Impressions: Pushmo & NightSky

Two puzzle games for your 3DS: Pushmo and NightSky.


Developed by Intelligent Systems, Pushmo represented one of Nintendo’s early pioneering efforts to make the Nintendo 3DS eShop a name for itself. Released at a time when the 3DS was struggling to find itself a place in the market, the game – combined with big retail releases like Super Mario 3D World and Mario Kart 7 – helped kick start system sales that holiday season and give the fledgling console the momentum it needed to push forward and be the success it is today. Since then, the 3DS eShop has transformed itself into a beast of its own, giving new life to indie titles that might have otherwise been forgotten.

The core concept behind Pushmo is simple. Players control a small, sumo-like character named Mallo, whose main goal is to climb up block structures called “Pushmo” by pushing and pulling its various pieces in order to save the children trapped on top. Although it may sound quite straightforward, the difficulty level ramps up relatively quickly and the game regularly introduces new twists and variations to throw you off your game. It is not uncommon to blast through a series of puzzles and then get stuck on a particularly difficult one for over twenty minutes.

In addition to the game’s 198 main puzzles, players can create their own Pushmo and share them with friends online. So far, people from all over the world have made some very impressive puzzles, from video game related objects like Mario mushrooms to famous people like Steve Jobs. It is this level of dedication from the Pushmo community that ensure players will never run out of puzzles to complete.

Admittedly, all of this does begin to feel repetitious after a few hours. Even though the game does provide content for virtually unlimited play, there is only so much Pushmo my brain can take. If you want a simple brain teaser or a time waster, definitely consider picking up Pushmo for your 3DS.

Pushmo is available for download on the 3DS eShop today for $6.99.


I first talked about developer Nicklas “Nifflas” Nygren yesterday with his fantastic open-world 2D platformer Knytt Underground for Wii U. Today, I want to talk about another one of his games, but this time on 3DS. NightSky is a physics-based puzzle-platformer of sorts that has players guide a large sphere through a series of levels. Each level is unique and bestow upon the player special abilities, including the ability to flip gravity or the ability to accelerate/decelerate quickly. Originally to be released on Wii through its WiiWare service, NightSky was delayed and ported onto personal computers in 2011 and later to Nintendo 3DS in 2012.

Much like with Knytt Underground, NightSky is looks undeniably unique. Each level sports a different aesthetic and the varying graphical styles give the game a very eclectic (even if inconsistent) look. The levels themselves can be quite challenging, requiring players to experiment with each room’s various elements and how they react to the sphere. Unfortunately, only a handful are actually interesting, and the majority of them show up very late into the game (which, by the time you get there, you will likely have already tired out of NightSky).

In fact, that is very much my overall impression of NightSky. It does plenty of neat things and tries so hard to be memorable, but I found the whole experience to be rather boring. The game is very short as well – at only two hours long, it is hard to justify purchasing a game that feels largely like an experiment. The soundtrack is very soothing though, which is nice.

If you want to try out an intriguing little puzzle game on your 3DS, go ahead and give NightSky a shot. As it stands, however, I find it difficult to give the game even a general recommendation.

NightSky is available for download on the Nintendo 3DS eShop today for $9.99.


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