Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.
Before we talk about Rumble’s Revenge, we’ve got to talk about Gravity Falls, Disney’s newish animated series. It’s a smart, funny show that follows the adventures of pre-teen twins Dipper and Mabel Pines in the bizarre titular town. Think of it as The X-Files with a Simpsons twist and you’ll be in the right neighborhood—a neighborhood filled with amorous gnomes, mechanical lake monsters, and murderous wax figures come to life. The show has been on hiatus since early October, and the wait has sucked. Rumble’s Revenge is Disney’s reminder that it’s nearly time to return to its surreal small town, a video game riff on the series that’s two parts fan service and one part classic beat ‘em up.
True to the beat-’em up paradigm, enemies appear, and you beat them up. You play as either Mabel or Dipper, each of whom has their own true-to-character special attack and strengths. It plays well enough, but in truth there’s very little reason to play it if you aren’t a fan of the show.
If you are, it’s a fun diversion that falls a bit short of its inspiration. Come in with low expectations, and the occasionally clever nods to the show will probably satisfy for at least the half hour it will take to play through. It is fun to face off against a “manotaur” or punch a gnome until it pukes rainbows, at least the first few times. But where the show is unfailingly smart and funny, the game only manages it in erratic bursts, and its lack of ambition is disappointing. It’s not going to fill that Gravity Falls shaped hole in anyone’s heart, but at least it’s a reasonable reminder that the wait is almost over.