Don't stop 'til you reach the top.
Some games have complicated, very complicated, concepts. Imagine a game where the entire game is a retelling of the first three games of the series, set in motion when a character telepathically contacts himself in the past telling him he must win a fighting tournament in order to prevent the Armageddon he himself is a part of in the present, but then rewinds to the past to see the progression of the past version of that character trying to change the events that either have happened or is happening? It's a timey-wimey wibbly-wobbly thing that happens in the 2011 reboot of Mortal Kombat.
By contrast, some games have a very simple premise, a quality that people can enjoy as much as complexity. Such is the case with Pushmo World. Children playing in Pushmo Park have been trapped inside the Pushmo, giant block structures with sliding blocks, and it's up to Mallo, a weird, squishy, sumo-wrestling cat, to save the children!
That's the basic premise. No muss, no fuss. Just push blocks, pull blocks, climb the Pushmo, save the kid. Lather, rinse, repeat. Not that it's a bad thing. In fact, Pushmo World is as addictive as it is fun.
The initial premise seems simple enough, but when reality sets in, the challenge creeps out of nowhere, because Pushmos have a catch: The farthest you can pull one out is three spots, and only if Mallo has room for his tubby little toes. Without room to move, the Pushmo goes no-mo.
Therein lies the rub: How do you climb up to the top with limited space to move? You have some mercy at your disposal here. Mallo can rewind time if players biff a move, resetting the previous moves to a certain point; the reset switch at the base of the Pushmo can set the structure back to its original flat presentation if the puzzle is just completely FUBAR at that point.
The introductory levels also feature Papa Blox, a nice old… thing who gives tips and advice to new Pushmo players (Pushmoers?). He even reminds players to take a break if they have been gaming too long, confirming the fact that Papa Blox is really Ness's dad from Earthbound. (Okay, I made that up, but it could work, kinda.)
Pushmo World just reeks of cute: Happy characters, bright colors, pleasant music, all the makings of a game that the too-cool crowd certainly will avoid—and that's a shame for them. They'll be missing out on a fun puzzler that's fairly challenging. The game, from the very first level, relishes in its need for intelligent players, despite the cutesy atmosphere. It demands you have brains and that you use them. If spatial puzzles is not your forte, you may want to have a friend handy.
But Papa Blox might be onto something here, as after maybe about ten or twenty puzzles in a row, the game gets repetitive. Of course, every group of levels offer a new tactic or challenge to overcome, but even then, a break now and then couldn't hurt. Then the problem stands as the question: If you put down Pushmo World, will you pick it back up? Some will, as I did, even as both Watch Dogs and Mario Kart 8 sat on my desk, hungrily longing for my attention. But frankly, some won't. If players aren't hooked by the first few, it might not be the game from them.
Pushmo World offers other options to break up the monotony. The Pushmo Studio allows players to create their own Pushmo and test it from within the studio to make sure it's solvable. These Pushmo puzzles can be shared via QR codes which can be scanned by the Wii U camera via the World Pushmo Fair, where players can share Pushmo via the Miiverse.
Pushmo World, like Pushmo and its sequel Crashmo before it, skews less towards the six-hour marathon and more towards the half-hour session. Fully supported by off-TV play on the Wii U Gamepad, people can challenge Pushmo Park while others crank out their campaigns in Super Call of Battleduty 38. It's designed to be played in short bursts, and it's quite all rrght with that. Pushmo World is an eShop gem that might wind up with the same fate as other missed jewels like The Cave or Kung-Fu Rabbit, but for those that spend the coin on it, it's a title that revels in its challenge without shame, and will not hesitate to push others away.
Code provided by publisher. Wii U exclusive.