Crashmo Review
Derrick Bitner
November 26, 2012, 2:22 pm

A pleasant puzzle game with elements of frustration.

Though I never got the chance to play Pushmo when it was originally released for the 3DS eShop, I heard a lot about what a great little game it was. Now that I actually own a 3DS, I had the chance to play its sequel, Crashmo. After playing it for myself, I can understand where the addiction people had for this game came from. It’s an extremely easy game to pick up and play, but there’s so much to do and such a great challenge that puzzle-fiends will be enthralled for some time.

Players are put in the shoes of Mallo, a sumo wrestler cat, who is visiting Papa Blox’s Crashmo Park. He is soon introduced to his friend’s grandniece, Poppy, who has traveled there on a flying contraption powered by dozens of birds. Mallo accidentally spooks the birds, sending them all inside the Park where they settle on the various Crashmos. It’s up to Mallo to collect each of the birds by solving the Crashmos so Poppy can return home. The story is as simple as can be, but it works well as far as giving players a goal and a sense of progress as they recover each bird.

The goal of Crashmo is to reach to top of a set of blocks and retrieve the bird. It starts out simply enough with Mallo able to push, pull and slide whichever block he’s currently touching. He can also jump the space of one square which allows more options on how players can reach the goal. The trick of the puzzles in Crashmo is that each time a block is moved, the blocks above will drop into the open space. The only way this won’t happen is if all the blocks are supported at the same time. The game does a great job of introducing these mechanics and offers 20 puzzles for the player to get acclimated. Essentially, a set of stairs need to be created in order for Mallo to climb them and recover the bird. Because Mallo is working in a 3D space, he is given free reign of the camera. Rotating the view and pulling it back is crucial to figuring out the perfect way to ascend the Crashmo.

But the game doesn’t just rely on simple block pushing. Eventually gadgets and specialty blocks are introduced that change the way puzzles must be solved. The floating block does exactly that, the manhole allows Mallo to vertically teleport between two points, the door lets him travel between two horizontal points, and the move switch will cause the block he’s standing on to move in a certain direction. Crashmo gives the basics on each of these gadgets before providing a set of puzzles showing many of the possibilities. By the later puzzles, the game will be mixing and matching the gadgets to give players a real challenge.

And Crashmo is definitely a challenging game. Some puzzles require a lot of three-dimensional thinking and can take quite a while to solve. It can definitely get frustrating, but the game relieves a lot of this stress by allowing players to rewind moves if they don’t work or reset the puzzle all-together. If players are stumped completely, they can simply skip that one and move on to the next. With well more than 100 puzzles in the game, players will find a lot to do especially if they like creating their own Crashmos. The creation process is incredibly easy and a QR code is created so you can share them with others online.

Though Crashmo is not pushing the 3DS at all graphically, it has a great style. It’s very clean and appealing. The puzzles are clearly the main focus here, and they are presented clearly from every angle so Mallo can easily craft the solutions. The music is somewhat limited with only about five songs in total. They’re all simple and unobtrusive, creating pleasant background noise but nothing memorable. Crashmo is certainly a fun game and one that puzzle aficionados will flock to. But I found myself frustrated more often than not even with all the helpful elements sprinkled throughout the game. I could see where I needed to place each block, but oftentimes I had no idea how to do it. While some puzzles seem to have multiple solutions, most of them require one specific way. If that seems like your type of game, Crashmo is absolutely worth your time.

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Background Check: Derrick
I've always been a fan of puzzle games, but only in small bursts. They can be extremely satisfying to solve, but I hate the frustration they can sometimes create. That's why I love the Professor Layton games. There's a story around them to break up the endless puzzles and hints to help guide you to the answer if you need it.

Tetris - Like it
Professor Layton series - Love 'em
Puzzle games - Like 'em