Pushmo has intrigued me from the moment I watched Japanese footage of the game. When it was announced for a North America release I immediately became excited. I got excited because Pushmo offers a unique spin on the puzzle genre and that it was coming from one of Nintendo’s best first-party developers, Intelligent Systems. This is the same team responsible for Super Metroid, the Paper Mario series, and another puzzle title called Tetris Attack. These games alone showcase an impressive resume and prove to be reason enough to get excited. So did Intelligent Systems hit this game out of the Pushmo Park?
Pushmo Park is a playground created by old man Papa Blox for the kids to climb around and play on, but recently a villain has appeared and trapped the kids. Papa Blox is a little too old to take on the task of saving the children so he sought the help of Mallo, a strong young man always willing to help his people. This sets the scene for the puzzle game, which includes over 250 puzzles ranging from easy to difficult.
Gameplay wise, Pushmo is extremely simple, but simple is usually the key element for making an amazing puzzle game. The objective for each puzzle is to create a path to the board’s trapped kid by pushing and pulling blocks. Each block can be pulled out three squares, as long as Mallo has room to move. Mallo will also have to jump around quite a bit, hit buttons and use ladders to reach the goal which adds an extra layer of strategy when completing puzzles. While this may not sound like much at first glance, it actually creates a very compelling and challenging way to play. Pushmo also has a puzzle editor to create new puzzles that can be shared with other 3DS owners via QR codes. This will extend the replay value of the game for many years, or as long as you’re willing to play the title.
Pushmo uses a cutesy and colorful style which looks great for a downloadable game. There is 3D as well, but it didn’t really do a whole lot for me; other games showcase 3D much better. If you do switch on the 3D, I’d recommend that you play this game with the 3D slider switched to about half. The reason I say this is that the image seems to blur on full; I prefer to just leave the 3D off. Musically speaking, Pushmo carries a very light and catchy tune that matches its cute style and sounds really nice. However, in saying that, there isn’t a wide variety of tracks and you will hear its main themes quite often.
Pushmo is an incredible eShop title and one of the best on the service to date. It has a ton of charm, puzzles galore, and infinite replay value with a fantastic puzzle editor. It’s not an exaggeration to say that you will spend lots of hours solving puzzles and creating them to share with friends; which is made easy using QR codes. For its small price tag of $6.99, I can easily recommend this game to any gamer.