"Pushing, Shoving and Dropping"
As a 3DS owner, I committed a grievous sin… I never played last year's highly acclaimed eShop puzzler, Pushmo. Terrible, I know. I'm a bad guy. Flog me in your thoughts if you want, but it won't free me from the stain of that dreadful deed. Luckily, I did not make the same mistake twice. Not only have I played the game's sequel, Crashmo (known as Fallbox elsewhere), I have the review here for fans and newcomers alike. Not only will those who loved Pushmo love this one, they will have plenty of reasons to love it more!
For those who did not play Pushmo, it placed you in the role of pudgy sumo wrestler Mallo, and tasked you with pushing and pulling sets of colored blocks to get to the top of the pile to rescue the children stuck up there. While missing birds are the ones awaiting rescue this time around, the goal remains the same: move blocks to form a path for Mallo to get to the top.
However, unlike Pushmo, where the blocks could only be pushed and pulled forward and back, the blocks in Crashmo can be moved in any direction (and without the three-space restriction that was in the first game). Not only that, the blocks are also affected by gravity and fall whenever the block beneath them is removed, adding an entirely new dimension to the gameplay.
Indeed, a whole new mindframe is required for those who played the first game. While the puzzles begin easy enough to get you acquainted, it's not long before they start putting you through the mental wringer as you strive to find the right way to move blocks. In any one puzzle you may have to place blocks aside one another, place them in front of each other, use blocks to push others into place, and try to move blocks while keeping the ones above them from falling. In short, you have to consider every possible move carefully in Crashmo. Like chess, but with more colors.
In certain stages, you also have to make use of various gadgets. Starting with the ladder from Pushmo that enabled you to warp between two points on the blocks, there are puzzles with cloud blocks that can float in midair, doors that work like ladders but require a block in front of them, and move switches that can move the entire block in one or more directions. These gadgets serve well in mixing up the gameplay, as well as upping the challenge throughout many of the 140-or-so puzzles that abound. Don't let the cute visuals fool you. Crashmo can be brutal.
However, that brutality is never due to control issues or irritating design choices. That is to say, despite the often challenging puzzles, Crashmo, like Pushmo before it, is very accommodating, offering various ways to undo mistakes if they are made. For small mistakes, a quick-rewind option can be activated with a push of a button, but if there are too many mistakes, a simple press of the reset button located within each stage will let you start from scratch. Considering the nature of the puzzles, these options were incredibly welcome.
Presentation-wise, Crashmo is relatively simple, but that is okay considering the visuals and the audio are not really meant to interfere with the gameplay. Fans of Pushmo will notice that the visuals have gotten a nice, if subtle, boost, with the flat backgrounds of the first game pushed out for added depth (an effect that looks really nice with the 3D on). The audio, meanwhile, is nice, but limited. Much like Pushmo (read the review to see what I mean), the background tracks are few in number, meaning you will be hearing the same music throughout a large number of puzzles. It can get repetitive, but all in all, the music will likely not be much of a bother.
Add to all that bonus puzzles (some of which shuck the 2D dimensions of the regular blocks for fully 3D puzzle pieces) and a puzzle-creator as robust as the original (or, at least, I assume), and you have a sequel that is worthy of the legacy of its predecessor. Regardless of whether you played Pushmo before, this is a game that fans of puzzlers will enjoy for its accessible, challenging (sometimes brutal), and addictive puzzles. If you have a 3DS and missed out on Pushmo, don't make the same mistake twice with Crashmo.
GameDynamo's Score for Crashmo (3DS)
A writer, journalist, and aspiring storyteller, Peter Grimm has been gaming since the days of the Nintendo 64, and reporting on the goings-on in the World of Gaming since late 2011. His base of writing operations is located within the void between Here and There, or so he would have you think.
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