I don’t play puzzle games for hours on end. I don’t sit down and soak them in the same way I would a Grand Theft Auto or Legend of Zelda.

Puzzle games, for me, are a beautiful blend of pure difficulty and bite sized gratification. If I can sit down for 20 or 30 minutes, crank out a few super tough brain teasers and walk away easily, I’m extremely satisfied.

Pushmo World, the first of the block pushing and pulling series to release on the Wii U and not the 3DS, is such a puzzle game. It’s perfectly simple and understandable, it gets out of its own way early on and it presents some truly tough puzzles.

For the asking price of $9.99, this once portable only offering is a great choice for Wii U owning puzzle lovers.

Don’t be deceived by the art style, my friends. Intelligent Systems, a studio I wish would focus on the likes of Advance Wars again, created the deliriously cute world of Pushmo just to trick you. It’s cartoony, it’s bright, it boasts a bubbly soundtrack and it features chubby characters oozing adorable.

It’s a rainbow puking a rainbow sundae covered in rainbow sprinkles.

And that’s, really, what makes it work so well. Remove Mallo, the red, sumo looking character, and his world, and this becomes little more than a tough block sliding game without personality. Instead, players are presented with a silly premise of rescuing children trapped in puzzles while pulling on crazy looking formations or those that resemble, say, a giant crawling baby.

The deliriously cute art style is what ties this puzzle package together. If it weren’t for the look, the difficulty and progression would be too much and too boring. Instead, Intelligent Systems created a living space that does well on its on right. It’s borderline too cute at times, and that’s okay.

The Life of Pushmo World Depends on its Community

Yes, Pushmo World comes stacked with its own set of puzzles. They’re both devilish and simple, creative and boring. They’re pre-loaded, and they feel that way.

That’s where this whole “World” aspect comes into play. Pushmo World will (notice, I say “will”) be linked with the Wii U’s Miiverse. You’ll be able to find Pushmo created by other players, shared by other players and rated by other players. The cream of the user-generated crop will be there for you to filter through.

Those user created puzzles, and I know because of my time with Pushmo and Crashmo on the Nintendo 3DS, are where the long term quality is for this title.

Now, at the time of reviewing Pushmo World, the Pushmo World Fair is unavailable. That’s where we’re supposedly going to find all this unique content. Nintendo didn’t have it ready for reviewers to take advantage of, so I can’t really speak to the quality of sharing puzzles with the Wii U user base.

Kind of a bummer, I know, but I did try my hand at making a few puzzles. It’s wonderful, but there seems to be an odd problem that might put some users off.

Pushmo - Mallo - 2
Pushmo World Fair is Down

Creating Pushmo? Awesome. Sharing Pushmo? Frustrating So Far

Pushmo Studio - Mario - 1

I made a Pushmo puzzle this morning. That’s it, right above this line of text. It even says “Joey” where the author line is. I’m proud of it, for some silly reason. I found an 8-bit Mario, copied it pixel for pixel and created a workable, winnable puzzle out of it.

It was actually fun. I’ve never reviewed a Pushmo before this one. I’ve played them, I’ve consumed them, but I never reviewed them. I also never tried creating a puzzle before. The drive wasn’t there, and I wasn’t required to do it for a game I was playing for pleasure.

I made a few puzzles here because I had to test out all aspects of the game. Truth be told, I sort of loved making this one.

Pushmo Studio - Mario - 2

The fun isn’t in copying Mario pixel for pixel. Once Mario was on the virtual canvas, the fun came from figuring out how I could turn his 8-bit body into a scalable puzzle. I had to figure out how to get players to win, and that bit of creating Pushmo is a lot of fun.

The sharing? So far, not good. Since the Pushmo World Fair is inaccessible, I can’t share this things over the Miiverse. Fine, I get that. The problem is that Intelligent Systems and Nintendo made a really odd choice with the Create QR Code feature.

You can create a QR Code out of your Pushmo. Here, look.

Picture of Pushmo QR Code

Why is that picture so potato quality? Ah ha, there’s the problem. You can’t use Nintendo’s image share service to Tweet, Tumbl or Facebook (I turned those last two into verbs) your creations. You can’t even access the home menu from this QR Code page. Your only option is to plug an SD card into your Wii U and save your image there.

Now, Nintendo and Intelligent Systems need to realize that the beauty of creating this Pushmo is in sharing them with others. In fact, I know they know that since a huge selling point for Pushmo World is its connection to the Miiverse. However, a better way to present the QR code screen above would be with Tweet, Facebook and Tumblr options.

Why avoid free publicity? I could have Tweeted this image out this morning, shared my creation, given Nintendo’s game free advertising and been done with it. Instead, I’m left searching old digital cameras for SD cards that I don’t have anymore.

That’s a bummer. A single hitch in an otherwise wonderful experience, albeit it a big one.

A Delightful Puzzler

Rating

8.0
The whole package, at $9.99, is a good deal for Wii U owners looking to dive into a puzzle game. Pushmo World works on that level.

Pushmo World

Sure, my point about the weird sharing options is a problem. Frankly, it’s a design choice that speaks volumes about Nintendo’s current take on the internet and sharing media in general. Sharing wherever we want should be intrinsically built into the game, not something we have to figure out.

Despite that problem, I really like Pushmo World. It’s on par with the original title, though it’s missing the “crash” stuff of Crashmo. It’s a great set of puzzles with a beautiful creation tool set in an adorable world.

The whole package, at $9.99, is a good deal for Wii U owners looking to dive into a puzzle game. Pushmo World works on that level.

Disclaimer: We received a code to download and review Pushmo World for the Wii U from Nintendo. We played through most of the game's puzzles and tested the creation portion before starting this review.