(3DS eShop)

Pullblox (3DS eShop)

Game Review

Pullblox Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Marcel van Duyn

Mega blox

Intelligent Systems is mostly known for its work on the Advance Wars, Fire Emblem and WarioWare series, but occasionally, when it's not too busy, it develops some unique games: it's created titles like Cubivore on the GameCube and Eco Shooter Plant 530 on WiiWare. Now it's back with another original creation for the eShop, and it can quite easily be considered one of the best games available.

In Pullblox — known as Pushmo in North America — you take control of Mallo, a strange dog-like creature wearing what seems to be a red sumo outfit. There are many similar creatures all over his world, and they seem to spend all their free time creating and solving the titular Pullblox (or Pushmo) puzzles and placing them around a park. Recently, however, some of the younger creatures have become stuck inside the puzzles, so it's up to you to climb to the top of every one to rescue them.

The game starts with a rather lengthy tutorial explaining the basics. Every puzzle begins as a flat image in the background, but you can grab any one of its colours and pull it out up to three notches into the foreground, or push it back in after doing this. In every level, a child will be stuck at or near the top, and you'll have to find a way to get up there by pulling out the picture's colours different distances, creating makeshift staircases and platforms that allow you to work your way up. You'll also quickly learn that once a colour has been pulled out, it can also be grabbed from the side and shoved in or out instead of having to be grabbed from the front, adding some more strategy.

The game's first few worlds after this tutorial are rather easy, with Challenge levels basically consisting of random shapes and colours, and Mural levels are basically spritework resembling things like animals and the like, much like Mario's Picross. Near the end of the game there's even a world that's sure to appeal to Nintendo fans. After a few worlds, you'll get another tutorial, which adds two more features that up the ante significantly: manholes, of which there are always two of the same colour, allow you to travel between each other instantly, and buttons will instantly pull out all blocks of the same colour in the current stage up to the maximum distance.

From that point on all puzzles can also be up to double the size, meaning you'll have a lot more things to take into consideration when plotting your path to the top. Thankfully, in case you make a mistake (and quickly realise it), the game has a time rewind feature, allowing you to go back in time up to about 30 seconds to do things over. In case your mistake happened too long ago, there's also a big triangular button at the bottom of every stage that will, when pressed, shove every colour back into the back wall.

As these features (manholes, buttons, double sized puzzles) make their entrance during the course of the main game, you will also unlock them in what is arguably the game's biggest draw: the ability to make your own levels. Using an easy to use grid on the touch screen, you can create a level using all of the features that appear in the game, give it specific colours and then share it with others through the use of a quickly generated QR code. If the main game's 200-ish puzzles aren't enough for you then this mode most certainly will be, as there are already several user-created puzzles on forums everywhere around the Internet.

Graphics-wise the game is incredibly charming, with cute characters and simple, yet colourful levels. As you can imagine, the game's whole concept is also perfect for 3D, and it works splendidly: having 3D on will make it much easier for you to see how far out you've pulled every block.

Conclusion

Up to this point, there haven't really been any breakout 3DS download titles; of course, the 3D Classics games are nice, but they're not completely original. Pullblox, deceptively simple as it may seem, features great gameplay, a lengthy main game, a simple to use level creation and sharing tool and, best of all, comes at quite a low price. It's far and away one of the best downloads available at the moment and a recommended purchase for anybody.

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Game Trailer

Pushmo (known as Pullblox in Europe) is coming to the 3DS eShop in December 2011. Let this trailer explain more about this quirky game from F

User Comments (87)

AVahne

#2

AVahne said:

$7 in America, and it's WELL WORTH IT. I whacked my friend for buying Zenonia instead of this.

Tryken

#6

Tryken said:

Pushmo is awesome. For anyone who owns a 3DS and is on the fence, teeter no more! The game's tight controls and user generated QR codes makes the game infinitely playable. Whenever I'm feeling bored, I just go onto the NLife forums, snap a picture of someone's design, and play that puzzle. It's that easy and wonderful. And the fact it's 6.99 feels like a steal, considering it's better than half the retail releases on the 3DS right now.

sillygostly

#7

sillygostly said:

Based on the trailer, and it's probably just me, but the graphics and in-game physics strongly resemble that of Super Mario 3D Land, and it wouldn't surprise me if the two games utilise the same engine.

This game shows a lot of promise, but I'm still in the middle of 3D Land, MK7 and Super Pokemon Rumble, but I'll come around once I've beaten those. :)

Popyman

#9

Popyman said:

I personally would have given it a 10, this is the best puzzle game I've ever played.

daznsaz

#10

daznsaz said:

ive tried to scan levels from online but it says im not ready to attempt them.should let you take them so you can do later.thats not a complaint though love the game.was panning the camera out today to figure a puzzle out.was one of those were you have to jump out and over to another platform.some of them are tricky wonder if when you finish it gives you like a time trial for the levels.

Wesker

#11

Wesker said:

Deserves a 10. Even if you don't like puzzle games, this one will win you over.

C-Olimar

#12

C-Olimar said:

@Koto as you should.
Out of curiosity, what stopped this game from getting a 10? For its genre and price it doesn't have many flaws.

accc

#13

accc said:

This game absolutely deserves a 10. It's perfect in every way.

C-Olimar

#14

C-Olimar said:

In my opinion, this game fully deserves a ten. There are very few gripes with the game (perhaps the deceptively childish graphics) and it is packed with content - more than many retail releases. Another big point for me is that it never really gets frustrating, even in the 5 star puzzles. Even people who don't like puzzle games can enjoy this game. A steal at £5.40.

Beechbone

#16

Beechbone said:

Already grabbed it and it's quite a bit of fun. I hope it will get some really great fan-made levels.

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#17

Philip_J_Reed said:

Easy classic, but it falls a bit short of a 10 imho. I think a 9 is perfectly fair. :) Thanks for the awesome review!

zeeroid

#18

zeeroid said:

Excellent review. :)

So, we all know that in North America, the game is called Pushmo, while named Pullblox in Europe. But, its Japanese name "Hiku-Osu" essentially means "Push and Pull"!

BenAV

#19

BenAV said:

Great game.
Intelligent Studios has done it again.

Played through the first few worlds but now I'm saving the rest for when I'm out and need something to do. :P

Blaze

#20

Blaze said:

Awesome Review! I've had this since Thursday and it's a brilliant game! In the 3rd world and have played about 3 hours. The level design is really good and really gets you thinking. The difficulty level is just right, and the ability to create your own levels is great! It's obvious how good this is due to the fact that I actually stopped playing Skyward Sword and MK7 to play this instead!

grumblebuzzz

#24

grumblebuzzz said:

It looks good, but I'm not big on puzzlers. They don't keep my interest long, so I'm hesitant.

Geonjaha

#25

Geonjaha said:

Great review - definately a 9/10.
You mentioned how later in the game puzzles double in size - they actually quadruple (16*16 to 32*32).
You know if a game is 10/10. Pushmo is great, but It could still be better. For example - I beleive Multiplayer levels would be incredible. Working on puzzles that require 2 people with a friend. :D
@24 I like Freaky Forms a lot - It's a good 8/10 for me considering what currently on offer - but I think Pullbox is better.

Flowerlark

#26

Flowerlark said:

I'd consider pushmo if I didn't have so many games to get through already. I'm also hesitant to play it because I literally cannot see the 3D effect (good thing that's not why I got a 3DS) thanks to some eye problems I have and that might make this game a lot harder.

alvieao

#27

alvieao said:

I downloaded Pushmo from the eShop on day one, and I'm enjoying the game very much. Intelligent Systems is best known for developing games like Fire Emblem, Nintendo Wars, Puzzle League, Paper Mario and WarioWare, so their first eShop game Pushmo continues their brilliance in quality gaming. The game is easy to get into yet difficult to put down, as you're mostly pushing and pulling your way to the goal. The 3D visuals are great, and the music is very enjoyable. Just when you think you're finished with the 250+ stages, think again! The fun continues with the level editor, which involves creating new stages and scanning QR codes of fan-made ones. I also love how Pushmo is a smorgasbord of Nintendo fanservice; a lot of stages are modeled after 8-bit sprites. Kudos to Intelligent Systems for developing such a charming 3DS puzzle-platformer. Pushmo is an original 3DS eShop title that's worth downloading... Keep it up Nintendo!

grumblegrumble

#28

grumblegrumble said:

I'm glad you guys gave this game a high score. It was an instant download for me just based on the hype surrounding it and it was well deserved. Every aspect of this game is polished, easily accessible and fun. We definitely need more 3DSware games like this one!! :)

Dizzard

#30

Dizzard said:

This looks really neat, I'll have to pick it up sometime soon.

Annoying thing is I actually have €4 on the eShop so I'm just missing €2.

Donjwolf

#31

Donjwolf said:

Didn't know they helped make Cubivores. That game was fun and underrated and rare at the same time.

Supremeist

#32

Supremeist said:

I have both Freaky Forms and Pushmo. FF is nothing compared to this game. It's amazing and addictive and I'm really glad I bought it. I'm planning on a Plants vs Zombies Pea Shooter level for you all soon! I'm trying to get it perfect.

Hokori

#34

Hokori said:

Intelligent Systems is awesome, Im awful at there Fire Emblem/Advance Wars/DQ War games though....

also when is Picrosss E coming out???

k8sMum

#35

k8sMum said:

@donjwolf: omg! i posolutely, absotively loved cubivore! it is the weirdest, most fun game. definitely underrated.

Haxonberik

#38

Haxonberik said:

Excellent game, downloaded it before reading any reviews. Definitely the best on the eShop, though I can´t play it right now because a teacher took my 3DS at school because I was playing this game. It´s so humiliating coming from a 16 year old. :(

Hokori

#39

Hokori said:

@38 at least your willing to play a 3DS in class, most of the people at my school wouldnt be caught dead playing a "kiddy" console in class, theyd rather get there iPhone taken away.... :| not me though id play my 3DS in class if I couldnt get caught by a teacher and im 18 ^.^

HanuKwanzMasBif

#41

HanuKwanzMasBif said:

@Flowerlark The 3D isn't really necessary; I usually play in 2D, though I admit it does help with some jumps. Thankfully, each notch is essentially color-coded so that helps if you're playing in 2D.

Also... SOMEONE PLEASE HELP I'M STUCK ON 3-17 AND HAVE BEEN FOR A DAY. And I know once I skip one level I'm gonna fall down the slippery slope and start skipping a ton, so I wanna get this done.

Ren

#42

Ren said:

This is great news. I wish I'd saved my bucks on that Pyramids game, it really stinks as far as puzzle games go. Can't wait to try this.

James

#43

James said:

@Dizzard Since the update you can add the exact amount required from your credit or debit card — just go to the game page, select "Add Funds" and "Add Required Amount"

XCWarrior

#44

XCWarrior said:

If I ever die in this game of endless marathon in Tetris Axis, I'm going to pick this up.

Odnetnin

#45

Odnetnin said:

Gonna be a happy downloader with this, Flipper 2, and hopefully VVVVVV and such this Christmas.

XyVoX

#46

XyVoX said:

Can someone explain how to get the QR Codes to work as i dont see any option to take a shot in the game?

Ras

#47

Ras said:

Why am I the only one to instantly think Paper Mario when I see the Intelligent Systems name? I've been looking forward to this since I heard of it, but I'm waiting until I get some 3DShop cards for Christmas.

Pushmo. Pullblox. "I am the Pushmo robot. Pullbloxing is the answer. Pullbloxing will save the humans from the terrible secret of space."

FluttershyGuy

#49

FluttershyGuy said:

I've been on the fence, but after this review and seeing some of the awesome puzzles (like original The Legend of Zelda version of Link as a puzzle himself, LOL), I'm SOLD! And so is Pushmo, after I get more funding. :P

DrakeStaff

#50

Drake said:

@XyVoX: Create a level, save it, give it a playtest and complete it to ensure it's actually beatable, and then the option should appear.

XyVoX

#51

XyVoX said:

No i mean i cant find the option to scan the QR codes so i can get extra levels people have already created.

sillygostly

#53

sillygostly said:

@clubmini: Considering that it's only a $2 mark-up compared to that of the U.S., it's not so bad. Most games tend to get marked up by 50% here (e.g. a US$5 or US$8 DSiWare game gets marked up to AU$7.50 and AU$12). We're just lucky that Nintendo have opted not to charge us $10.50 for this.

rayword45

#55

rayword45 said:

NOTE: The Metacritic link is incorrect. It should go to the NA title, Pushmo (where it's been getting glowing reviews, thankfully)

This isn't what I'd call a 10, but a VERY high 9 (and definitely worth the cheap $7)

Still prefer Mighty Flip Champs as a puzzler by gameplay, though this has much more content whereas MFC lacked a few possible options..

Supremeist

#56

Supremeist said:

Kids go to school to learn, not to play games. The user in question understands where they went wrong and accepts it; your attempt to ridicule them over it is out of line. Don't do it again — TBD

@xyvox: You have to progress through the game to unlock the features.

Donjwolf

#58

Donjwolf said:

@XyVoX, you need to finish the 'tutorial' levels first (all of it) to unlock the ability to scan in QR codes.

XyVoX

#59

XyVoX said:

Cheers for that mate i would of done that but the Battery ran out so i put it on a full charge.

StarDust4Ever

#60

StarDust4Ever said:

My only complaint about this title is that they spoon-feed you how to perform operations during the tutorial section. Everytime I try to move, the old man pops up and I have to read through a bunch of dialog before I can just go in and do it. I would have preferred the tutorial just let me jump in and start pushing blocks, only click on the old man if I really needed help. Expect 10-15 minutes of tutorials before the fun begins. After that, it is awesome!!! :D

Some of the puzzles are really witty, and you can occasionally block yourself out and have to restart - for example, one particular puzzle may require a block to use as a second step up from the base. Then, once you are on top of it, the stepping block must be pulled out all the way to serve as a base for the higher blocks. But if you don't watch your step and fall off the puzzle, you can't climb up with it all the way extended, and you have to hit the reset switch to start over. Despite this, if never feels unfair - if I mess up, it's usually my own fault, like jumping off or puling a block too far.

I also kinda wish the software tracked your best times / fewest moves for solving certain puzzles. Then if you got a really good score, you could get trophies and stuff, or even just have a bragging rights. That would add an extra layer of replay value to those already finishing the game, but as it stands, there is plenty of value packed into the game already. Also, the blue/pink/green gets tiring after a while. I kinda wish they'd have used a wider gamut of colors for the puzzle stages, just like they used on the pictogram stages. They also overdid the "cute" factor by just a bit, with the bulbous shaped characters, rescuing babies, and having a playground theme. Why can't I rescue kittens or puppies instead?

Either way, the game is excellent, and I kinda wished I'd saved my points and not been so quick to download the Pyramids game, as this gem is better in every way. I'm still waiting on Zen Pinball, though...

sillygostly

#61

sillygostly said:

Just bought it and was glued for over an hour (though the tutorial was grating with 18 introductory stages).

Even if you're not a great fan of puzzlers (like me), you're sure to love this. :)

StarDust4Ever

#62

StarDust4Ever said:

22. 19Robb92 Sweden 12 Dec 2011, 10:40 CST

Good review. I'm getting quite interested in it.

Hare's some awesome QR-codes for the people who got it:
QR codes

Wow, those are awesome! I saved the image for alter use. Only problem, my copy of the game won't let me upload those. I scan the code, it says, "Those levels are too advanced for you. You need to upgrade your studio." Currently, my editor only lets me build levels up to 16x16 pixels. At least that's enough to let me make 8-bit Mario sprites. ;)

Kirk

#64

Kirk said:

After watching the video review for this on thebitblock.com I actually think it looks really cool. Initial screenshots didn't interest me at all, something just looks a little bit off about the game until you see it moving, but now I think it's a game I'd like to try.

chewytapeworm

#65

chewytapeworm said:

Even though I love puzzle games, I shied away from this one because it looks so sugary sweet. After reading this review and not one bad comment about it, I've finally been swayed!

eviLaTtenDant

#66

eviLaTtenDant said:

Played the first 18 levels yesterday and like StarDust (60.) i felt too spoon-fed during it. But i was easily compensated by the great level introductions that go: kid tries stuff, can't figure it out, does what old man says, succeeds but gets imprisoned because "Resetto" runs amuck again. These scenes are so cute and charming they put a big smile on my face and may very well be the best thing that ever happened to tutorials. :D
There were even some times I already had to think a bit so I can clearly see that this one will get as challenging as a good puzzler should be. The 3D effect is very subtle here which isn’t too bad (@Flowerlark (26.)).
The only thing I really miss so far is StreetPass. It would have been awesome to share some creations this way. :(
And for the sake of nitpicking I gotta find out if you can save your progress during a level.
Like others have mentioned it would be even more amazing if there were time trials or fewest move challenges for the levels. Multiplayer would be a great idea for a sequel, good thinking here @Geonjaha (25.).

@C-Olimar (14.): Your name stands for Captain Olimar, right ?

Flowerlark

#68

Flowerlark said:

Hey guys, great to know that the 3D effect is not absolutely necessary for this game. I think I'll pick it up after I deplete the pile of games I have waiting to be played. :D

Henmii

#69

Henmii said:

Nice review! I download it when the e-shop cards finally arrive in Europe!

eviLaTtenDant

#71

eviLaTtenDant said:

Levels 19 - 36: Getting the hang of how the puzzles work. A good feeling indeed. Tiny, tiny, tiny little complaint with the colors so far. Like Stardust (60.) said "the blue/pink/green gets tiring after a while". But the preview i saw for stage 37 seems to get rid of that "problem". :)

DrakeStaff

#72

Drake said:

@Henmii: If you are in the Netherlands like your flag indicates, I've seen them around already, check Primera stores if there's any where you live.

Henmii

#73

Henmii said:

Primera? You mean the bike shops? If so I have to go there someday!

My local Intertoys or Top 1 toys doesn't have them, and that's where I looked! Crazy if a bike shop has them earlier then a toy-shop, though it may be possible!

MrPanic

#74

MrPanic said:

@Henmii No. Primera is a little store were they sell magazines and sigarettes (een sigarenwinkel dus). They usually have a rack with all kinds of gift cards, there you'll find the e-cards. Don't bother asking for them though, they usually send you away because they have no idea what you're talking about, just look for them were the gift cards are.

They only sell e-cards at Primera here in the Netherlands, the cards need a special scanner because they need to be activated at the store, and normal game shops don't have those. (make sure the seller scans that card twice, you wouldn't be the first that left the shop with a not working card because he forgot to activate it)

Henmii

#76

Henmii said:

@MrPanic,

Thanks for the advice, though sadly there aren't any Primera stores in my area. That story about the scanning sounds cumbersome, though. It would be very strange if toyshops that sell 3DS devices would never sell e-cards because of the scanning business, but we will see!

motang

#78

motang said:

I just bought it, so this will added to the list of games I will playing in my week long vacation which starts tomorrow!

TimboBaggins

#81

TimboBaggins said:

Just bought this a week or two ago and I'm obsessed. I play this every day. I have Mario Kart 7 but I have only played it once because I'm too busy playing pushmo. And Mario vs Donkey Kong. Addictive puzzle games rawk!

hydeks

#82

hydeks said:

I makes me giggle alil' when I come to this site and they call it PullBlox, I like the NA name for it better (Pushmo)

Jono97

#84

Jono97 said:

Srsly why do Aussies have to buy this for $9. The Aussie dollar is very close to the American dollar.

vertex67

#85

vertex67 said:

The tutorials seriously tested my patience. Why are a lot of modern games making tutorial sections? It's a bad design choice, especially for mechanics as elegant as they are in Pushmo.

After playing about 70-ish levels Im still sort of enjoying this. The concept is certainly unique but I'm not having as much fun as the hype would suggest. Certainly was the best downloadable when it was released, but have actually enjoyed mutant mudds, and even zen pinball more than this.

RATJUICE

#86

RATJUICE said:

#26 I have a lazy eye and am unable to see 3d effects either, Honestly I don't think It really makes a difference, I think the game would be fine without, maybe 3d effects would make it easier, but honestly I don't see how it would. I'm still going to get this game tomorrow because it looks super fun and I have heard nothing but good things about it.

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