Pull­blox World

Wii U

EDGE - - GAMES -

Pub­lisher Nin­tendo De­vel­oper In­tel­li­gent Sys­tems For­mat Wii U Re­lease Out now

You’d think the chil­dren of Pull­blox Park would have learned their les­son by now. An­other 250 of the lit­tle blighters have nav­i­gated a com­plex tower of in­ter­lock­ing blocks and trapped them­selves at the sum­mit. And once again it’s down to Mallo, our portly, scro­tum-nosed cat-cum-sumo wrestler pro­tag­o­nist, to set them free. We’re only too happy to oblige, but re­ally, this town doesn’t need a hero so much as a fas­tid­i­ous health and safety of­fi­cer.

This, the third game in the Pull­blox se­ries but the first on Wii U, re­turns to the 3DS orig­i­nal’s tem­plate: there’s no room here for se­quel Fall­blox’s cen­tral con­ceit, which saw brick­work tum­ble down­wards if there were no sup­port­ing blocks di­rectly be­neath it. It is, once again, a game of push­ing, pulling and slid­ing coloured shapes to cre­ate a path to the im­per­illed in­fant at the top, a sim­ple premise that is, after a gen­tle in­tro­duc­tion, put al­most in­stantly to brain-melt­ing use.

The fact that no block can be pulled out more than three times is the key to how this con­cep­tu­ally sim­ple game rapidly be­comes a de­vi­ous one. You fre­quently have to go back down be­fore you can go up, mov­ing around the blocks that got you to your cur­rent po­si­tion and ob­scur­ing the path back down. You fre­quently box your­self in by mak­ing bad de­ci­sions in the rush to get that one mis­sion-critical block pulled out to its full ex­ten­sion, mak­ing the rewind func­tion not so much a safety net as a god­send, a tool ev­ery bit as vi­tal as the jump but­ton. Things are fur­ther com­pli­cated by man­holes, which you can warp be­tween so long as two of the same colour are ex­posed; and switches, which ei­ther fully ex­tend or re­tract all blocks of a cer­tain colour.

If you’re strug­gling – OK, when you’re strug­gling – with the puz­zles on the critical path, a Train­ing Area holds a se­lec­tion of less ex­act­ing chal­lenges. Mys­te­ri­ous Pull­blox, mean­while, play fast and loose with the rules by, for in­stance, hav­ing all blocks of a cer­tain colour move in tan­dem. That the sparse me­chan­ics can be used to such an ex­tent with­out ever feel­ing like they’re re­peat­ing them­selves re­in­forces the sense that In­tel­li­gent Sys­tems is an aptly named stu­dio.

There’s a whiff of trial and er­ror at times, but no puz­zle’s Eureka mo­ment comes by ac­ci­dent. It might take 15 min­utes of back and forth, and the odd trek to the re­set but­ton when all seems lost, but at some point ev­ery­thing will click into place. If the mea­sure of a great puz­zle game is in how it makes you feel like an id­iot right up un­til the mo­ment you feel like a king, then Pull­blox World is quite the suc­cess. The 3DS games’ stereo­scopic ef­fect may be ab­sent on Wii U, but Pull­blox has lost none of its depth.

The right trig­ger zooms out the cam­era – here, for in­stance, you’ll need to do so to see where each man­hole leads. Some puz­zles are so large that even that won’t be enough to bring them fully into view, how­ever

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