Crumbling is a new VR game from Germany that had me hooked right away.
Crumbling was released on January 18, 2024 in the Meta Quest Store and on Steam for $20. I played it on Quest 3.
The VR game was created by Hamburg-based solo developer Ole Jürgensen, who also holds a PhD in quantum physics. Before that, Jürgensen was the lead developer of the VR game Tower Tag.
Crumbling: VR review in a nutshell
Crumbling offers fast-paced, beautifully fluid 3D action figure combat and a roguelike gameplay framework that will keep you hooked. For part 2, I would like to see more game worlds and action figures, as well as a more complex character and progression system.
Tested on: Quest 3
Crumbling is suitable for you if …
- you are looking for an entertaining and easy to learn action game for in-between play sessions
- you still feel like a child inside and
- enjoy playing sitting down or on the couch.
Crumbling is less suitable for you if …
- you are overwhelmed by too much action,
- don’t like waving your hands around while playing VR, and
- don’t want to play roguelikes.
Who doesn’t remember the days of childhood when we fought imaginary battles with action figures? When we beat the heroes and monsters with our hands?
Crumbling takes this idea and turns it into reality: You hold the toy figures of the same name in your hand and steer them through fairy-tale dioramas teeming with bizarre monsters.
And it’s anything but harmless: the VR game is a three-dimensional hack & slash where you move your hand at high speed around the room, destroying everything in your path. New monsters pop up all the time, shooting poisonous projectiles, throwing grenades, and launching aggressive attacks. Check out the trailer below to get an idea of how the title plays.
An action roguelike for nimble hands
Crumbling has a roguelike gameplay framework: You enter various arena-like dioramas and collect magic points from fallen enemies and bosses, which you invest in new action figures and upgrades. After each battle, you can choose from one of three random bonuses that make your Crumbling stronger during the current run.
You start with the Knight, a melee fighter who can deal area damage with his sword. Later, the Shaman will be unlocked, a ranged fighter with a staff that can, among other things, launch flying turrets into space. The final Crumbling is a pistolero who shoots wildly and fires grenades.
The Crumblings play very differently, giving you some variety. You can also use upgrades to customize your Crumblings and make them more defensive or offensive.
Crumbling plays like an arcade title: it’s catchy, action-packed, and has a wonderful flow. I was hooked right away and really enjoyed the fast-paced skirmishes. If there were more upgradeable action figures and a more sophisticated character and progression system, I could see myself getting addicted to this type of game. Crumbling is also great to play on the couch and in between, as long as you don’t get stuck and play until your arm falls off.
The game is embedded in a story told through pages of comic books. These provide a narrative context for the Crumblings and their creators, but not an exciting plot that affects the gameplay.
My conclusion: Captivating VR action for short bursts of fun
Crumbling seems simple, but it’s polished and outrageously fun, and that’s what counts in the end. Plus, it’s always fun to rip the action figures out of their plastic packaging and be reminded of your childhood.
I have a few criticisms towards the end. There are mini-games in each diorama world (a hot wire game, a shooting gallery, etc.) that you can’t skip. They are supposed to break up the combat-heavy gameplay, but they interrupt and disrupt the flow. Perhaps it would have been better to include these or other quieter elements away from the actual runs, so that you can rest a little bit and get back into the fight later.
Also, as mentioned before, I would have liked more content (action figures, dioramas) and a more complex progression system to keep me interested longer.
Buy Quest 3, Accessories & Prescription Lenses