Pushmo, a new downloadable game for your 3DS, starts out simply and easily. Almost too easily, with tutorials that hold your hand through the basics of gameplay until you’re about ready to give up in frustration. However, once you push (heh!) through those, Pushmo becomes as devious and exquisite a puzzler as anyone could ask for.
The mechanics of the game are simple: push and pull parts of large blocks, to create a path to the top. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? And it is, for the first part of the 200+ levels that are included.
Then the difficulty begins to ramp up and you’ll find yourself strategizing and planning your moves. There are small changes to the gameplay, like switches to pull out all the blocks of one color or manholes that allow you to jump into one to come up in another spot, but the core gameplay remains the same. It’s this level of simplicity that belies just how addictive Pushmo truly is.
As you move through the levels, you’ll find yourself thankful that there’s no time limit for the stages, because you’ll want to take time to ponder some of the more intricate puzzles and ensure you have your steps right. If you need to start over, though, there’s a handy button to press on each stage that’ll reset the puzzle back to its default appearance so you can try again. There are other conveniences, too, like the ability to rewind time for a few seconds (if you didn’t quite make the jump over that chasm), as well as the ability to zoom the camera in and move around the puzzles to get a different perspective.
The stereoscopic 3D in Pushmo is phenomenal, and it’s one of the first 3DS games where I didn’t turn the 3D effect off after a few minutes. The added depth works well and adds to the gameplay as you attempt to maneuver your way to the top of the puzzles. The colors are bright and cheerful and the graphics suit the design very well.
One of the best things about Pushmo isn’t the 200+ levels. It is the fact that you are given the ability to create your own puzzles! You will, as you progress, unlock the “Pushmo Studio” portion of the game which will allow you to create your own puzzles. You’ll also unlock the ability to create larger and larger puzzles, as well as all the gadgets and gizmos that are in the full game. You can then create a QR code to post on the internet which will allow anyone to import your puzzle and play it. And you can do the same thing: Use Pushmo to scan the QR code for their level, and you’ll automatically import it to play.
For $6.99 on the 3DS eShop, this game is an absolute must-buy for puzzler fans. The gameplay is addictive and is at times deviously hard. The 3D effect actually enhances gameplay instead of being a distraction. The ability to create your own puzzles, share them with others and import the puzzles they have created is flat-out brilliant. In fact, here’s one for you:
I can’t believe that Nintendo isn’t pushing (again, heh!) Pushmo harder, and with more promotion. This little gem of a game deserves the exposure, it deserves more people playing and sharing their QR codes. Partly because I want more levels to play; show me what you’ve got, people!