The eShop gets its first must-have for all 3DS owners.
The 3DS eShop has had its fair share of good downloadable content. Pushmo doesn’t fall into that category—it surpasses it. Its addictive nature, combined with simple platforming, makes this game a must-have for any 3DS owner.
The game begins by introducing you to Mallo, a sumo wrestler-esque character in the land of Pushmo. He is tasked with the job of saving children trapped inside block structures, called Pushmo, by an unknown, fiendish man. The game then takes you through a tutorial (slightly too long for my taste) to teach you the basics. Pushmo does a great job of preparing you for what is ahead, but takes a little too long to get to the content that is really enjoyable.
In each level you are given a flat set of blocks you cannot climb onto. However, you are able to pull these blocks out a maximum distance of three spaces away. Using pulls from both the front and side, you climb up and around the structure to reach the goal. This concept may seem simple, but there is quite a bit thinking involved. Determining how to get to the top takes a great deal of thought and usually the solution will not just be built in front of you. I found the puzzles just challenging enough to keep me stumped for a short time, but always solvable. If a particular puzzle is giving you trouble, there is also the option to skip over it.
Later in the game, you go through another tutorial teaching you about the addition of switches and tubes. Switches bring all of a certain color block to the front layer, while tubes transport you to a different section of the puzzle. Again, the tutorial here is a little lengthy, but the content it teaches you about is extraordinary. These new elements made some of the puzzles even more challenging, since I now had to think about areas not just in front of me, but all around the puzzle itself.
There is a fair amount of platforming involved in solving all of the puzzles, as well. Making tricky jumps to land right where you need to go is essential to success. Thankfully, the game has a built-in rewind button. Whenever I made a jumping error or realized I had pulled some blocks out of place, I was able to rewind time and give it another go. When reaching the later, more complex stages in the game, this feature was essential. Without it, you may have to restart the entire puzzle with the sometimes-useful reset switch in front of the structure.
There are plenty of challenge puzzles, including mural puzzles that represent everything from dinosaurs to your favorite Nintendo icons. Challenge puzzles are usually just a few simple blocks put together that ultimately create some very tricky puzzles. I find the murals more fun to traverse, but there is still plenty of satisfaction in solving both kinds of puzzles.
One of the game’s biggest draws for creative gamers is the Pushmo Studio. Here, players can create their own Pushmo to share. There are plenty of colors, tools and everything else you will need to create your own Pushmo puzzle. The best part about creating your puzzles is the ability to easily share them using QR codes. Using these, you can simply distribute your puzzles wherever you want them. Likewise, you can use QR codes to add puzzles created by others to your own Pushmo puzzle collection. I have already collected a few puzzles created by others, and I plan to continue gathering challenging and impressive puzzles to play.
The game’s visuals are only somewhat impressive. However, being a puzzle game, there is no need for visuals that go above and beyond. What is a great addition is the 3DS’ 3D effect, which makes it truly easier to distinguish between the layers of the blocks. In some 3DS games, the 3D effect is perfunctory. Here, I felt it added so much more to the experience, and I prefer to play with it on instead of off.
Pushmo is an ingenious puzzler that will consume the free time of anyone who gives it a whirl. I found myself putting in hours at a time because of its addictive nature. If you own a 3DS, do yourself a favor and go download Pushmo.