Review – Tumblebugs (PC)

This might actually be one of the weirdest instances of a release of a remaster of an old game I have ever seen. Tumblebugs was originally released back in 2005 for personal computers, but it was its WiiWare re-release a few years later that made the biggest splash. It was the competitor (read it: clone) to Zuma the console needed, at a really affordable price. Nearly a decade and a half later, in 2018, the game actually got an official HD treatment, named Tumblebugs HD, with every remastered trinket you’d expect: performance and visual enhancements, the whole nine yards. Yet, we are now getting another remaster (I think?) of the same game, now solely named Tumblebugs. To make matters weirder, Atari is the one behind its publishing. The heck?

Yes, that Atari. A mere week after the release of the surprisingly decent indie puzzler Kombinera, the publisher is at it again with the re-release of a game they have never had any relation towards. They weren’t responsible for the original version’s financing or publishing. They haven’t had any participation related to the first HD re-release, either. Why did Atari decide to (re)publish Tumblebugs is beyond me, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a lot of fun with this simple but charming Zuma clone.


It’s a technically dated game, but also one whose art style has managed to stand the test of time.

I’d say that the main reason behind me enjoying Tumblebugs as much as I did is the fact it’s straight to the point. There’s a small plot, but it’s not important. You boot it up, load a match, and start matching orbs of the same color. No loading times, no pzazz, no meandering. You want a little pastime that runs well, has a few extra elements in the shape of easy-to-comprehend powerups, and little else than that. It’s exactly like Zuma, just with an even more cartoonish art style comprised of little insects.

It might look a bit dated, but its charming art style does hold up, all while maintaining a juicy 60fps. It can be fully controlled with a mouse, and it’s really responsive. No input lag, no glitches, nothing to bother you. In fact, the only “main issue” I had with Tumblebugs was the fact I thought its sound design was generic. I couldn’t, for the life of me, remember a single note featured in its soundtrack. As if that was even remotely relevant in a game like this.

Tumblebugs Zuma

Well, it’s just like Zuma, just with a lot more bugs. The squishy, six-legged ones, not the binary code ones.

I still don’t understand the reasoning behind remastering and re-releasing a game that had already been remastered and re-released in the past, but thankfully, Tumblebugs is so much fun that I quickly forgot about this behind-the-scenes nonsense. I usually prefer to play these “pick up and play” games on a portable, but Tumblebugs runs, looks, plays and loads so well on a PC, that it ended up becoming one of my favorite casual computer games to play for a few minutes at a time.


Graphics: 7.0

Even though this game still looks like an above-average WiiWare title from more than fifteen years ago, its charming art style does hold up. An improved framerate and resolution are the icing on the cake.

Gameplay: 9.0

Adapting a Wiimote-based, Zuma-esque control scheme to the simple usage of a mouse was just downright fantastic. It’s ridiculously easy to pick up and play.

Sound: 6.5

Tumblebugs has a soundtrack and sound effects. In no moment did they bother me. On the other hand, I can’t tell you, for the life of me, how they actually sound like.

Fun Factor: 8.0

Yes, it’s just a Zuma clone, and it’s dated. With that being said, it loads up quickly, it’s addictive, and it’s relaxing. It works wonders as a casual PC game to boot up and play for a few minutes at a time.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Tumblebugs is available now on WiiWare and PC.

Reviewed on PC .

A copy of Tumblebugs was provided by the publisher.