Weekend Roundup: Mo Pushmo, Mo Problems
Pushmo (3DS, Intelligent Systems)
After all the talk and praise surrounding Nintendo and Intelligent System’s eShop download Pushmo, I finally got around to picking up a Nintendo points card and making the purchase. My first impression was, “Man, I definitely made a mistake not checking this out earlier.” What makes it even worse was that John posted information about the game when it was announced for Japan and, even after checking it out, I still passed on the game. It wasn’t until it hit the North American eShop and the praise the media gave it that I started to take notice.
The game is a block puzzler which has players initially pulling blocks from the background into the foreground to make stairs and platforms to reach a goal at the top. However, different shapes and formations make things more difficult as the player’s jump is limited in range and certain elements prevent blocks from being pushed inward or pulled outward. There were several times where I just had to stop moving and closely examine the level layout before deciding what to do next. If players make a mistake that isn’t immediately fixable, they can hit a switch at the bottom of the screen and reset the puzzle. There’s also a rewind button that can be used by holding the L button down.
Thankfully the game has no time limit, meaning players are free to sit, look at, and think about the level design for as long as they want. Thus, the game is less frenetic than Catherine’s game design and doesn’t feature random blocks designed to hamper level progress. When I struggled with a puzzle, often times I had to turn the game off and come back to it hours later to solve it in my first try. I guess that’s where the game has something special: I wanted to solve those puzzles so I wanted to come back to the game over and over. There were times where I was thinking about those puzzles when I wasn’t playing the game.
The graphics are simple but really shine with the 3D on. There’s a significant sense of depth that can be seen with the 3D turned on, though to be honest I mainly am playing the game only in 2D.
In addition to the many levels in the main game, players can download custom created levels using the 3DS’s camera to scan QR codes. We’ve posted some great designs here and here that you can use to add levels to your game. The possibilities really expand on the value and creative aspects of the game.
For 700 yen or $6.99 in the United States, you can’t go wrong with the amount of gameplay that Pushmo offers. Don’t count this one out for being a digital download only release. There’s a lot of game and fun to be found here, if not enough to drive you crazy.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii, Nintendo)
So after picking the game and playing a bit on release day, it finally seems to look like I’ll be playing more and more of the game this week. Man, the game’s opening is slow and dull. I haven’t read any reviews or a lot of post game commentary, so I’m not sure what to expect from this one. I did hear about how pointless some of the later quests get and seem to unnecessarily extend the game’s length. I’ll probably just refrain from commenting on this one every week, because if I don’t get hooked soon, it’s probably going to take me until April to finish.
Megaman X and Megaman Powered Up! (PSP, Capcom)
We’ve been talking a lot about Megaman on the site recently. By coincidence, I’ve started playing these two games on my PSP. Powered Up! is a new game for me and I’m enjoying it so far. I’ll have more to say on these two down the road. Promise I won’t get in the way, John.
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker HD (360, Konami)
I finished up Peace Walker HD on Friday. I’ve said enough about this game over the weeks. It’s awesome. It’s included in the Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection (in North America and Asia, not Japan). It’s worth trying.
Here’s what’s planned for me down the stretch:
I’m planning on getting a Vita soon, but the Japanese offerings are still a bit dry to me (as much as I would love a portable Ultimate MvC 3, I still have a lot to unlock in the 360 version) and the lack of PSone Classics support really hurts because I have a lot of PSone downloads on my PSP. The 32GB Vita cards look like they’re in regular supply and less than 9000 yen on Amazon Japan now, which should mean that by the time I do get around to getting a system, I shouldn’t have any problem getting a card as well. I should just order a card now since it’ll make the system purchase shock hurt a little less.
Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition is getting another retail release on February 9th. The game hit retail in Japan bearing the “Platinum Collection” label and retailed for 3990 yen. The game is getting another “Platinum Collection” label and hitting stores for 2990 yen beginning in February. The package looks to be identical but the price will be 1000 yen less at retail. The game will also retail for the same price under the “Best Hits” label for Playstation 3 on the same day. My SSFIV standard disc doesn’t play anymore, so I sold it off to Hard-Off and will be picking up the discounted update in a few weeks.
Kiki Trick for the Nintendo Wii looks like more interesting content from the WarioWare/Rhythm Heaven team. This time around, the studio has gamers using their eyes and ears to solve challenges in a very similar style to their earlier games. The game was released very recently in Japan and may be one of the last games we’ll see come out for the system before things trickle to a halt here.
No other big titles planned for release in Japan this month. I’ll be on the lookout for those big fall titles that may have dropped in price over the few months, including Assassin’s Creed Revelations and Modern Warfare 3.