Review: Pushmo World

A fun, if familiar debut for the Pushmo series on Wii U!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 07/18/2014 09:00 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
1-Up Mushroom for...
Excellent puzzles; tight gameplay; puzzle creator; Mysterious Pushmo.
Poison Mushroom for...
A lot of recycled elements that might frustrate returning players; Graphics are serviceable, but could have been pushed further on Wii U; music becomes grating, not enough variety.

When Pushmo came out on 3DS in 2011, it became an instant classic. The game was praised for its clever puzzles, perfect gameplay, and charming cast of characters. Three years later, Nintendo has finally brought the series to Wii U in the form of Pushmo World, a downloadable title available on the eShop. Retaining all the qualities of that made the original so enjoyable, Pushmo World has made the transition from handheld to console with ease. With the exception of some recycled puzzles and small presentation flaws, puzzle and platformer fans alike have yet another new title to add to their collections.

Mallo, the likable lead of the Pushmo and Crashmo series, returns for Pushmo World, along with Papa Blox, his equally lovable mentor. The titular Pushmo are enormous block structures that must be physically manipulated in order to free captured children. The Pushmo can’t be moved from side-to-side, but they can be pushed and pulled into and out of the background. The goal with each puzzle is to reposition the various pieces of the Pushmos in order to create a series of steps to climb and free each child. There are also a number of additional mechanics, like manhole covers that transport Mallo from one point on a Pushmo to another, that add variety to gameplay.

Pushmo World will feel immediately familiar to veterans of 3DS’s Pushmo. The mechanics are identical, so it’s easy for previous players to get in on the action. For newcomers, though, there are a hefty helping of tutorials that explain how to play the game. Admittedly, the tutorials can become tedious when Papa Blox talks overly long, but there are plenty of players who will benefit from the guiding hand. Like the 3DS original, it’s an easy game to learn and play, which leaves fans free to concentrate on solving the game’s numerous puzzles, rather than wrestling with the controls.

Pushmo as a concept is pure Nintendo. Part platformer, part puzzle game, it doesn’t really fit into any specific category, but is enthralling, nonetheless. The puzzles start off gentle enough, but climb in difficulty as the game progresses. The puzzles get tougher at a gradual and reasonable pace; Pushmo World never leaves a player completely confounded. I certainly found myself scratching my head here and there when solving a puzzle, but it’s always easy to pick up on where mistakes have been made and make adjustments accordingly. Between the game’s own puzzles and the ones that players can make (and share amongst) themselves, Pushmo World will keep anyone busy for quite a long time.

While Pushmo World is a fine and fun game, some might be irked that it’s not quite as innovative as its predecessor. There is something new to be found in the game’s Mysterious Pushmo, but segregating these puzzles from the rest felt odd (and their presence alone might not be enough for diehards). Ultimately, I think anyone playing Pushmo World is going to have a good time, but it does carry over enough assets from the original game that I can understand some players being disappointed. Overall, though, Pushmo World still feels very fresh and different from most other puzzle games, and is worth playing, even for someone who blazed through all the original’s levels.

I enjoyed making my way through the game’s wealth of puzzles, but beyond some of the recycled material, the presentation could have been a bit better. Pushmo World (similar to Nintendo’s Wii Sports Club) doesn’t do much to take advantage of Wii U’s considerable horsepower. It’s HD, and it looks cute, but graphically, Pushmo World isn’t very ambitious. The soundtrack could stand to have some more variety, as well; there’s just not enough music to keep the game’s tunes from starting to grate, after playing for a while. These are minor issues, however, that don’t take anything considerable away from the experience.

Pushmo World might not please all players, but for newcomers it’s as arresting as its 3DS debut, and for returning players, there’s just enough that’s new to warrant giving it a look. With great puzzles, a fun cast and story, and excellent puzzle building tools for aspiring designers, Pushmo World deserves a spot in your download cue.

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