, as no online scoreboards are present to compare the height of your tower built in free mode against everyone else’s.

Don’t let these two flaws scare you away from downloading this game with its now non-existent price tag. Topple is an excellent distraction that will draw you away from real life and into the wonderful world of unstable architecture.

App Summary
Title: Topple Developer: ngmoco
Price: Free (for limited time) App Size: 9.5 mb
  • Unique art style
  • Solid and Strategic gameplay
  • Excellent presentation
  • Scope is limited due to freezing blocks
  • No online scoreboard

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