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'Pushmo World' Review: Pushin' and Pullin' fun

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Pushmo World

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Although its simple gameplay and cartoony visuals could turn away veteran gamers, at times staggering difficult puzzle gameplay and plenty to do will keep them coming back for more.

Easily one of the most underrated and enjoyable series on the 3DS, "Pushmo," originally released in 2011, was a fun, if not incredibly difficult at times puzzle game that far too many people didn't experience for themselves.

Now on the Nintendo Wii U, "Pushmo World" manages to maintain the aura of the wonderful first game, but adds a current generation coat of graphical paint and more levels to either bring back fans of the series or create new ones. Add in 250 new levels and a nifty level creator tool and even in the face of a lack of any new gameplay additions, "Pushmo World" is an improvement over the original.

Simple to play, "Pushmo World" is all about pushing and pulling blocks on a giant Pushmo, or set of cubes that contain a myriad of moveable pieces, in order to climb to the top. Usually the main character, Mallow, is off climbing up the Pushmo to save children, but other times, it's to retrieve flags. While there isn't much to the story, it's cute enough to make you care.

Considering that, the gameplay in Pushmo needs to stand out in order for the game to thrive. Luckily, "Pushmo World" features excellent control and simple gameplay that at times becomes so challenging that you'll find yourself shocked at how this adorable little title can literally stump you. Often times you'll have to repeat puzzles and try every piece until you find the solution. Although sometimes hectic and even frustrating, "Pushmo World" saves itself with its charismatic characters, warm visuals and additive gameplay.

You won't want to stop playing and thanks to another mode, even if you find yourself stuck, there are other things to do.

The level design tool adds hours to the gameplay mode for those who want to get lost in another mode. Able to share your creations with your friends on the Miiverse via QR codes, sharing is easy and simple. With two solid gameplay modes and almost infinite possibilities, "Pushmo World" manages to pack in a plethora of content for a meager $9.99 price tag. More frugal gamers should definitely take notice of this as well. Considering you'd be hard pressed to find so much to do in any other "new" game for 10 bucks.

In the end, when the last block is pushed, pulled or climbed, "Pushmo World" satisfies thanks to a simple approach, sometimes irritating difficulty and warm and fuzzy characters. While Mario, Link, Donkey Kong and Kirby get all the fanfare, Mallow and his buddies continue to prove their staying power.

The Good:

Inviting Visuals: The array of colors in "Pushmo World" will quickly attract non-gamers and make hardcore ones wonder what this nifty little title is all about. Like a box of crayons, "Pushmo World" is a feast for the eyes. Not since the Katamari series has a game been this playfully pretty.

Easy to Pick Up and Play: Push, pull and climb. Not much to it. Because of that, you'll jump right in and the time will fly. While the Pushmo series experience is tailor-made for a handheld, it works extremely well on the WIi U too. In short bursts or for hours at a time, "Pushmo World" provides a world you'll want to get lost in.

A Great Game to Share With Non-Gamers: Requiring just a few buttons to understand the game, "Pushmo World" is as inviting a game can be. The critical thinking skills required to breakdown each puzzle also make it a great game to foster those abilities in children or for the elderly in order to retain them.

Lots of Levels: With 250 puzzles to solve, there's a lot to do in "Pushmo World." Much like the first game in the series, Pushmo World" also spices up the level design to consistently keep you on your toes.

The Bad:

Doesn't Add Much to Gameplay Formula: Even after a few hours, it's hard to say what's exactly new in "Pushmo World." Away from the updated Wii U aesthetics, it feels awfully similar to its predecessor.

Incredibly Tough: Underneath the charming visuals and intuitive and easy to pick up gameplay lies the heart of an old lion. "Pushmo World" can be incredibly difficult at times. Like pick up the controller and throw it, tough. Luckily because the game is so easy to play, you'll navigate the courses normally than would have with another game. That doesn't mean that you won't be eventually find yourself on YouTube looking for a walk through though.

Final Thoughts:

Although it doesn't too all that much to separate it from the first game in the series on the 3DS, "Pushmo World" doesn't have to. With a charming, vibrantly-colored world, a decent enough story to get you attached and plenty of difficulty, "Pushmo World" will easily eat hours of your time. With plenty of gameplay depth and polish, the sometimes-staggering difficulty is as much an obstacle as you might originally think and the simple, but effective gameplay mechanics ring tried and true. Simply put, "Pushmo World" is one of the best puzzle games of 2014, even though for 3DS fans the experience will feel all too familiar.

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