This edition of Critical Reception examines online reaction to Intelligent Systems' Pushmo follow-up Crashmo, which reviewers describe as "a puzzle game that's brimming with confidence." Crashmo currently earns a score of 85 out of 100 at Metacritic.com.
Jose Otero at 1UP.com gives Crashmoan A- grade. "Few feelings measure up to the general satisfaction that follows after you solve a challenging puzzle," he notes. "Crashmo thrives on your ability to reach this happy place."
Otero continues: "Developed by Intelligent Systems as the sequel to Pushmo -- a phenomenal puzzle game quietly released late last year -- Crashmo explains its core concept with more more confidence than its predecessor."
"A player must rearrange blocks until they find a clear route to the top so they can rescue a small bird and clear the stage," Otero explains.
"I suppose nothing really crashes in Crashmo, since pieces quietly fall to the ground as the player shuffles them back and forth. Don't count on realistic physics as a defining aspect of Crashmo. As long as block stands on a single support piece, adjacent pieces will remain held up as well."
Otero finds the game's presentation to be an improvement over Pushmo's. "In Pushmo, Intelligent Systems leaned on long-winded tutorials to introduce new mechanics, and subsequent stages would show different variations of a single idea, frequently re-explaining things the player learned a few stages ago," he recalls.
"Crashmo expands the ideas of its predecessor and presents another charming entry in the block-pushing puzzle series," Otero writes. "With easy sharing options, a cute visual style, and a puzzle game that's brimming with much more confidence, I find it hard not to mention Crashmo without a glowing recommendation."
Game Informer's Bryan Vore scores Crashmo at 8.5 out of 10. "Last year's Pushmo offered a simple and effective puzzle mechanic similar to pushing and pulling drawers," he begins. "In Intelligent Systems' direct sequel, Crashmo, the developer adds several entertaining new mechanics while keeping the feel of the original intact."
Crashmo effectively expands on Pushmo's mechanics. "The core change is Mallo's new ability to slide structures from side to side in addition to the classic push and pull moves," Vore explains. "Instead of manipulating a structure locked into the ground, you can move the whole thing around. Higher blocks fall down if you remove their support, which either gives you something to climb on or ruins the whole puzzle."
"This new format allows the designers a lot more flexibility in creating puzzle layouts, but they've added several gadgets on top of that," Vore continues. "New tools include a door teleporter, cloud blocks that float without support, and switches that allow Mallow to move blocks by hopping on them instead of pushing. These mechanics all get their time to shine and offer a unique spice to the gameplay once you get used to the current gimmick."
"Crashmo improves on Pushmo's formula in every way, but I have a nebulous complaint: For some reason Crashmo doesn't inspire that 'just one more' desire in me that I expect in puzzle games," Vore notes. "The dry and straightforward dismantling of one puzzle after the next leaves me satisfied after finishing about a dozen. When I return after a break it's always fun again, but I'm not losing any sleep playing it. This is relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, but it keeps Crashmo out of the puzzle hall of fame."
Games Radar's Henry Gilbert gives Crashmo3.5 out of 5 stars. "Nintendo has shown surprising commitment to its 3DS eShop, tasking some of its top developers to create new downloadable treats for the service," he writes. "One of the strongest was Pushmo [...]. Now its sequel, Crashmo, has arrived on the handheld and it expands on the original's strengths, though that increased complexity has its drawbacks."
"Nintendo's traditional approach to gameplay services Crashmo well, introducing players to a few basic moves and then challenging you to find countless new uses for those abilities," Gilbert praises. "Limiting your options to pushing, pulling, and jumping keeps a tight focus on the treasure trove of 3D puzzles before you."
Players may often experience frustration, however. "Crashmo has many tools to prevent players from feeling stuck, yet the challenge still gives way to frustration more often than it should," Gilbert warns. "Figuring out the multiple angles of 3D space can get pretty perplexing -- which ultimately makes the satisfaction of eventually solving a tough puzzle all the sweeter, but will still push away some gamers."
"The difficulty may escalate faster than you'd prefer, but Crashmo is still an absorbing diversion for your 3DS," Gilbert concludes. "Like the best downloadables, it can be played for 10 minutes or two hours, satisfying players no matter how much they choose to invest. If you can push past the annoyances that infrequently pop up, you'll find that classic style of simple Nintendo fun, only in a more compact form."