Stretchmo

8 Overall Score
Gameplay: 7/10
Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 8/10

Unique Puzzle-Platforming Gameplay | Superb Use of Stereoscopic 3-D

Additions to Pushmo Gameplay Muddle the Experience Somewhat

Game Info

GAME NAME: Stretchmo

DEVELOPER(S): Intelligent Systems

PUBLISHER(S): Nintendo

PLATFORM(S): Nintendo 3DS

GENRE(S): Puzzles, Strategy

RELEASE DATE(S): May 14, 2015

Stretchmo offers players another chance to solve deviously tricky puzzles in a deceptively cute ‘n’ colorful world. This time around, the game is free to start, but the free gameplay up for grabs is so slim, you’d be hard pressed to call it even a demo. There are 7 puzzles to play initially; the first 6 teach the game’s most basic of basics, while the 7th is a simple “bonus” stage shaped like whale to whet your appetite for more.

Though brief, these free-to-play puzzles do their two jobs well, teaching you the controls and giving you a pretty good idea of what’s in store in the pay-to-play packs (more on those later). In Stretchmo, the object is to push, pull, slide and stretch blocky structures to reach a goal. It boils down to creating a staircase of sorts, but the dozens of “stretchmo” in the game show an incredible amount of variety and, later on, difficulty.

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Fans who played only Pushmo for 3DS or Pushmo World for Wii U will find that some of the rules and controls in Stretchmo have changed. The stretching mechanic and 3-D puzzles necessitate the changes, while also adding new layers of depth to the gameplay. They aren’t always welcome additions, though, as they add a certain amount of tediousness to the puzzle-solving. Also, I was surprised to discover that camera control on those aforementioned 3-D puzzles is confined only to the L and R buttons. Since the New Nintendo 3DS XL is now available and in players’ hands, leaving out the C-stick option for camera control seems like a huge oversight.

Beyond the 7 free-to-play puzzles, Stretchmo offers 4 “attractions” you can pay for. The first is also the largest: Mallo’s Playtime Plaza, which contains 100 puzzles for $4.99. The next 3 provide an additional 50 puzzles each, for $2.99 each: Poppy’s Sculpture Square, Corin’s Fortress of Fun, and Papa Blox’s NES Expo. All 4 can be bundled for $9.99.

Mallo’s Playtime Plaza

This is where players who enjoyed Pushmo will feel the most at home, especially in terms of the story. Mallo needs to solve stretchmo puzzles to save the adorable little children who got stuck on them (thanks, rogue robot thing). The puzzles here are generally easier than those in the other attractions, but challenge-seekers will find a fair amount of difficult puzzles to keep them busy later on. Casual puzzle-solvers may just want to stick with this attraction; it’s a great deal by itself at just $4.99.

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Poppy’s Sculpture Square

The puzzles here only differ in their intricate shapes, subtle visual details, and slightly higher difficulty level. Also, prizes are offered in this attraction and the next two for completing sets of 10 puzzles.

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Corin’s Fortress of Fun

This attraction adds enemies and obstacles to the mix. If you only get one attraction after Mallo’s Playtime Plaza, let it be this one, as enemies don’t just put a different spin on puzzle-solving: they also put an emphasis on the platforming side of Stretchmo.

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Papa Blox’s NES Expo

As the name implies, puzzles here are shaped like iconic NES characters and objects. This attraction also contains the most difficult puzzles of all 4 packs. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re interested in the bundle deal.

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The prizes I mentioned above are simply sticker sets you can use in Stretchmo Studio. Creating your own stretchmo puzzles is simple enough, but uncreative folks such as myself won’t get much satisfaction from it. And, unfortunately, importing other players’ stretchmo isn’t the most streamlined process. Instead of being able to browse through community levels in the game, you have to scan QR codes from an outside source. I don’t think many people are going to take the trouble of using their computer screen or Wii U GamePad to scan stretchmo codes into their 3DS game.

In terms of presentation, Stretchmo is as charming and cutsie as you remember its predecessors to be. One thing the series is known for is using stereoscopic 3-D graphics to great effect, and Stretchmo is no different; the 3-D effect is awesome and legitimately aids the gameplay if you can stand to leave it on. Stretchmo also has a nice variety of music tracks and sound effects that suit the game perfectly.

The Recomendation

Beyond the miniscule amount of free-to-play puzzles, Stretchmo offers two or three good options for puzzle fans on a budget. The 100 puzzles in Mallo’s Playtime Plaza represent the best budget-conscious option at $4.99, but those who end up enjoying the puzzle-platforming formula have some viable options as well, the best being the complete package at $9.99. Whether players enjoy the gameplay in the first place, however, is more debatable. Some additions to the acclaimed gameplay introduced in Pushmo may not sit well with everyone, and the poor execution of community sharing doesn’t help either.

Summary

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Author: Holly Fellmeth View all posts by
Site Manager/Editor - Holly's favorite hobby is playing new or different games. She believes there is no other medium that can offer such weird and wacky things as the gaming industry can. Her Nintendo Network ID is Aeroweth.