A Sequel Better Than eShop's Best Game?
Crashmo (known as Fallblox in EU) is the sequel to the highly rated Pushmo (Pullblox in EU) for the Nintendo 3DS which was one of the most compelling and exciting new IP's from Nintendo in recent years. Fun, challenging and pretty to look at, Nintendo made the eShop a viable platform for games through the release of just one game. A sequel was inevitable. So did they try something new on an already tested and working formula or just release more of the same? Surprisingly this game is different to its predecessor in many ways, and not all of them pay off.
The initial premise of this puzzle game is to climb a bunch of blocks by moving them around, pushing and pulling them to build a way to the top and reaching the goal. What starts as a very basic idea you soon won't believe your eyes at the level of complexity and creativity at play when trying to solve some of the levels. Be warned, don't let this game's cute exterior fool you. What may look like a kid’s game from the start soon develops in one of the most frustrating and hard games you will ever play.
The visuals in this game are fantastic and are definitely on par with any retail game the system has to offer, let alone for a downloadable title. The screen is bursting with the color and this carries over to the 3D effects brilliantly. So far a majority of the games on the system have used 3D as an optional novelty with only two previous games using it as part of the gameplay. Those games were Super Mario 3D land (arguably the best game on 3DS) and this game's predecessor, Pushmo. When stumped on where to go next, turning the 3D on really does make a difference and can help dramatically in the game overall.
The soundtrack and sound effects are nice and work well with the overall aesthetic of the game. It's pretty standard Nintendo really, cute tunes that get stuck in your head long after playing. When you are doing well the songs are great and catchy, but when the game becomes difficult and frustrating they soon become annoying and the volume switch should be turned down to avoid breaking your system in anger. The sound of completing a level is a real delight though.
Tutorials are used very efficiently to help ease new players into the game and get you learning all the game mechanics in no time. As a player of the previous game that knows how to play they were slightly intrusive but it didn't bother me that much. The game also explains the changes and new elements to this game very well with lots of training levels designed to make you understand all there is to know such as the new floating blocks that don't drop down like usual blocks.
I alluded to the difficulty of the game earlier and trust me when I say this, this game is very, very difficult. As a veteran of the last game, playing over 40 hours and completing over 225 levels and only struggling on a few of the puzzles, I found myself getting stumped very frequently in this game. It could be due to the differences in the games and trying to play it like the last one which you cannot do or the simple fact that this game is harder. It's probably a cross between the two so be warned that this game won't be an easy ride. You can skip any level which is nice and come back to it later but I found pride getting in the way and I would rather spend an hour trying to work it out rather than take the smart option and retry later.
There's a small price increase for this game compared to the last one which was $6.99 compared to the price tag this time around of $8.99. It's worth noting seeing as it’s primarily the same sort of game and is probably due to the success of the first game they hope people won't mind a small increase. However this game could easily be a retail release and the amount of content you get for your money is still more than worth its modest price tag.
If you haven't played Pushmo yet I would probably recommend that over this game due to it being such a fantastic game that everyone should play. The new elements in this game somewhat over complicate the experience and I found the simplicity of the original game more charming and fun to play. If you played Pushmo, and want a new challenge then this is the game for you. It's bigger, harder and contains everything that is great about the first game whilst adding to the series. Really you can't go wrong with either game.
Overall, Crashmo is a fantastic puzzle game and a great successor to the best game on the eShop. Adding upon the series and cranking up the difficult this really cements this franchise as a serious one that shouldn't be overlooked by any Nintendo fans. With over 100 levels of block climbing madness and a great level editor, this really is worth your time and money. You could do a lot worse than to pick up this gem for your 3DS now.
Crashmo is out now and available exclusively on the Nintendo 3DS via download on the eShop for $8.99. In Europe, the game is known as Fallblox and is also available via the eShop now.