You play as the Faily Tumbler, a caveman tumbling down a volcano after his attempted stealing of a dinosaur egg caused it to erupt. Your goal is to manoeuvre him around, above, or under obstacles in order to get as far away from the oncoming lava as possible. Such hindrances include tornadoes that send you spiralling away, whirlpools in which you can drown, and spiked trees that can impale you when you’re nearby. The more you avoid these the further you’ll make it from the volcano, resulting in a better final score. However, you’ll still be feeling the heat from the lava behind, so there are certain power-ups which help you move faster and further: a shield protects you from being killed by the lava or obstacles; a glider helps you fly as far as possible; a magnet attracts every gold coin you pass, the in-game currency.
The gold coins you collect can be used to upgrade your character’s performance in gliding, tumbling, steering, and speed, all of which make rolling as far as possible down the volcano that much easier. Other, less common, collectibles are eggs, some of which come with different colours and patterns. Every egg you collect can be hatched, though this takes anywhere between one hour and six – unless you choose to watch a video and speed the process up by an hour. As soon as the egg does hatch you’re rewarded with either gold coins, a new costume for the Faily Tumbler, or both. Most of the surprise is in the clothing you unlock, which allows you to dress up as a quarterback, T-Rex, and other random-themed costumes. New outfits and coins can also be bought with actual money.
There are three ways to control your character as he tumbles down: hold on the left side of the screen to steer left, right to steer right, and both fingers down to roll down faster – with the latter you also have the option to bounce if timed correctly. Like most endless runner games, then, Faily Tumbler’s controls are easily learned and simple to pick up and play at any time. What makes it more interesting than other games like it, though, is its character as a whole: It’s visually well designed with bright and bold colours, and several different environment-types to pass through; it’s funny in a wacky way – the idea of playing as a dinosaur egg thief who’s inadvertently blown and volcano is stupid but works; the character himself is a caveman who can be dressed-up in a tux. While it may not have the simple and fine-tuned controls of Temple Run, its charisma as a game means it’s just as fun to play.
Faily Tumbler is addictive and enjoyable in short spells but, like most games that send players to the same locations and ask them to do the same thing, it has an expiry date. When you lose interest depends entirely on how committed you are to unlocking the game’s rarest of items, and whether or not the developer expands on the content. However, that’s exactly what you expect of a game of this type; it’s more an issue with the genre as a whole rather than Failing Tumbler itself. Besides, does a game’s longevity matter when it’s both fun and free?