Crashmo Review (eShop)
When Nintendo announced the launch of the 3DS eShop they also announced a handful of games they were developing for the service as well. One of those games, Pushmo, became a favorite of mine in 2011. Nintendo decided to follow that up with another title in the series, Crashmo. This one adds a whole new dimension and completely changes the formula for the already solid puzzle franchise.
What You Need to Know
Crashmo is the follow up to the eShop puzzle game Pushmo. In Crashmo you play as Mallo, a small, fat sumo wrestler who has inadvertently freed all of the birds that were powering the “balloon” of another member of your community. The birds have all managed to find their way to the top of puzzles called crashmos and you must reach the top of each of the game’s 100 puzzles to rescue the birds.
To do so you’ll push, pull and drop various colored blocks to create a set of stairs that will allow you to reach each bird. The levels are broken into ten different types that all utilize a different type of block. Each of the blocks has different properties, like cloud blocks which float in place, shifting blocks (which have switches that allow you to move them while standing on top of them) and returning favorites like ladders. They’ll all eventually be combined to create some truly unique puzzles.
Pushmo was a hard enough game on its own, while only utilizing two dimensions to push and pull blocks on a two dimensional plane. Crashmo ups the ante just a little bit and introduces gravity into the mix. Any block can now be pushed or pulled in any one of four directions meaning you can now move blocks left and right, as well as in and out. If your movements cause any blocks to be unsupported then they will fall until there is a surface underneath them, whether it’s another block or the floor. You’ll have to use this new-found gravity to solve all of the games different puzzles.
The first game was a brain bender in its own right and you don’t realize how much this small change affects the game, but it may be hard for many people to wrap their heads around the three-dimensional aspect of the game. Luckily new blocks and ideas are added slowly and you have plenty of puzzles you can replay at any time if you need a refresher on exactly how to use different blocks in a puzzle. For those people that do get the new dimension, this will be one of the most fun puzzle games to come out on the 3DS. The first few puzzles are pretty easy, but as the difficulty ramps up it can be quite challenging to think multiple moves ahead and know just how every block is going to react.
Thankfully Crashmo introduces a nice feature many puzzle games need. If you ever find yourself stumped by a puzzle you just need to hit the start button and select the “Skip to Next” option. You’re never going to be overly frustrated by a puzzle. You’re not penalized for skipping any puzzles, aside from having the total number of birds you acquire being smaller. Pushmo had a similar feature, but you were required to spend a certain amount of time on a puzzle before being able to skip it.
Like Pushmo before it, Crashmo allows you to create your own levels. As you progress through the game any of the new blocks you encounter will be unlocked after you’ve solved a puzzle with them. You can then use those blocks to create and share your own crashmo.
The editor is very simple to use. It has a grid that allows you to use the stylus to place and color blocks. Any like colored blocks that are touching will all be considered one big block. You can have up to 10 different colors available to you at any one time. Adding different types of blocks is as simple as dragging the icon you want to use, such as the cloud or ladder, to the blocks you want to be affected. As you progress through the main game you’ll also gain access to bigger puzzles.
Sharing puzzles is done through the use of QR codes. After you have successfully completed one of your created puzzles you will be allowed to save it as a QR code that can then be shared either locally or over the internet. You can choose to allow friends to edit and share your puzzles with other people and you can edit any of the puzzles that are available in the main game.
I was a big fan of Pushmo. I thought the puzzles were challenging. I thought the pacing was good. It introduced new concepts slowly and allowed you to really get your head around them. Crashmo adds to an already successful formula and makes the game that much more fun. The new block types are used in interesting ways. The progression really allows you to take the game at your own pace. It rewards you for success, but doesn’t punish you if you have trouble. Where can Intelligent Systems go from here? Who knows, but if they continue to build on the blocks they’ve created, the series can only get better and better.
Review copy of the game provided by Nintendo.
Played through all ten of the main areas. Finished 78 of the game’s puzzles. Created and shared about half a dozen of my own puzzles.
Total play time: 14 hours