intelligent systems continues to maintain their high standards with their sequel to the wholly enjoyable 3DSware title pushmo. you can check out the reviews at kotaku or game informer for details, but basically all you need to know is that the game features a new central mechanic, namely, blocks that stack according to gravity, features a host of new gadgets to bend your brain, and is even trickier than its predecessor.
in true nintendo fashion, instead of overstuffing the game with hundreds of interchangeable stages, each puzzle presents a unique twist, which gives the player a real feeling of progress. it’s astounding how much variation the simple mechanics provide, although the drawback to all the variety is that the game lacks the simple elegance pushmo, and because there are many more actions you can take at any point the overall difficulty is higher. although you’re moving blocks around in a 3-D space, the puzzles more often than not require logic to deduce, and it’s rare that you’ll stumble onto the correct solution simply by moving blocks around haphazardly.
stephen totilo at kotaku complained that the game consists of mostly abstract shapes as opposed to the pixel art of pushmo, but it’s a small trade-off since the abstract levels are so concentrated and compact. the large pixel art levels that appear near the end of the game are so large and unwieldy that it will take a lot of motivation to complete them, and the “prototype” levels that are unlocked after playing through to the end, which feature larger pieces instead of the 1-block-wide pieces of the main game, are equally difficult to manage. the only other possible nitpick is that the game recycles the same aesthetics from pushmo so they lose a bit of their charms, but that’s only a minor complaint.
all in all although the game is even lengthier than its predecessor and has a lot more variety, it wasn’t quite as satisfying as pushmo. it’s hard to think why this should be the case and replaying pushmo may lead me to change my preference, but somehow the simplicity and freshness of being a new IP gives pushmo the edge. crashmo falls just shy of making it onto my list of all-time greats, but it does join pushmo as one of the highlights of the 3DS for puzzle fans.
fall for these crashmo links:
– official site. the UK site includes all the QR codes of the official DLC stages in an easier-to-scan format, though, and a gallery of screenshots
– site for fan QR codes, including a page of the top voted ones
– streetpass princeton’s pokerap featuring 150 crashmo puzzles
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