Crumbling review

by on January 23, 2024
Release Date

January 18, 2024


VR titles are becoming more and more creative, with developers coming up with new ways to make use of the technology. When it comes to toys, we’ve had D&D-style tabletops like Demeo that make you feel as though you’re sat around a table playing the game for real, and now actual toys and the thrill of collecting, opening, and then playing as if you’re a kid again has been recreated in Crumbling. It’s not the most dense of third-person roguelikes, but it’s fun enough to deliver a decent gameplay loop if you’re willing to stick around.

Starting off in a toy shop, you begin to learn about an evil corporation that steals magic from a lovely couple known as the Crumbles, and as you play more comic book pages designed beautifully reveal more of the tale. It’s story isn’t particularly captivating, but it’s charm outweighs the need for a deep narrative. What Crumbling is all about is recreating that feel of playing with your toys as a kid. Those memories of using my TMNT and Thundercats figures to fight the Empire, The Undertaker, and Andre the Giant will stay with me forever. As a child, that imagination and innocence is something we’ll never get back, so it was nice to step back in time, if only for a short while.

There are different figures you can unlock that follow various archetypal classes, such as the Knight you start with. Once you’ve pulled the toy off the rack in Crumbles Hobby and Craft Store, you’ll remove it from its packaging and take it into one of the various dioramas spread across various environments. In order to fight enemies, you’ll hold the toy and play with it like you would way back when, and each one has different moves and special attacks that are used to fight off the various waves of enemies, like bats that try and fly into you with force, or cows that squirt their milk at you.

I was surprised by the amount of enemies you’ll have to face, with certain encounters being rather frantic. Some of the movements can be awkward when trying to pull off different moves, as the tracking sometimes gets muddled, but it’s important to master each class, be it those who prefer melee, or those that use canons to fire from a distance. The formula to battle and progression comes from fighting through stages of enemies and bosses, as well as a few minigames like using a metal hook to find your way across a path without touching the sides. It’s rinse and repeat until you unlock more of the story, and while not overtly complex, there’s a decent amount of strategy to planning for each run through.

At the end of rounds, you can pick cards that buff your magical and melee attacks, as well as certain weapon add-ons that can be used to do additional damage in the next round. Once you die, these cards disappear, but magic will be kept in order for you to unlock new areas and level up your powers. It is fun to play despite some of the movement being clunky and slow, especially when you’re attacking, but it starts to click when you reach that sweet spot of knowing when to swing and fight. It works well in VR and can be played whether standing or sitting, and while it’s easy to play, having to crawl around the shop/hub area feels weird and counter-intuitive.

Crumbling is a fun roguelite that has some great ideas and more often than not are implemented well. It’s a pretty game with the toy shop and dioramas feeling personal and crafty. While movement can be clumsy and combat takes a bit of time to get used to, there’s a charm to it that is joyful. If you’re as old as me and remember getting toys and playing with them as opposed to collecting them and storing them on a shelf or in a cupboard, you’ll find something to like about Crumbling.


Fun roguelike elements
Colourfully crafted world
Surprising strategic elements


Clumsy controls
Movement is slow

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Crumbling works well as a roguelike VR, evoking childhood memories while hacking and slashing a range of colourful characters.