DSiWare | Cosmigo | 1-2 Players (local multiplayer) | Out Now (North America) | 500 Nintendo Points
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23rd February 2012; By KnucklesSonic8
So yes, the game has you pushing -- not pulling -- blocks from their starting positions into targeted locations, using either the D-Pad or the stylus. On the Touch Screen is an overhead view of the entire level, allowing you to tap individual spots that you want the on-screen character to travel to, or you can continuously drag with the stylus instead. On the screen above, you'll see a more third-person view of the level with customizable angles and all. However, the camera isn't that great -- particularly when it comes to up-close feedback. If you make a mistake and would like to undo your last action, instead of pressing a rewind or fast-forward button, you can instead drag a slider bar from right to left. It's a more functional method of reversing previous actions than would be served by the tap of a button (although you are given this option as well). If you don't feel like breaking out your stylus all the time, you can also use the Y and X for Undo and Redo, respectively.
To start you off, you'll be given five Tutorial puzzles to begin with, unlocking the next set of five once you've completed all of the available stages. From there, you'll always have five stages to jump back and forth from, so thankfully the structure isn't rigid. For every five levels you complete, you'll also be given a Solution Credit which, when used, will show a demonstration on the top screen of how to pass the level you're on. These can't be recovered so you'll need to use them wisely! Because you need to complete all of the stages given to get these hints, if you can't figure out how to solve a particular puzzle and it just happens to be the very last one before you can move on, then you're more or less out of luck.
However, not everything has to be made a frustrating endeavour because of it. In fact, it's actually quite satisfying to see when something clicks with you and you tell yourself, "Why didn't I think of that before?" So really what it'll come down to is patience and perseverance in order to get through times like these. For further assistance, though, it would've been better if there was a clue as to the minimum number of moves the puzzle could be completed in. At least that way, you'd have a little bit more of an idea if you were on the right track or not.
After completing a level, you'll be given a Solution Rating based on the number of steps you took. Since there's usually more than one way to solve a puzzle, it appears as though you're able to fall within a range of steps for the 5-Star rating, as opposed to one set numerical requirement. In all honesty, because of the nature of the game as well as the total amount of levels included, you probably won't care much for these scores and will just be satisfied with completing stages. As is the case with most of Cosmigo's titles, there's a good amount of content available -- 250 stages in all. The layouts themselves are definitely challenging, and the fun lies in working out the solution several steps ahead. The game does increase in challenge factor early on, though, and if you don't manage your Credits carefully, you'll end up feeling frustrated over the inability to make necessary progress.
As far as presentation, the game looks alright. Cosmigo likes to use books for the overall menu layouts, and it's no different with this game. It was interesting that they decided to constantly have the worker in different outfits, but on the whole, there isn't much personality to this character or the game at large. I was, however, very pleased to see that the developers included a Playlist option under the Pause Menu. Previous titles by them often had repetitive music, so with seven decent songs to choose from, the audio doesn't become something you can point to as making the game boring to play.
On that note, though the gameplay is simple, Box Pusher isn't so much boring as it is frustrating -- or at least, it can be. But again, when the gears start turning in your head and you figure out what you've been missing for the last five minutes, you start to forget about the negative. Of course, some will lose interest in the game sooner than others, but it's not as dull as it might appear.
In addition to the single-player mode, you also have the option to load temporary saves or participate in a local multiplayer race to see who can solve a puzzle the fastest. The package also includes a level editor wherein you can create up to 15 different puzzles using a basic tool palette. Ironically, to ensure that the stage will actually function post-setup, here they actually have you pulling boxes into place by using B and R. Both the Level Editor and Multiplayer modes allow you to send data wirelessly through DS Download Play, which is always great to see.
Overall, Box Pusher is a straightforward release, and in like manner, it's easy to tell if it's for you or not. If you're into logic puzzles, then you may find it enjoyable. Plus, there's plenty of content to keep you busy. If, however, the idea of pushing blocks sounds like a waste of time, then don't bother signing up.
21/30 - Good
Gameplay 7/10 - Functional controls and setup, given five levels to complete at once, gain a Solution Credit for every set you complete, challenging layouts
Presentation 6/10 - Looks decent, camera is okay at best, seven different music tracks to choose from, not much personality
Enjoyment 3/5 - Completing puzzles can be satisfying after you've been trying for some time, can be frustrating at times, shouldn't be seen as boring
Extra Content 5/5 - 250 levels to clear, won't care much for improving ratings on levels you've completed, can create your own puzzles, multiplayer mode
Equivalent to a score of 70% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System