No Nintendo eShop release has proved quite as idyllic as the irrepressibly charming Pullblox. The block puzzle platformer had been Intelligent Systems first foray on the 3DS, taking us by surprise in how deviously mind-boggling it could be despite the game’s adorable exterior. Fallblox was an equally addictive successor a year later, and now the Japanese developer’s colourful creativity is brought to bear on Wii U.
Pullblox World remains just as simplistic in concept. We find young sumo wrestler Mallo facing a similar predicament as before, discovering that children have unwillingly become trapped in the playground structures that populate Pullblox Park. Players are challenged to push and pull the fixed component blocks that are used in their construction to clamber their way up to rescue each child. Although, that’s naturally easier said than done…
Newcomers will be brought up to speed by Papa Blox and his faithful hound Brutus, Basic Lessons covering the skills needed to master the exhaustive number of brainteasers that will quickly justify the game’s entry price. With no time limit on any challenge, you are free to experiment in pushing, pulling and sliding blocks at your leisure. Blocks can be pulled outward up to three spaces, and curiosity will soon get the better of you as you seek out a path that will let you leap to your goal. Make a mistake and you can hold the L Button to rewind time by a short distance. Prepare to regularly scratch your head in bemusement as you hold out for that inevitable eureka moment.
New mechanics are present in the form of gadgets whether that be manholes which carry you from one block to another or pushback and pullout switches that will either pull or push all blocks of the same colour. These add a welcome and increased level of complexity, helping to differentiate Pullblox World from the experiences delivered by the game’s 3DS predecessors, while making you think of solutions in entirely new ways.
There are in excess of 250 expertly designed puzzles to work your way through, starting with nondescript shapes before you are soon greeted by complex murals based on animals, food, a baby, and the occasional Nintendo character. While you are encouraged to complete each puzzle presented to you, you can freely skip as many as you wish. When doing so the game will invite you to visit the Training Area to practise your skills, reminding you of methods that may help you tackle any puzzles that you have been left baffled by. Nintendo also encourages players to send feedback about puzzles that they have faced, and Miiverse integration is expectedly there if you’re looking for pointers from other players.
User-generated content will play an even greater role, with players able to hop on a ship to ferry you to World Pullblox Fair. Here you will discover puzzles created by other players in Pullblox Studio which you can freely play and rate their quality, as well as additional ones from Intelligent Systems. This encourages a communal aspect to the Pullblox World experience, and something that will exponentially increase your time with the game, as will the Miiverse Stamps waiting to be unlocked.
The shift to HD brings a delectable crispness to the game’s bold, primary colour palette. While the Pullblox themselves throw up plenty of visual variation, the wistful background laden with wind turbines never changes and some alteration as you progress would have been welcomed. Whereas a joyously bouncy soundtrack will keep you audibly entertained, although may soon tire of hearing the same melodies repeatedly.
Pullblox World satisfies a near-insatiable appetite for a series that has become a beacon of brilliance on the Nintendo eShop. Crafted with undeniable genius, this downloadable release is the latest must-have title that no Wii U owner should be without.
Version Tested: Wii U
Review copy provided by Nintendo