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Crashmo (also known as Fallblox in EU) is the sequel to the highly acclaimed Pushmo (Pullblox in EU) for the Nintendo 3DS. Crashmo’s predecessor was one of the most compelling and exciting new IP's from any Nintendo system in recent years. Fun, challenging and pretty to look at; this game made the eShop a viable platform for games through its release last year. A sequel was inevitable. So did they try something new on a tested and working formula or just release more of the same? Surprisingly this game is different to its predecessor in many ways, but not all of the changes pay off.
The initial idea 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 to reach a goal. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, 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 challenging and difficult games you may ever play. What starts as a very basic idea quickly evolves into astonishment as the level of complexity and creativity at play ramps way up when trying to solve some of the levels.
Newcomers can rest (slightly) at ease though; tutorials are used very efficiently to help bring new players into the game. The game also explains the changes and new elements to Crashmo very well with a lot of training levels designed to make it easy to understand all there is to know such as the new floating blocks that don't drop down like usual blocks. Myself being a player of the previous game who’s familiar with how to play, the tutorials were slightly intrusive but it didn't bother me that much.
Make no mistake though, even with the simplistic overall puzzle ideals and some tutorials to help along the way; 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 during Crashmo. It could be due to the differences in the games and trying to play it like the last one which simply mustn’t be done or the simple fact that this game is harder. It's probably a cross between the two. Regardless, this won't be an easy ride, but if you’re stumped for longer than you like, then you’re able to skip any level and come back to it later. Nevertheless, I found pride getting in the way and I seemed to find myself spending an hour trying to work it out rather than take the smart option by retrying later.
Truly, the complexity of level and puzzle design could only be brought to reality with the use of the 3DS. So far a majority of the games on the 3DS system have used the three dimensional capabilities as an optional novelty with only a few previous games using it as part of the actual gameplay, but, like its predecessor before it, Crashmo is different and takes full advantage of the 3D spectrum. The visuals in Crashmo are fantastic and are definitely on par with any retail game the system has to offer. The screen is bursting with color and this carries over to the 3D effects brilliantly. When stumped on where to go next, enabling the 3D really does make a difference and can help dramatically in the overall experience of the game.
Also playing their part in the overall aesthetic of the game is the soundtrack and sound effects. Cute tunes that get stuck in your head long after playing that are reminiscent of games the system is famous for. When you’re 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.
Really, that’s Crashmo in a nutshell – it’s a delight.
Crashmo is a fantastic puzzle game and a great successor to the best puzzle title on eShop. By adding upon the series while cranking up the difficulty, Crashmo really cements this franchise as a serious IP that shouldn't be overlooked by any Nintendo fans. With over 100 levels of block-climbing madness and a great level editor, Crashmo is worth your time and money.