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Pushmo World is almost too cute for its own good (review)

Pushmo World's level feature some familiar characters.

Above: Pushmo World's level feature some familiar characters.

Image Credit: Nintendo

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Honestly, they should have called it Pullmo.

That’s what you’re really doing in Pushmo World, a puzzle game coming out for the Wii U on June 19. You pull out blocks and other shapes in order to create platforms that’ll help you reach the goal. Sure, it has plenty of pushing, too, but pulling comes first.

Of course, people have been pushing and pulling blocks to solve platform puzzles for years, usually as a side diversion in a larger adventure. So why play a game that focuses entirely block placement?

Pull out the blocks, then jump on them.

Above: Pull out the blocks, and then jump on them.

Image Credit: Nintendo

What you’ll like

Clever puzzles

Any puzzle game basically makes or breaks itself based on the strength of, well, its puzzles. Thankfully, Pushmo’s are challenging, and they come in nice, bite-sized chunks, so you never have to focus on the same configuration of blocks for too long. You can also skip any level that gives you a particularly hard time, so you really can’t get frustrated by a single puzzle unless you’re just really stubborn.

Whether you like to observe and plan or just experiment and hope for the best, you’ll eventually solve every challenge Pushmo throws at you, and you’ll feel good about yourself for doing so. Plus, the levels’ difficulty escalate nicely.

Creating levels

Pushmo also comes with an editor that you can use to create puzzles. The tools are easy to understand and simple to use, and you’ll be making your own levels in just a few minutes.

Thanks to the colorful and blocky nature of Pushmo’s puzzles, you have a lot of ways to go about designing your level. You could just focus on making as creative a challenge as possible, or you could make a work of art that resembles an animal, flower, or even an 8-bit video game character. You can then easily share your creation’s with the Wii U’s Miiverse.

The creation tools are the best part of Pushmo. As someone who could never create a substantial level in LittleBigPlanet or Disney Infinity, I was easily making puzzles during my first try.

Pushmo World's level editor is super easy to use.

Above: Pushmo World’s level editor is easy to use.

Image Credit: Nintendo

What you won’t like

Almost too kiddy

I’m never the person who complains about a game being kiddy. I love bright colors and childish characters. However, despite featuring some challenging puzzles that I doubt some adolescents could handle, Pushmo World’s presentation is obnoxiously kid-friendly. All of the characters are essentially cute, round balls with eyes, happily smiling and cheering you in the way Big Bird would while telling you words that begin with the letter B.

Still, I could overlook the overly cutesy characters if they didn’t interject so much during the game, specifically in the early levels. Sure, they’re usually explaining rules and controls, but they often go out of their way give away the answer to early puzzles when the solution is already obvious. Pushmo has such a nice, escalating difficulty curve that such hand-holding isn’t necessary.

I guess I can understand why it needs to explain the controls, but a simple splash screen could have solved that problem while taking up less time.

Remember when Bowser looked like the happiest turtle ever?

Above: Remember when Bowser looked like the happiest turtle ever?

Image Credit: Nintendo

Conclusion

Pushmo World is a fun puzzle game, even if its presentation will make you feel like a preschooler. Still, the easy-to-use level editor really helps make it an easier recommendation to anyone looking for an interesting little addition to their Wii U library.

Score: 75/100

Pushmo World is out June 19, 2014 for the Wii U. Nintendo provided GamesBeat with a digital copy for the purposes of this review.

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