What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Pushmo World is a downloadable block-pushing puzzle game. Players control a kitty decked out in sumo wrestler attire who pulls and pushes stacked blocks to create paths to the tops of play structures, with the goal of rescuing the children stranded there. Nothing about the experience is distasteful or offensive. The puzzles make kids put on their thinking caps, and players get to be creative in the pushmo studio, where they can create mural-like puzzles to share with others.
What's it about?
Once available only for Nintendo 3DS as Pushmo, Intelligent Systems' popular puzzle game series is now on Wii U with PUSHMO WORLD. This bigger-screen version sticks very close to the formula established by its handheld predecessors: A red cat named Mallo -- dressed, as usual, in sumo-wrestler attire -- sets out to save kids trapped atop towering playground structures called pushmo. He pushes and pulls colorful blocks in and out of these towers to create paths to their summits. The mechanics remain the same: Mallo can tug blocks only so far before teetering off the edge of the block he's standing on, forcing him to stop. But he also can grab blocks by the side to shake them out over ledges -- providing he has space to sidestep. "Gadgets" that appear in later puzzles allow him to teleport around towers and slide in or out all blocks of a particular color. The pushmo studio mode returns as well, providing kids with an outlet to express their creativity as they design and share their own pushmo puzzles.
Is it any good?
Pushmo World's bizarre narrative setup concerning a sumo-wrestling kitty saving kids trapped in a playground doesn't make a lick of sense, but that matters little once you get into the pushmo groove. The puzzles do a terrific job of making players feel clever. You'll frequently get stuck for long minutes before a lightbulb suddenly goes off and illuminates your next move, opening a whole new batch of possibilities. This confers a strong feeling of satisfaction; you'll feel as though you just accomplished something that required serious thought and mental effort -- which, of course, you did.
This particular entry in the series suffers a little from a sense of sameness, keeping very close to the path forged by its predecessors without introducing much in the way of new features or mechanics. But there are a couple of areas in which it delivers quantifiable improvements on the Pushmo formula, most notably when it comes to creating and sharing your own puzzles. Designing puzzles using the GamePad screen -- which is a fair bit larger than a cramped 3DS display -- is much more enticing. Plus, players now can share their creations online and get feedback from other players. This is a huge step up over previous games, which forced players to create, capture, and distribute QR codes for each of their custom puzzles. And, even if you don't want to create your own puzzles, you can still access those made by other players, which means an almost limitless supply of pushmo puzzles to keep you playing once you've finished those crafted by the game's designers.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the process of creating puzzles such as those in Pushmo World. In what ways do you think differently when creating conundrums as opposed to solving them? Do you think spending time creating puzzles might make you a better puzzle solver?
Discuss online safety. What would you do if you encountered someone online who was taunting you or your friends? What steps, if any, might you take beyond simply blocking them or quitting the game you were playing?
|Platforms:||Nintendo Wii U|
|Subjects:||Math: shapes |
|Skills:||Thinking & Reasoning: logic, solving puzzles |
Creativity: imagination, making new creations, producing new content
Tech Skills: digital creation
|Available online?||Available online|
|Release date:||June 20, 2014|
|Topics:||Cats, dogs, and mice|
|ESRB rating:||E for No descriptors |