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Rumble Box

(11 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
Comments (23) | Views (4,678)

DerekWThis downloadable Windows-only game is one you will likely want to keep on your system. Rumble Box is the unique child of a cool Rayman-esque main character and hordes of enemies combined together in a classic beat-em-up style game.

Rumble BoxThe game was a finalist in the 2006 Independent Games Festival, and a winner in the 2006 Slamdance Guerilla Gamemaker Competition for its outstanding physics implementation. It was designed and programmed by Patrick Hackett and Joe Bourrie, both of whom are graduates of the prestigious DigiPen Institute of Technology, particularly known for its classes in game design, animation, and engineering.

From the Rumble Box website:

"Rumble Box is a fast paced 3D action beat-em-up with a unique premise: all of the characters are made of simple objects which stay around in the level even after the character is defeated. The objects pile up, changing the gameplay landscape and altering your combat tactics. The game takes place inside a giant box, and the ultimate goal of the game is to pile up enough defeated enemies to get out of the box."

An original idea indeed. You and your enemies are all made of blocks. When you kill an enemy, the blocks fall and stay there. Pile up the enemies, escape the box. There's your quick run-down.

The faster you get out of the box, however, the more likely you are to get a bonus stage. Your completion time is added to the number of enemies you've killed, along with the highest number of enemies you've killed in a row; that score at the end determines which bonus stage you're sent to; there are five in all.

Your main character comes equipped with a full set of moves, too. Your basic attack is the [spacebar], while a more advanced attack, the [alt] button, will let you swing enemies around in a small circle by moving accordingly. This may take some time to master. You may also dash by double-tapping a directional button, and by combining this with the spacebar will allow you to perform a drop-kick.

There is a lot to the game and only so much people will read, so I'll keep this review short. There's plenty to experiment with, including a Challenge mode, so I suppose the best way to get a feel for this one is simply to play it.

Analysis: Though the game is addictive and amusing, it's definitely not perfect. One thing I really hoped for in this game was an upgrade system. The dynamic protagonist could easily have had new parts attached to him, as well as new moves, more health, a larger body, etc. If a system was implemented in such a way so that you could collect parts of fallen enemies and use them to improve yourself, I think the game would have been even more addictive.

One other thing I feel I should mention is that when the enemies start piling up, so do the polygons. The game keeps track of every individual piece of every fallen enemy and, as a result, people with slower machines might not be able to handle this one. The site recommends at least a GeForce3, but I was able to run it successfully on a GeForce2.

Other than that, the game is amazing. It is built around a truly unique idea, and short of providing an upgrade system, the developers still did a superb job. Granted, my suggestion would probably have taken a huge amount of time to implement, and so I'm not complaining that it wasn't in there. Trust me, this is one you won't want to miss.

Thanks to my dad for showing me this one. Download it!.


great game. love it. have played it before, but accidentally deleted it, and couldn't find it again. thanks for the link jay.


Its a fun game. Often I found the movement to be dodgy, like itd get stuff in going in one direction (not my key) or just wouldnt go where I wanted it to. I dont really feel that had anything to do with the changing landscape, or at least it shouldnt have. That made the rounds feel long and frustrating.
I agree with the analysis, more could be done with this but other than the movement it looks and sounds great.


dang. its not for the mac :(


Yeah, I've played this too. I think I got it from jay's del.icio.us site.


This is really a good game i added it to my favorites!

TapeteViejo March 28, 2006 9:29 AM

Amazing game. Got intense hours of violence hitting colored blocks.

I agree on the upgrade idea that you suggest. It would be great to interact more with the environment, making everything in the room grabbable. There should be more features...but to some degree I like it that they limited it: too many games rely entirely on features and leave gameplay aside. Perhaps their idea was to show how different this game is from others, leaving crazy power ups or uber features aside.

This is a clear example of gameplay over dull-3dengine-withtoomanyfeatures.

Great game.

Lyfjaberg March 28, 2006 12:06 PM

I fail to see how moving around, pressing space to 'punch' boxy enemies is fun - it is barely a game. It is nice to have all the litter left around but, really, does not change the nature of the game - to move or double-tap in the direction of your enemy and press space.

Yes, in this respect it is much like all those side-scrolling beat-em-ups we loved in arcades as children. But, if you think about it, they are not actually so fun, they are usually frustrating. And so it is with this.


Wow that's a lot of work to get to play this game! Few clicks then accept of terms, then a form to fill out. Then have to install it!


Yeah, I reviewed this game for another site some time back. It's quite fun but even on my computer which was really quite new at the time, it became pretty much unplayable after a few levels. Too many polygon's as the review on this site says and the gameplay gets really blocky (excuse the pun) on the taller levels. But atleast the bonus mini-games are fun. Original concept though, I quite like it.

Joe Bourrie March 31, 2006 10:57 AM

I was searching google to see what people have posted recently about Rumble Box (I am one of the developers) and found this new review. First of all, thanks for the kind words (and the criticism as well) of the game. I'm glad to see people are enjoying it. :)

Secondly, if the "Go through all the DigiPen forms" stuff is a pain (see Larkin) you can get it directly from www.phackett.com/rumblebox and cut out the middle-man.

As far as the upgrade system goes, it is an interesting idea and something we did consider, but TapeteViejo hit it right on the head when he said we were purposefully avoiding adding extraneous features. We were a team of only two people (students, with a full class load), and so we only had so much time. We chose to spend that time polishing a small game instead of creating a bigger but clunkier experience.

It's possible we might revisit the Rumble Box idea in the future (been talking to people about either XBox Live Arcade or PSP, though there hasn't been a taker yet), and if that happens part of the goal will be to flesh out the game alot more.

Finally, I'm glad to see that my illusion worked :) I'll just continue to let people assume that "The game keeps track of every individual piece of every fallen enemy". (The reason you can now run it on your GeForce2 is because that is no longer the case, though in certain instances in level 3 the GeForce2 still lags, so we kept the GeForce3 requirement). Anybody who can tell me how the game avoids drawing and physics for every box gets a cookie. Whatever kind you want. In a box with a bow.

Anyway, thanks for the recognition and if I can get my partner in crime to link this site rom the main (non-DigiPen) RB page (slacker. damn slacker.) then we'll have you up in a day or two.

Joe Bourrie
[email protected]


Now linked from the Rumble Box Recognition page.



Cheers, guys, for the mention on your site!

I certainly understand about contraints being a student! An awesome effort just the same, and a nice showing at GDC. Sorry I didn't have the chance to meet either of you there.

(I've updated the links above to point to Pat's Rumblebox site.)


A very, very fun game!

Great credits too... ;)


I didn't like this game at first, but it grew on me. It is only slightly slow on my computer. ENTER BOASTING MODE:
Top score: 4551700 (computer's top score: 4000000)
Max chain: 41
I finished all 3 levels, at which point you start again in challenge mode, i beat all 3 levels in challenge mode and it started again, got to level 2 for the third time when I died. I got the highest bonus round 3 times, including the highest for level 3 (though I didn't get very far in that bonus). One time I did so well that I filled the column used to show whether you have got a bonus level or not. I beat the 15 second and 30 second endurance test, and my top score for 30 second frenzy is 39.
It would be nice if you could play the bonus levels on their own, without having to complete a level. They are fun and quick.

Joe Bourrie April 26, 2006 4:07 PM

"It would be nice if you could play the bonus levels on their own, without having to complete a level. They are fun and quick."

Watch the credits to the end... :)

Dustfinger June 29, 2006 12:44 PM

Very cool game, i almost got the top computers score! and fun.

if you press "c", you can play all the bonus/challenge modes you normally get at the end of a level.


MANAX STATS (after first Game Over)

Score: 2.5 million
Longest combo: 27
Highest perfect bonus round: Bomb Dash

I like it! I also find it fun to stay on the level after it's reached the top to hit people and watch the pieces fly over the edge. -.:Mev...


this game is awesome!!

when you start wait for alot of blocks to land then click start it is a good way of cheating

but I cant seem to beat lvl 3!!LOL ...cartmin45 out..

Anonymous June 12, 2007 8:45 PM

guess what my top score is! 1039500! yeah thats right


this is a very nice game. for such "mindless violence", i can't help but love it. the graphics are very nice (even for simple blocks), the music compliments the game well, and the gameplay itself kept me coming back for more. the one thing i can't get a hang of is how to do any sort of attack using the ALT key... i can grab on to an opponent, but if i try to swing him around, i just end up doing some sort of weird mambo with him, then after a few seconds, he drops dead. is there a chokehold move in this game that i didn't know about? :D does anyone have any tips on how to better use the ALT key for attacks?

Bio Rules January 19, 2008 2:11 AM

Well, my highest combo is only 39, not the highest here, but my high score is 4940950! Beat that, AlexJ! Also, that round I got to level 3 three times, but didn't get the highest bonus more than once, and sometimes not even the second highest. Oh well, I still rule you all!

Bio Rules January 30, 2008 1:45 AM

New Data, my highest combo is 40 (woohoo...) Still haven't topped that high score. Oh well, I still rule.


make a mac version... please??? it looks so fun!


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