Pullblox review Say the words 'block puzzler' and most people will immediately think of Tetris. Yet in Pullblox, Intelligent Systems has created a new style of block puzzler that deserves to do for 3DS what the Russian classic did for Game Boy.
Pullblox is so simple, it's incredible that no one has ever done this before. At its most basic level, you have to push and pull blocks in order to form steps that will take you to the flag at the top of the puzzle. It's challenging and addictive, but that's not the reason why this is the best puzzle game since Picross.
After all, there are plenty of cheap, addictive and challenging puzzle games on mobile phones, but surely none with this much charm and character.
You see, there is a reason for reaching the flag at the top of those steps - these puzzles are called Pullblox and they're the main attraction for the children visiting Pullblox Park. Unfortunately, they've been trapped within these blocks and it's up to you, playing as Mallo, to rescue them.
Chip off the old Blox
The Pullblox may be the main attraction for the kids but for you the star of the show is Papa Blox. He's the owner of the park and although he's not the one who saves the kids, watching him try to pull a block is hilarious as he grunts and groans like a granddad attempting to open a jar of pickled onions. Then, in a moment sure to raise a knowing chuckle from anyone who makes a noise when they get up off the sofa, he tells you that he would help rescue the children, but he's put his back out.
The puzzles themselves are brilliantly designed and are perfect for the 3D capabilities of the system as you begin with a flat wall before pulling blocks outwards to form the steps. It's all very gentle to begin with as Papa Blox teaches you how to pull out the first block as far as it can go (three pulls) before jumping up and pulling the next level out twice which will enable you to shift the final block and rescue the kid.
From there it gets trickier, as you're faced with towers made up of different shaped blocks that must be pushed and pulled on numerous occasions. There are more than 200 puzzles and just when it's threatening to get a little repetitive, Papa Blox returns to shake things up with switches and manholes.
Then there are the murals - puzzles shaped like an orange, a pig and, yes, Mario's head. Although don't be fooled into thinking that Pullblox is littered with Nintendo references. The Mario head is the only puzzle based on a Nintendo character in the first 100 levels and, even then, it's not accompanied by Mario music (pretty much the only criticism we have).
Still, if you want puzzles based on your favourite Nintendo characters you can always create your own in the straightforward Pullblox Studio which, like WarioWare DIY, gives you the same tools as the developers to create your own levels with the stylus. Fans have already been making puzzles based on Mario, Link and more.
While WarioWare DIY and the recently released Freakyforms both featured brilliant creation tools, the emphasis was very much on making your own levels or characters. That's not the case here as there are plenty of puzzles to enjoy for those who aren't especially creative. Many of them are really challenging, too and you'll find yourself staring at blocks for a good while before you work out a solution in an incredibly satisfying eureka-moment.
£5.40 might seem like a lot for a downloadable 3DS game but we would have happily paid £20 for Pullblox.