A Nintendo community
for the fans, by the fans!
 Go to forum index
Crashmo Review (Nintendo 3DS eShop)
Crashmo on the 3DS
Review by 
8.86/10 from 7 user ratings
 
Iím sure that you have had the experience of anticipating a sequel to a game that, on paper, looks like it will completely change the formula in major ways, only to get your hands on the final product and realize that it is, essentially, the same olí game with a new coat of paint. Crashmo (developed by Nintendoís own Intelligent Systems) is the exact opposite of this. Crashmoís changes to the formula established by its predecessor Pushmo sound modest enough in theory, and visually it looks very similar to Pushmo as well, so you could not be blamed for thinking that it is a fairly straightforward sequel. The reality, however, is that those seemingly minor changes lead to a fundamentally different puzzle game which requires you to throw out much of what Pushmo taught you and approach things from a completely new viewpoint.


Up to the top, over and over again. Such is life.

Pushmo released in late 2011 and quickly became one of the most critically praised and fan-beloved games on the 3DS eShop. The basic concept of that game was to push and pull blocks to work your way up to a child who needed rescuing, but the sheer amount of content, depth, fan service and extras propelled it from a merely ďgreatĒ puzzle game into a truly standout experience. In this respect Crashmo is very similar, and between the 200+ puzzles contained in the game, free DLC from Nintendo through SpotPass, and the return of the ďstudioĒ mode that lets you create and share your own puzzles and download those that others have created (via QR codes), you wonít run out of things to do very soon in Crashmo.

If you have played Pushmo, you should know not to expect much of a story in Crashmo. In that game you rescued kids; in this game you rescue birds. Papa Blox is back, as well as his niece Poppy (owner of the birds) and his apprentice Corin. You will forget their names soon enough. Itís mostly background noise to the main draw of Crashmo, which is, of course, the puzzles.

I mentioned some changes to the Pushmo formula above. The most notable of these changes is that gravity is now a real thing (albeit with its own rules) and blocks require support underneath them or they will come crashing down; hence the name, Crashmo. In addition to the gravity, blocks can now be pushed and pulled sideways as well as forward and back, and there is no longer a 3 level limit to how far blocks can be moved; if you have the space and a free path, you can move any block anywhere that you want to. This creates a truly 3D environment to manipulate, and the new camera system works accordingly, allowing you to shift your view to different angles and zoom in and out as needed. Many of the ďgimmicksĒ of Pushmo such as manholes and move switches have also returned, and there are a few new gimmicks as well, including warp doors and cloud blocks that float without support.


Doors are the new manholes. Except that there are also manholes.

A lot of these changes may sound like standard sequel fare, but once you start playing the game, you quickly learn how fundamentally different your approach to the puzzles must be than it was in Pushmo. Pushmo was often very much about positioning yourself; determining where you needed to get to next and working your way to that spot. Crashmo, on the other hand, is less about where you are at any given moment, and more about where you can get the blocks to be, which requires a completely different outlook and strategies. This does, however, affect the puzzle design in some ways that I experienced as negative. Whereas in Pushmo the game progressed to the point where you were eventually scaling some pretty large objects, the puzzles in Crashmo tend to be more compact in size, so that sense of scale is never really there to the same degree. Crashmo also tends to eschew the more aesthetically interesting sprite-based puzzle designs that Pushmo contained in larger numbers such as snowmen, dinosaurs, and Nintendo characters for more abstract designs, although it does contain some of the former as well, mostly later in the game. And of course, if you really need your sprite fix, you can always find some user-created puzzles to download online, as the fans have taken on everything from Mario to Earthbound to Fire Emblem and more. I even saw a Wii U GamePad puzzle in there.

All of this is tied up neatly with a simple control scheme. You move, you jump, and you pull. And like Pushmo, when you screw up, you can hold a button to reverse time, which is a pretty necessary feature considering how often it takes some trial and error to figure out what your next step should be.


And the old is made new again. Thus spoke Papa Blox.

Crashmo can be a bit more difficult than Pushmo, and it gets hard pretty fast, with several of the early puzzles leading to head scratching, although once you get used to the new mechanics and the new perspective required, the difficulty tapers off a bit. At least, until some of the later puzzles where things get tough again, including some insanely hard challenge puzzles. I donít know of anyone who actually finished every puzzle in Pushmo without cheating (I still have four left), and Iím sure that this will hold true for Crashmo as well. Furthermore, when you were stuck on a puzzle in Pushmo you could at least generally get a sense of where you were supposed to be next, even if you didnít know how to get there, but as Crashmo is more about block placement and you can move blocks all over the place, itís a bit tougher to determine what exactly your next step should be at times. The game is pretty generous in letting you skip puzzles when you get stuck on them though, and you can also hop back and forth between the various modes, so you should never remain stuck for very long.

Graphically Crashmo is a very clean and pleasant game, although for the most part it is just a few characters, some blocks, and a background that you are looking at, so there isnít much of anything fancy going on. Still, it looks nice and the 3D effect is not only aesthetically well done, but actually enhances the playability, as determining depth can be very important at times when navigating the puzzles. The soundtrack is also well made and catchy, although it has a limited amount of tracks and can get repetitive fast, especially when you are stuck on a puzzle and listening to the same loop over and over.

In the end, Crashmo is a great game that does not quite live up to the lofty heights of Pushmo. Generally, in a sequel, this would lead me to be a bit more disappointed. However, by utilizing seemingly minor elements that fundamentally change the formula that Pushmo established, Crashmo comes off feeling like a truly unique piece of software that can be admired on its own terms. If you havenít played Pushmo yet I would highly recommend that you play that game first; itís not just the superior game in my eyes, but one of the best puzzle games that I have ever played, period. If you have played Pushmo and are hungry for more though, I can definitely recommend Crashmo as a game that will hit the spot. It might not be quite as good as Pushmo, but it forges its own path, and it is one worth traveling.


Congratulations! You saved a bird with a wicked haircut!

URL to share this content (right click and copy link)
      
Posted: 03/06/13, 00:20:07  - Edited by 
 on: 04/08/13, 04:51:18    
 
Why not sign up for a (free) account and create your own content?
 
To think of a simple game like Tetris dominating the world 20 years ago (EDIT- CRIPES, is it 25 now?!) makes one wonder if another Puzzle game can achieve such a high level of widespread success again. I know that Pushmo and Crashmo are big around these parts, do you think it has the appeal to reach out to soccer moms, kids, garbagemen, and doctors? (not a knock on awesome garbagemen..)

I know Angry Birds was huge (is huge?) with a bunch of people, but that isn't really a Puzzle game, right?
When is Crashmo taking over? Can it rescue the bird with a wicked haircut in our hearts?


Also, can/will we see a 3rd installment? Dropmo? Smashmo? Or will it just be No Mo'?


Posted by 
 on: 03/06/13, 08:41:01  - Edited by 
 on: 03/06/13, 08:41:25
I'm about 80 puzzles into the game and to be honest, I think I enjoy Crashmo more than Pushmo. I'm sure Pushmo had a lot more to offer to big fans of pixel art, but it felt a bit tedious to play to me. The later puzzles take way more steps to solve, and while those steps are pretty simple, there comes a point where I can't remember if a move will screw me over or not. It's like playing Checkers and having to think 90 moves ahead. While playing Crashmo is, I don't know, like baking a cake: you do all of the steps and then watch the results.

Dubious metaphor aside, Crashmo also has a number of improvements that make it easier to play, IMO. For instance, I find the ability to zoom out during play invaluable. And the music is better.


Posted by 
 on: 03/06/13, 19:42:38  - Edited by 
 on: 03/06/13, 20:08:11
Great review Andrew, I now have a better grasp of what this game is really all about, especially when you compare it to Pushmo.

I wasn't the biggest fan of Pushmo. Maybe I'm just not good at it, but it seems like the gameplay is a bit too trial-and-error. I often ended up spending insane amounts of time studying the levels and just trying out different solutions since I could not always determine the logic behind the puzzle. After eventually making my way to the goal, I would often think to myself "How the heck did I solve that???" Granted, it was towards the last part of the game where the game really got me frustrated.

Anyway, Crashmo still sounds quite interesting, especially the part about

Zero said:
...there is no longer a 3 level limit to how far blocks can be moved; if you have the space and a free path, you can move any block that you want to anywhere that you want to move it. This creates a truly 3D environment to manipulate, and the new camera system works accordingly, allowing you to shift your view to different angles and zoom in and out as needed.

I'm just not sure this game is for me.

Mr_Mustache said:
To think of a simple game like Tetris dominating the world 20 years ago (EDIT- CRIPES, is it 25 now?!) makes one wonder if another Puzzle game can achieve such a high level of widespread success again. I know that Pushmo and Crashmo are big around these parts, do you think it has the appeal to reach out to soccer moms, kids, garbagemen, and doctors? (not a knock on awesome garbagemen..)

I don't think so, but hey, that's not a knock on either Pushmo or Crashmo. Tetris is simply such a ground-breaking game that it kind of created the puzzle genre we know today, because of its popularity.

EDIT:
@Guillaume

Ah, I think I share your feelings about Pushmo! Now Crashmo definitely sounds more appealing.


Posted by 
 on: 03/06/13, 19:43:47  - Edited by 
 on: 03/06/13, 19:50:21
Really solid review. :) I'll need to pick this up once I finally get through Pushmo.

And speaking of that, here's an edit you may want to make.

Zero said:
Graphically Pushmo is a very clean and pleasant game


Posted by 
 on: 03/06/13, 19:51:05
@Guillaume

I'm sort of in the same boat. I love Pushmo (Pullblox), in fact I think it's pretty brilliant, but I feel like I'm doing/thinking more in Crashmo (Fallblox), it just makes me more involved.


Posted by 
 on: 03/06/13, 20:04:21
Nice review. The two games are fundamentally different, and I'm glad they both exist. They are both worth playing.

@roykoopa64
I found Pushmo much less trial and error than Crashmo. In Pushmo, you can make small steps towards a goal and constantly re evaluate your path. In Crashmo, you have to plot it all out before hand, visualize what's going to happen, then do it. I prefer the Pushmo approach, it feels more rewarding and the larger sense of scale helps too.


Posted by 
 on: 03/06/13, 20:07:40
I'm only about halfway through Crashmo, but I'm really enjoying it. The difficulty ramps up much more quickly than Pushmo, and it really is a different beast from Pushmo -- much moreso than I expected. It uses the same basic mechanics, but changes up the formula just enough that you need to think about the puzzles in a completely different way. I think it's too soon to say which game I prefer, but even if Pushmo is the better game, I'd rather have this than Pushmo 2. Changing up the elements of the game was a brilliant idea, and despite the fact that players are largely doing the same motions, it feels very fresh -- and this is coming from someone who played through a good chunk of Pushmo very recently (I returned to it and played the second half around the time Crashmo released, and only bought Crashmo during the recent sale).


Posted by 
 on: 03/06/13, 20:47:22  - Edited by 
 on: 03/06/13, 20:49:34
I'm on Bonus 10 (#110) in Crashmo and I think I like it better than Pushmo as well, and I adored Pushmo. It makes you think much differently from Pushmo.


Posted by 
 on: 03/06/13, 21:47:22
@Guillaume I guess what I should also have added was a little "And if you didn't like Pushmo, you may still end up loving Crashmo, because it's a very different game" blurb at the end or something like that. I think I did make it pretty clear that these are very different games, so logically speaking people could probably work out that even if they didn't like Pushmo, they might still like this game.

Maybe I forgot to add something like that to the review because it is so difficult to imagine someone playing Pushmo and not loving it, ha ha.

@Kal-El814 I just noticed that, but thanks for pointing it out!

rebonack said:
but even if Pushmo is the better game, I'd rather have this than Pushmo 2.

I'm not sure if this fully came out in the review, but I feel this way as well. Pushmo was so packed, I spent like close to 50 hours on it I believe, and I still have those four stages to finish in it, not to mention a bunch of user ones that I downloaded. So I probably wouldn't have been too excited about just getting more of the same. Something totally different though, sure, sign me up!


Posted by 
 on: 03/06/13, 21:58:39  - Edited by 
 on: 03/06/13, 22:04:36
Pushmo was pretty damn good. Crashmo is just more fun to me. So while I get that you prefer Pushmo, just telling people "well if you can only buy one, get Pushmo" seems wrong.


Posted by 
 on: 03/06/13, 22:01:46
Guillaume said:
Pushmo was pretty damn good. Crashmo is just more fun to me. So while I get that you prefer Pushmo, just telling people "well if you can only buy one, get Pushmo" seems wrong.
How is that wrong, if he prefers the game? I would say the same thing in my review.

Edit: Pushmo is cheaper too!


Posted by 
 on: 03/06/13, 22:05:11  - Edited by 
 on: 03/06/13, 22:06:29
I actually have a theory on why Crashmo is so different. I suspect that during the development of Pushmo they were testing out a bunch of ideas and started to realize that they had two, almost divergent ideas forming and both were pretty cool. So they finalized the path for Pushmo but they kept the Crashmo stuff around as well for the sequel.

@Guillaume I didn't say that though! I said this:

Zero said:
If you havenít played Pushmo yet I would highly recommend that you play that game first

I want people to play both! If someone really has reasons to choose one and only one though I would stand by recommending Pushmo over Crashmo. But obviously some people will prefer Crashmo, so they would have to read up on both and decide which seems to suit them best? I did try to make it clear that I don't see this as an inferior sequel, but something different enough that it needs to be judged on its own terms.

Here is our Pushmo review for anyone who wants to read both.


Posted by 
 on: 03/06/13, 22:11:29  - Edited by 
 on: 03/06/13, 22:12:28
@anon_mastermind

Because people may not end up with the game THEY prefer.


Posted by 
 on: 03/06/13, 22:16:42
Yeah but a recommendation is just a recommendation. People still need to make up their own minds. I think I've been fair to Crashmo.

And I never said "if you can only play one..." anyway.


Posted by 
 on: 03/06/13, 22:29:14  - Edited by 
 on: 03/06/13, 22:30:36
Zero said:
Yeah but a recommendation is just a recommendation. People still need to make up their own minds. I think I've been fair to Crashmo.

But I never said "if you can only play one..." anyway.
What you actually say is "In the end, Crashmo is a great game that does not quite live up to the lofty heights of Pushmo", which I think is wrong. It oversells Pushmo and undersells Crashmo. I think it makes sense to state the preference after laying down the differences between the two, but the statements that read as factual such as the one quoted ring false.

I just wouldn't want people who liked Pushmo but didn't love it as much as you did to skip Crashmo just based on that experience.


Posted by 
 on: 03/06/13, 22:32:32  - Edited by 
 on: 03/06/13, 22:39:25
But it is as factual as anything anyone writes in a review, in the sense that it's an opinion that I really stand by which is what all reviews come down to in the end. But taking it out of context misses the overall message because this comes next:

Zero said:
Crashmo comes off feeling like a truly unique piece of software that can be admired on its own terms.


Posted by 
 on: 03/06/13, 22:46:19
I think it's possible for a sentence to convey completely different messages to different audiences. I think that to a Pushmo fan, that sentence definitely says that Crashmo isn't more of the same. But to less fervant fans, I think they still take away that they've played the better game and shouldn't bother with this one.


Posted by 
 on: 03/06/13, 22:49:33
@Guillaume I sort of agree. As I said earlier, I haven't finished Crashmo yet, but I don't think that either one is objectively "better" than the other. People will have their preferences (as evidenced by this thread), but ultimately they're two different variations of block-pulling puzzle games. It certainly isn't a clear-cut example where the sequel is better in every way, or anything like that.

With that being said, aren't reviews inherently subjective? Pretty much anything Zero says is going to be his opinion, and I don't think stating that he thinks Pushmo is the better game is really unfair. I don't see why he has to say "I THINK" in order to make that clear.


Posted by 
 on: 03/06/13, 22:51:10  - Edited by 
 on: 03/06/13, 23:22:14
I think you meant subjective.

And I know reviews are subjective. I'm saying that if his goal was to convince people who didn't love Pushmo that Crashmo is still worth checking out, he failed.


Posted by 
 on: 03/06/13, 23:16:13
Derp, I did mean subjective.

That's a fair assessment. Despite the similarities between the two, I think they're different enough that if you don't love one, you still might love the other, and Crashmo is definitely worth checking out if you remotely enjoy Pushmo.


Posted by 
 on: 03/06/13, 23:22:02
Browse    1  2