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PUSHMO: a review


Pushmo or Bloknoze (as I believe it was known as in Europe) is an original 3DS download-only game from Nintendo. You star as a round little sumo creature who clambers up these structures called Pushmos to collect children for an old man. Aside from the minimal storyline, the game is bright, bold and oozing with Nintendo charm. The simple, clean graphics suit the 3DS perfectly and make excellent use of the 3D effect.

However: Pushmo has one game-shattering design flaw.

You canít leap, jump or do wall kicks. You are severely limited with a very underpowered jump which leaves you barely able to scale the structures without pushing and pulling blocks every few seconds. Instead of being able to elegantly leap, bounce and wall-kick up these structures you end up stuck having to pull blocks out in an almost puzzle-like grind to get to the top. This is ok at first as itís fairly easy to navigate to the top, but as you progress the structures become more complex and it becomes a nightmare crawl to get to the top, pushing and pulling blocks in ever more complicated arrangements.

This nonsense could have easily been averted by having a wall kick or double/ triple jump mechanism. Something like this would cut through much of this tiresome rubik's-style messing with blocks and jumping in ladder pipes. Why your freedom is so severely restrained is beyond me? Why put the player through such convoluted routes to get to something which could be reached much easier with a better jump system? †Even better would have been some kind of power-up system where you could perhaps build a jet boost jump, eventually scaling the structures in just a handful of jumps.

As it is Pushmo is a brain-ache, having to slowly think and work out the structures becomes agonizing, and left me yearning for some kind of spring like in Sonic the hedgehog. A better approach (and I hope youíre listening Nintendo) would be to have optional microtransactions which give your ability to leap straight to the top in one exhilarating jump.

One interesting element however is a rewind mechanic. If you get stuck, or would simply like to take a few steps back you can press the rewind button and itíll whizz you back like a fuzzy VCR. Itís a good idea, but even better would have been to have a fast forward mechanic which actually pushed you towards the end goal. Imagine being stuck and pressing the fast forward to just whizz through the Pushmo and reach the end. Why itís not there is baffling? This would also work well as microtransaction; $1 for 10 seconds fast forward or something similar.

One other thing to note is there are no enemies or any real conflict in this game. It really could have used some mild-demons or perhaps war-creatures to shoot at now and then to break things up. I think itís a missed trick that the sumo cannot launch these blocks or have them rain down as attacks. I find it highly strange that a sumo does no wrestling? Perhaps this can be added as DLC?

Overall Pushmo is a nice little title, though one which becomes almost like a puzzle-game with itís lack of player customization and quick scaling controls. It has quite a good story with the Pushmos, the old man and such but leaves too many questions. It would be good to see Nintendo revisit the Pushmo world again in the future but with a more instant and modern gameplay approach.
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About vinegargamerone of us since 2:55 PM on 01.22.2014