While the 3DS may have been running a little dry on releases earlier this year, Nintendo have more than made up for it heading towards the Christmas rush. First we were served up the excellent Super Mario 3D Land, followed closely by the furiously competitive Mario Kart 7 which gave users a reason to head online. Now Intelligent Systems, the studio behind Paper Mario and WarioWare titles have released a killer eShop title - Pullblox.
Pullblox Got Right
Charming experience - In true Nintendo style, Pullblox is a charming experience whether it be gameplay, presentation, graphics or characters. Gamers fill the shoes of Mallo, a squishy looking fellow who has been tasked with rescuing children who have become trapped in the Pullblox. In order to rescue the children he will have to pull, push, jump and make his way to the top to rescue the children who have become stuck.
The characters are friendly and really stand out amongst the colourful backgrounds. These Pullblox are surrounded by lighthouses, sand, green grass and more. Everything from the menu system, right down to the actual gameplay is warm and inviting, which does a great job to bring everything in together.
Official Trailer (Pushmo in the US)
Challenging - Don't let the friendly presentation fool you; Pullblox is a challenging game through and through. The opening "world" acts as a tutorial as you are quickly introduced to the mechanics of the game, but once that's all said and done you're left on your own to survive. Pushing and pulling blocks may seem like an easy task, but certain puzzles will leave you pulling your hair out in frustration. The developers have included as skip feature, which will let you move onto the next puzzle so you don't get stuck for an eternity. However when you finally solve that puzzle that has kept you up all night, the satisfaction gained is out of this world.
Great use of the 3D effect - The 3D effect has been hit and miss for many full retail releases, however this downloadable title has put it to fantastic use. Depth perception is much easier with the 3D effect turned on, and the colourful characters and environments make it look alive with energy. Sometimes there is beauty within simplicity, and Pullblox is certainly a beautiful game.
User generated content - Pullblox comes with 250 brain teasers for you to complete, but the fun doesn't have to end there. Once you have completed the tutorial set of levels, gamers will unlock the Pullblox studio. Here they have access to a large array of blocks, all in the name of making their own puzzles. Once you're happy with your creation you can send the QR code to your friends via the Internet or StreetPass and they can try to beat your creations. This alone should create an exciting and diverse community around the title, and will keep you coming back for more, long after you have completed the standard set of levels.
What Pullblox Got Wrong
Depth perceptions is wonky - For those who struggle to use the 3DS' 3D effect you could have a little trouble with Pullblox. At times it can become hard to judge just how far you have dragged a block out, or where to make that jump without the 3D effect turned up. It's not a deal breaker by any means, but it is worth mentioning.
The Final Verdict
Pullblox is the 3DS' killer downloadable app. A title that truly shows just how great the 3D effect of the console can be, along with the capacity to create your own challenges and share them with friends, is exactly what the 3DS needed to prove to gamers that Nintendo are listening. One of the best 3DS titles around is available on the eShop for under $10, which says a lot of the quality of this title. If you like a good puzzle game, then Pullblox should be your next purchase.
By Stephen Heller