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CONSOLE: Nintendo 3DS DEVELOPER: Intelligent Systems PUBLISHER: Nintendo
RELEASE DATE (NA): December 8, 2011 GENRE: Action/Puzzle
// review by Beverley

Push mo' blox, get mo' fun.

As you may know, loyal reader, puzzle games typically pique my interest, so when I was derping around on the 3DS eShop and found a puzzle game that was tres kawaii, I was sold on it. But could Pushmo, the adorable puzzler that caught my eye, deliver the kind of quality gaming experience I was looking for, or would it be some knock-off with a gimmicky veneer of shiny eyes and puppy mouths? In my opinion, Pushmo delivered, both in terms of cuteness and creative gameplay.

Pushmo involves the story of an old man named Papa Blox who develops giant puzzles that function as play structures for children called pushmos. Papa Blox has developed a giant playground of pushmos, called Pushmo Park, for children to enjoy, but apparently he didn't consider safety risks, because children have become stuck in the structures! This is where the young and able Mallo (perhaps named after the character from Super Mario RPG) bravely comes to the rescue. Mallo is a communitarian who is eager to prove himself to the wise old Mr. Blox, so he quickly volunteers to check all of the pushmos for lost children.

Super Mario has never looked blockier.

At first, the pushmos are simple and only involve climbing and pulling out differently-shaped blocks to reach the top. The gameplay here reminded me of the climbing segments from Atlus' Catherine, although with a much more light-hearted tone, of course. As you progress, details are added to spice things up, and tunnels which connect to different levels and buttons which pull out similarly coloured platforms are added. The pushmos themselves get more elaborate, and many are "mural" pushmos, designed to look like images of things. The mural pushmos include nods to many very cool things, like the NES controller, dinosaurs and junk food; in my opinion, all of those things are cool enough to deserve pushmo monuments in their honour.

I think the graphics heavily contributed to the light-hearted and relaxed feel of this game by using adorable characters and pastel colours. Upbeat music was also important here. Pushmo also made excellent use of the 3D capabilities of the 3DS. It was as though the gameplay was directly tailored toward exploiting the 3DS's capabilities. Because of my eye problems, I have difficulty noticing the use of 3D of the 3DS, but with this game even I could see that Pushmo was making a clear effort to use 3D.

I have been really enjoying this game. Not only are the graphics, music and characters very cute and pleasant, but the gameplay is challenging and fun! The element of discovery is what keeps me pushing onwards in this game and I enjoy the underlying value of helping others. This game is fun, creative and original, so if you are looking for a cute puzzler, I hope this review gave you a push in the right direction!

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