Developer: Intelligent Systems
Pushmo World marks the third title in the Intelligent Systems developed series, and the first to make its way to Wii U. It’s a charming puzzle title available via the eShop, featuring a hefty number of puzzles to complete, along with user-created content to be uploaded and downloaded online. If you have any affinity for the series on the 3DS, you’ll be pretty happy with the transition here. And if you’ve missed out on the original Pushmo or it’s companion Crashmo, Pushmo World is a perfect jumping on point for the series.
In Pushmo World you’ll take control of Mallo, tasked with freeing children that have become stuck inside of puzzles contained in Pushmo Park. The set-up here is identical to the first Pushmo release, as Mallo needs to solve puzzles by manipulating the blocks that make up those puzzles. Some are based on murals, featuring various animals or objects, while others are a bit more abstract in design. Mallo can push or pull blocks up to three spaces forward, and can do so from the front or side of a single row.. Eventually more mechanics are introduced, like ladders that allow Mallo to warp from one like-colored ladder to another, and switches that can push in or out all like-colored blocks in a puzzle at once.
You’ll find a number of the puzzles present in Pushmo World are fiendishly clever. There are callbacks to puzzles in the original game, but the majority of the content here is new. As you advance past the tutorial stages, you’ll begin to encounter the aforementioned additional mechanics, slowly doled out so as not to overwhelm the player. Puzzles begin to get larger and more complex the deeper you go, with gigantic murals to complete that tower over the early stage designs. The final set of puzzles can be pretty complex, forcing you to push and pull blocks multiple times over as you attempt to solve. Thankfully, getting stuck on a puzzle doesn’t entirely stall progress, as you can opt to skip the puzzle and return later.
There’s also additional stages available early on that’ll throw in more unusual mechanics. These are positioned in a different zone of the overworld map, and labeled as Mysterious Pushmo. The unique mechanics used here, like moving all blocks of the same color at once, aren’t revisited elsewhere. But they make for more interesting puzzles overall, and the Mysterious Pushmo puzzles ended up being my favorites in Pushmo World.
From a content perspective there’s a lot to tackle in Pushmo World. It’s comparative in size to the 3DS releases, and it’ll take hours upon hours to complete. Assuming that you’re chasing down the unique stickers to collect for MiiVerse, and not resorting to YouTube walkthroughs, you’ll easily go into the double digits on hours spent with Pushmo World. And if you’re at all interested in creating puzzles, or tackling user-created Pushmo, you’ll be able to extend your time spent even more. The creation tools are simple enough to understand, and the touchscreen functionality of the GamePad is quite useful for self-created puzzles. Finding solid player created Pushmo is easy enough, with some sorting options to find quality content.
I really have very little issues with Pushmo World. My only complaints are that the soundtrack is a little too repetitive and limited, and the controls can feel a bit iffy when it comes to manipulating Mallo. My biggest issue was jumping, and lining up my jumps to avoid unnecessary falls. On the 3DS you’ve got better depth perception via the 3D slider, but here you’re stuck manipulating the camera while jumping to in order to make sure you’re landing where you want. It often felt awkward, and it’s really the biggest negative I can level at Pushmo World.
But by and large this is a great eShop release on the Wii U, that will keep you entertained for hours. Pushmo World offers up unique puzzle scenarios and mechanics that are unlike anything else you’ve ever played outside of the series, and this marks a great entry point for new players. User-created content provides even more value to the overall package, as does the ability to create your own puzzles for yourself or others. I particularly enjoyed the unique Mysterious Pushmo puzzles, but the overall package is really top notch work out of Intelligent Systems and Nintendo.