Pushmo was one of the best Nintendo eShop games to grace the service in 2011, but it was surprising when Nintendo announced a sequel to be released this year. I wondered how Nintendo, or rather, Intelligent Systems, could create a worthwhile sequel so soon. My worries quickly subsided after watching the initial trailer, and especially after spending time with the game.
Crashmo begins with a short cut-scene that sets up the plot for the game. Papa Blox’s grandniece, Poppy, is visiting her grandfather while Mallo happens to bump into the pair. Poppy is introduced to Mallo and he pounds the ground with a sumo stomp to return the greeting. In doing so, Mallo scares off the birds that carried Poppy’s basket on her trip. Papa Blox informs Mallo that the birds have taken to his newly created Crashmos and that he must save the day by retrieving enough birds to allow Poppy’s return.
The story is similar to Pushmo’s, but instead of kids, Mallo must rescue birds. Retrieving them proves to be quite challenging as the gameplay has been completely overhauled since Pushmo. Crashmo puzzles are no longer restricted to back and forth movement. The puzzle area has been expanded considerably and blocks can now be pushed (or pulled) backwards, forwards, and sideways. However, perhaps the biggest change is that unsupported blocks give in to gravity and fall downwards. You can also push two (or more) blocks at the same time. These changes force you to approach solving puzzles in a different manner and make them quite a bit tougher.
Crashmo is controlled much like Pushmo, so you should be able to jump right in and start playing. The Slide Pad controls Mallow, A is used to jump, and B to grab blocks. Rewinding time is still present when you press and hold L, and you can still view the entire board by pressing R. Crashmo also adds the ability to rotate the view. Rotating the view is done by pressing Left or Right on the D-Pad: you can also zoom in and out with Up and Down respectively. Being able to rotate the view is necessary to solve certain Crashmos. This is necessary because you may reveal a path that isn’t visible from the original view.
Gadgets from Pushmo return and still play a big role in Crashmo. Two gadgets that return are manholes and move switches; however, Crashmo also adds two of its own to the mix. First, and perhaps the most interesting is the floating block. Floating blocks will not fall to the ground when unsupported and can be pushed around the board like normal blocks. Doors are another new gadget added to Crashmo and work in pairs like manholes. Doors are different because they exist on the side of blocks and not on the top. Manholes act exactly the same as in Pushmo, but move switches are a little different. In Crashmo, move switches will move in the direction they are pointing with all four directions being a possibility.
Crashmo’s number of puzzles is fewer than Pushmo with only 100 stages making up the story portion of the game. For the sake of comparison, Pushmo has 198 puzzles for its main mode. However, much like Pushmo, Crashmo does offer bonus puzzles after the main mode is complete. Crashmo also shows off a bunch of Prototype puzzles which creates another new way to play. These prototypes are unlocked late in the game and challenge you to solve puzzles that are now two or even three blocks thicker. Other prototypes are full 3D models which change the way you think about Crashmo puzzles once again. It’s an interesting look at where Intelligent Systems may be taking the gameplay with the next entry.
Crashmo features a fantastic puzzle editor (Crashmo Studio) complete with new gadgets and gameplay. You can create puzzles as simple, or as zany as you want with the possibilities being endless. Creating and sharing QR Codes is also possible with Crashmo and will extend your time with the game. You can take a photo of someone’s Crashmo QR Code to add it to your library, but you can also save it to your SD card and load it from within the game as well.
Visually, Crashmo is on par with Pushmo, though I feel that the 3D effect is slightly better this time around, though the effect is still quite subtle. Its soundtrack is also very much like Pushmo with a few relaxing, catchy themes: the perfect music for puzzle solving.
Crashmo is the perfect example of creating a sequel that feels familiar, yet introduces concepts that make it a completely fresh journey. Crashmo is a bit more expensive than Pushmo at $8.99, but the value is definitely there with a countless number of hours waiting for you in the main, bonus, and creation modes. If you enjoyed Pushmo, then you will definitely enjoy Crashmo. However, those curious about the game should at least try Pushmo first.
Obtained by: Review Copy