Developer: Intelligent Systems
Platforms: Wii U
From the creators of Fire Emblem, Advance Wars and Paper Mario, Intelligent Systems, normally Nintendos in-house guys to go to for RPGs and Strategy games, a puzzle series is the last thing you’d expect to see. However with the success of PullBlox and FallBlox on the 3DS (Pushmo and Crashmo in North America), the jump to the Wii U was always going to happen.
The ideas behind this puzzler is to push and pull platforms in order to create a path to the stranded ‘Pushmo’ situated near the top of the puzzle. The platforms can pushed or pulled back and forwards in a grid of four, this shortens the higher up you go. There are 250 puzzles in this iteration, and they start out extremely simple, and ended ridiculously complicated.
It’s one of the most challenging puzzle games I’ve played in a while, which is a good thing as most today are very hand holdy. The 3D effect has obviously gone from this version and in this visual style of puzzle game, it’s actually missed. It has however been replaced by the ability to move the camera to an angle and clicking in your right analog stick holds the camera in place, a real help in the later levels.
The game has a create your own puzzle mode, ‘Pullblox Studio’. This fits the game pad perfectly, allowing you to make some super complicated brain scratchers, which you can then share with your Nintendo Network ID friends via QR codes or just throw them out there for anybody to try in the ‘World Fair’, which uses the Miiverse functionality to connect with other players around the world, sort of in a LittleBigPlanet style.
Outside of the create mode, it really doesn’t use the game pad to great effect, an opportunity that very few developers seem to utilise at the moment. Also a lack of a multiplayer mode, either competitive or co-operative, is a shame. This should have been the first in the series to include multiplayer. The puzzle could have been expanded to get players to work together in order to reach the goal.
One the minor improvements is the visual style. The HD upgrade looks really nice with the chunky blocks, cutesy characters and vibrant colours. It’s not taxing on the power of the Wii U, and probably could have been made to look tons better, but the aesthetic of game suits the concept well and doesn’t distract from the gameplay.
It’s a fun puzzle game that’s both pleasing on the eyes and tough on the brain. You’ll get your money’s worth in play time. I clocked in around 15 hours to beat every puzzle and mess around with the level editor. At £8.99 you can’t argue with the content that’s presented here and if you need a break from Mario Kart then this could be a fun and inexpensive option.