The 3DS has had a rough story so far. Just before the end of 2011, it got some great titles, like Mario, Zelda and Star Fox, but what many people didn’t see is its online store. Here is where the 3DS shows its true strength. The eShop is where we saw fun little titles that captured our hearts, like Pushmo and Mighty Switch Force (check out our review). I know what your thinking, “3D is just a gimmick used to sell movie tickets at higher prices.” I totally agree with you, but can 3D enhance the experience sometimes?
Pushmo is from Intelligent Systems, the people that brought us Advance Wars, Fire Emblem, and Paper Mario. Pushmo has very simple gameplay; it’s just pulling and pushing blocks along with jumping to reach the end marker. The story is very basic. You are a Pushmo and there are Pushmo kids lost in Pushmo Park. Pushmo Park is filled with puzzles and you are trying to save the Pushmo kids that are stuck on top of these puzzles. It doesn’t explain how they got stuck but who cares. It’s for gameplay’s sake.
In later levels, there are special tools to make reaching the goal easier. Matching manholes for teleporting, arrow switches to force all blocks of a certain color out, and larger sized levels are unlocked as you continue the story. These tools also allow for more unique level design. There is even a Level Editor that has given birth to many awesome levels. The special tools can be unlocked in the Level Editor after you find them in the story. Sadly, there is no online catalog of these custom levels in game. You can find plenty of threads for custom levels on this fancy thing called the “Internet.” In fact, if you are reading this review then you are already using “Internet.”
There are over two hundred levels to explore without even touching the Level Editor. The beginning is mostly a tutorial mode. An old Pushmo shows you all the basics from jumping to pulling blocks. He is too old to complete the puzzles and that is why you, being younger and sexier, have to save the kids. After you prove yourself worthy, the old man sends you by yourself to the harder levels. Some levels are shaped like characters or animals. It is fun to push and pull on Mario’s face to save a kid Pushmo. Every level has a difficulty rating, one star being the easiest going all the way to five stars. Trust me, the four and five star levels are some of the biggest head scratchers in all of my gaming life.
The art is really unique. The blocks are very colorful but the backgrounds are made up of flat pictures. The character design is very round, which makes them stand out against the blocky levels. The visuals are more impressive in 3D, making colors pop and giving everything depth. The 3D also really helps with gameplay, seeing how far the blocks are pulled out. It truly is the first game that I have seen to benefit from 3D.
The 3DS doesn’t have very many good games but there are some on the horizon. Pushmo came out early December and deserves a chance. It may not seem like much, but it is a fun little experience. All the custom levels to download will have you coming back for more. This game feels like it never ends. Please post your levels in the comment section below. http://pushmo.3dsfans.com/ will help with sharing your levels on the “Internet.”