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Pushmo Review

Pushmo Review

With the recent release of Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 on Nintendo's newest handheld, one could definitely say that the Nintendo 3DS has finally hit its stride. Add to that the recent firmware update which brought upgrades to the friends list and video recording and everything appears to be coming together for the veteran hardware and software maker. One last piece of the puzzle has still remained however, the downloadable-driven Nintendo eShop service. Those who followed the Nintendo DSi's DSiWare and the Nintendo Wii's Wii Shop Channel know that the publisher hasn't had the most innovative or the most exciting releases on either of those two services. That all changes with the release of Pushmo (Pullbox in Europe), the first must-have title for the Nintendo eShop.

Pushmo's developer is none other than Nintendo's own Intelligent Systems. The studio has worked on various Nintendo properties such as the Advanced Wars, Fire Emblem, Paper Mario and WarioWare series. In a sharp contrast to their prior works like Fire Emblem, Pushmo has the player take the role of Mallo, a cheery rotund youth that wears only a sumo sash. His goal is to rescue the various children playing in Pushmo Park that have been trapped inside its various puzzles after a mischievous youth reset them all whilst the children were playing on them. Each pushmo puzzle is made up of a set of blocks which differ in color and size. These can be pushed and pulled to let Mallo reach the top and save the child trapped inside.

Each level starts with all of the blocks flattened against the background. Mallo can pull them out towards him a maximum of three times. While this sounds pretty easy, the difficulty ramps up considerably as the game throws in new gameplay aspects such as alternate ways of adjusting blocks, switches and pipes. The first aspect allows you to push and pull blocks from the side which becomes important when a fully pushed-out block needs to be brought back in to progress farther in the stage. Switches allow you to push out every block of that color to its farthest level forward. Pipes allow you to transport Mallo from one pipe entrance to another as long as both entrances aren't obscured by another block.

Later levels, especially the three-star ones, combine each of these gameplay mechanics to create some challenging puzzles. A number of helpful reset mechanisms are in place if you get stuck. By pressing the R shoulder button players can view the pushmo from the front instead of the normal isometric perspective. Using the circle pad and the L button players can move and zoom into other areas. It's an exceptionally useful mechanic for the larger puzzles that can tower over a dozen stories. By pressing the L button players can rewind time and reverse their previous actions.

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