If your 3DS is gathering dust, it's time to bring it out of hibernation! Kotaku reader Powalen has returned with a review of a 3DS eShop game, PullBlox. It's time to do some eShopping, friends.
I fancy myself as a bit of a puzzle game connoisseur. I’m that guy that you see hogging the window seat on the train, while not looking up from a book of Sudoku. So when I heard about the new Nintendo 3DS eShop game PullBlox (from Intelligent Systems, makers of the awesome Fire Emblem, Advance Wars and Paper Mario games), I knew I had to give it a go. To my delight, they seem to have pulled out all the stops (puns :D).
The game is fairly simple. A troublemaker has trapped a child inside each PullBlox puzzle and it's up to you to save them. You control Mallo; a red, sumo-like character and you must push, pull and jump between different coloured blocks to reach the goal at the top. It might sound easy, but it can actually get quite tricky as the difficulty ramps up.
What I Liked
Charming, yet thought-provoking! -– The PullBlox puzzles, in general, are very clever. They give you the impression that there are multiple ways to get to the goal (even if there might not be), which I think is important for a puzzle game. It creates a sense of “maybe I could have done that in a better way”. Simple additions such as a ‘rewind-time’ trigger come in handy and the reset button allows you to start from scratch if you need to re-think your strategy. The music is also a very nice accompaniment to the puzzles and manages to be somehow nostalgic with its midi tracks.
The great leveller -- The level editor, unlocked after finishing the initial tutorial levels, is exactly what you’d expect: a grid that utilizes the 3DS touch screen to let you draw your own PullBlox puzzles. What I was not expecting, however, was how easy it was to make a solvable puzzle. This is more the work of the games mechanics rather than the editor itself, but you can pretty much draw whatever you want and, unless your design is absolutely ridiculous, there will be some way of solving it (if not, you can quickly go back and edit it). QR Codes can also be generated to share levels with your friends, which is a nice touch.
Three Dee -- The 3D effect in PullBlox is implemented pretty well. It’s hardly groundbreaking stuff, but it does look nice. However, the 3D doesn’t really add much to the actual gameplay, so you can easily shut it off to save your battery. Still, it’s a nice option to have.
What I Didn’t Like
Community, stat! -- PullBlox does not boast any stat collection or any sort of community features (outside of creating QR Codes), which hurts its replay value. I would have liked a timed challenge mode or maybe my moves counted for each particular puzzle. Then you could compare stats with those on your friend-list or online (there’s nothing that makes you want to perfect a puzzle more than finding out someone on the other side of the world beat it in one less ‘pull’ than you). An online ‘shop’ of community-made puzzles would have also been a welcome addition, or even just a Streetpass mode for swapping your puzzles. Maybe we'll see it in a sequel, PullBlox 2: When Push Comes to Shove.
What Am I? Rich? -- This game is definitely one of the more ‘premium’ games on the eShop. At a price point of $9.00 (AU), it does seem a bit hefty in comparison to puzzle games on other platforms (ie. Mobile). Not to say that the game isn’t worth that amount, but I just get the feeling it could have been priced a tad lower to encourage more impulse purchases.
Like I said, I love puzzle games. I think it was probably inevitable that I would like this game. It combines my favourite things: good puzzles, “just-one-more” gameplay, a forgiving difficulty curve and being portable enough to play on a packed CityRail train. If you like puzzle games, you should definitely look into PullBlox. Think of it as supporting the 3DS eShop. If there’s anything it could use, it’s more original games like this.
Oh, and before I go: as a thankyou for reading, I made a Kotaku AU PullBlox puzzle. Just scan the QR Code from inside the level editor. Enjoy!