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Pushmo Review

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Developer: Intelligent Systems Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: December 8, 2011 Available On: 3DS

Pushmo - banner

The eShop is finally shaping up to be a solid source for downloadable games, from Virtual Console classics to 3D-enchanced games like Renegade Kid’s platformer, Mutant Mudds. Perhaps the first specacular game offered on the eShop was Intelligent Systems’ Pushmo, which launched last December on the shop. For just $6.99, the game boasts more than 200 puzzles and even a level editor – but that isn’t necessarily what makes the game special. No, Pushmo stands out simply because the sum of all its collective parts is so well-polished, so inventive, and so damn clever.

Pushmo is, before anything else, exceedingly charming and obnoxiously adorable. Just looking at the bright, pastel-colored visual style and the fluffy protagonist (“Mallo”) is almost like staring at kittens snuggled tightly in a bed made of clouds and candy. Don’t let the cuteness fool you, however: Pushmo is no slouch. It is actually incredibly clever, highly challenging, and very satisfying once its puzzle-platform tricks and treats start teasing your brain on a regular basis.

Pushmo - gameplay

The goal in each stage (called a “Pushmo”) is pretty simple: navigate Mallo through the blocks and obstacles, pushing and pulling them in and out as you make your way toward the “child” stuck at the top of each level. In addition to moving the blocks in and out of the screen, Mallo can stand to the side and “side-push” or “side-pull” them, making some of the puzzles feel like you are working with sections of a Jenga tower. The mechanics are amazingly simple, yet Pushmo consistently makes you stop and think before making your next move. Despite the cheery art style and the equally-bouncy soundtrack, Pushmo will sometimes frustrate you and force you to use the “rewind” function or press the “reset button” on each stage to go back to square one. Fortunately, there is no time limit, so you can always tackle the puzzles at your own pace.

Pushmo - children

The 200+ stages will keep you guessing for hours on end, but perhaps the cherry on top of this tasty sundae is the depth, customization, and sheer replay value offered by the Pushmo Studio feature. This level editor allows you to place blocks and create your own Pushmo puzzles, which can then be shared via QR codes. Obtaining new stages and thus extending the value of this download is as simple as searching the Internet for Pushmo QR codes.

Overall, Pushmo is – bar none – the finest game currently available on the 3DS eShop. Intelligent Systems’ puzzle-platformer is cute, but equally tricky, and forces you to use your brain each step of the way. With the Pushmo Studio, there is so much content to work with and so much replay value that $6.99 for this download seems like a steal. Give it a shot if you enjoy puzzle games – you will not be disappointed.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 9.5
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 9.5
Final: 9.1 out of 10
Written by Cliff Bakehorn Write a User Review