Unbelievably fantastic puzzles.
Music is nonexistent, bland graphics.
A year ago, Intelligent Systems released the rather excellent Pushmo for the 3DS eShop. It was a puzzle game that challenged players to climb to the top of colorful structures made out of movable blocks.
Now they’ve made a sequel in the form of Crashmo, where those same colorful blocks are now affected by gravity and will “crash” straight down if they don’t have the proper support. It may seem like a small change, but it makes a huge difference to the overall gameplay. Moreover, Crashmo expands on its outstanding predecessor in almost every way, making it another top-notch title for Nintendo’s 3DS eShop.
In Crashmo, you once again play as Mallo, but instead of saving trapped children, this time you’re rescuing carrier birds scattered atop various puzzle structures called Crashmos. Papa Blox, the designer of Crashmos, will bring you up to speed on the game’s various rules and physics with some tutorial puzzles, but he’ll soon introduce special blocks that change the rules of the game. Pushmo‘s warping manhole covers are back, but this time there’s also a new cloud block that will float regardless of what is or isn’t currently beneath it.
The puzzles themselves are genius, and there are more than one hundred puzzles to sink your teeth into. The early batches of puzzles begin with simple tutorial puzzles that introduce and demonstrate new puzzle elements like floating blocks, but the difficulty level rapids increases once you get to the main event. In this respect, Crashmo surpasses its predecessor, as it has a much less restrictive set of rules.
In Pushmo, for example, you can’t pull a block without a foothold behind you and thus, the puzzle solving process sometimes boils down to a process of elimination where you can simply try every combination of moves possible. There’s no such restriction in Crashmo so you are left with too many combinations of moves for a trial and error approach. Instead, you must understand the limits and functions of the different puzzle elements to solve the more difficult challenges. Each block in a puzzle is there for a purpose and you must use this to reason your way to the solution. Compared to the puzzles in Pushmo, they’re much more demanding, but at the same time they’re even more rewarding.
Crashmo also focuses every bit of its energy on creating the best puzzle-solving experience. The art style, although bland, presents the puzzle as clearly as possible while the 3D effects enhance the depth perception that’s so crucial in solving many of the more demanding puzzles, and the convenient camera controls allow you to zoom in, zoom out, and rotate your perspective with ease. You can even rewind and go backwards in time to fix your mistakes, too, and there’s very little music to distract you. That said, the celebratory jingle features the most anticlimactic progression of notes I’ve ever heard, and it makes completing really hard puzzles much less of a celebration than before.
At the end of the day, though, Crashmo is pure puzzling gold and one of the best titles available for 3DS. If you haven’t already experienced the exquisite Pushmo, now couldn’t be a better time to get on board the Crashmo express.
Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.