By Chad Sapieha,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Engaging and affordable puzzler, with great replay.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn about puzzle solving and how to author their own conundrums and share them with others in this innovative puzzle game. Players will practice their logic and spatial reasoning skills as they solve tricky puzzles that require them to create paths up three-dimensional structures. Then they'll put what they've learned to use in a different way by designing their own puzzles and creating QR codes that they can use to share their creations with other players. Pushmo lets players use their heads to solve complex 3D puzzles and then offers a kind of crash course in puzzle game design.
This game makes it fun to use your head (rather than swords or guns) to solve problems.
Positive Role Models
The game’s hero -- a strange creature that seems part sumo wrestler and part cute animal -- climbs towers to save kids stranded atop their peaks. He doesn’t talk much or do anything that players can realistically emulate, but his actions suggest altruism and selflessness.
Ease of Play
Many of the game’s puzzles can be harder to solve than they appear. However, if you can’t reason out the solution, a combination of determination and trial-and-error should be enough to figure it out. Plus, a 30-second rewind feature makes it easy to undo any accidents (like missed jumps that would otherwise force you to start pushing and pulling from scratch).
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Pushmo is an inexpensive downloadable puzzle game available for the Nintendo 3DS through the Nintendo eShop. Players are presented with three-dimensional puzzles that involve pushing and pulling blocks in order to create stairs up to the top of a tower. The content is completely innocuous, and the puzzles force kids to use their heads to noodle out solutions. However, they aren’t easy. Kids without patience could lose interest or become frustrated. Pushmo comes with a simple stage editor that lets you design your own puzzles to be shared with others. Parents should remember that Nintendo suggests children under the age of 7 not play 3DS games with 3D functionality switched on, as stereoscopic effects may damage developing vision. Parents can turn off the 3D functionality by using the device's parental controls.
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What’s It About?
Each stage in PUSHMO, an innovative collection of blocky conundrums, is a tower composed of several sliding parts. Players control a pudgy, blushing sumo wrestler with a cute, cat/rabbit-like face, who pushes and pulls pieces forward and back to create steps up to each tower’s summit and rescue kids stranded there. The catch is that you have limited room to move about -- the field is just three spaces deep -- and you can’t pull pieces onto the blocks on which you stand (though you can sometimes tug blocks forward by gripping their sides). Pushmo comes with about 200 spatial stumpers gathered into themed groups. You can also design your own puzzles in a simple stage editor and then create a QR code that can be shared with other players.
Is It Any Good?
Pushmo is one of the best original downloadable games yet for Nintendo’s fledgling stereoscopic handheld. Its puzzles are satisfyingly easy to understand yet often quite challenging. No small amount of lateral thinking is required in order to solve all of the included conundrums, which only become trickier as new elements such as warp holes and switches come into play. Add in a dash of simple platformer-style jumping action as you move from one block to another and you have a truly and unexpectedly compelling little experience.
Gamers can expect to spend at least a few weeks working through all 200 brainteasers if they move at a casual pace; a great value for a game that costs just seven bucks.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the ways we solve puzzles in the real world, from figuring out the best route to a distant location to stacking dishes in limited space in a cupboard. Do you think puzzle games like this improve your reasoning skills?
Families can also discuss the notion of authoring puzzles. How do you go about figuring out what might be a challenging but fair test of someone else’s abilities? Do you work backwards from a solution, or start from the perspective of the person who will solve it?
- Platform: Nintendo 3DS
- Subjects: Hobbies: building, Math: measurement
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, logic, solving puzzles, Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology, Creativity: imagination, making new creations, producing new content
- Available online?: Not available online
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Release date: December 16, 2011
- Genre: Puzzle
- ESRB rating: E for (No Descriptors)
- Last updated: August 29, 2016
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