Fallblox (3DS eShop) Review

Review for Fallblox on 3DS eShop - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

It's quite a good feeling as a Nintendo gamer to see that the 3DS, which had a slow start pretty much everywhere in the world, is now doing quite fine, managing to hold its head high against its biggest competitors that at time of writing are undoubtedly smartphones and tablets. The eShop has now played host to a wealth of excellent titles, which even more surprisingly manage to sell very well! Coming off the back of the DSiWare that was, it has to be admitted, quite a mess... This all seems very promising for Nintendo indeed. 2011 saw the release of one little puzzle game that, while it didn't seem like much at first sight, turned out to be a massive hit with players, selling well on the eShop and being surprisingly addictive. That title was Pullblox, or Pushmo for North American readers. A year later, a sequel has already been released in the form of Fallblox, also known as Crashmo, and that's the game Cubed3 will be focusing on for the rest of this review.

Mallo, the hero of Pullblox is back again and this time he visits Fallblox park, where the creator of the puzzles from the first game has started creating a new kind of puzzles. Upon his arrival, Poppy, the creator's niece, arrives in one of the most peculiar flying means of transportation...a basket like that of a hot air balloon pulled by dozens of coloured birds, holding the basket by a sort of giant perch attached to it. Mallo, intimidated at first by the cuteness of the newcomer, doesn't dare to say hello. At the old man's invitation, he struts his stuff by doing his sumo pose, shaking the ground like an earthquake, which scares all of the birds away. It's up to Mallo to make up for his mischief now, by finding every single bird in the park, all of them conveniently sitting atop one of the new puzzles the old man created, giving him a good reason to solve them all.

Those new puzzles, the Fallbloxes, involve big blocks of different shapes, colour and size. Mallo can push and pull the blocks, like he did in Pullblox, however, those sitting on top of others may fall from their initial position as a result.

Screenshot for Fallblox on 3DS eShop - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The goal is to create a path that Mallo can use to climb to the spot where the bird is quietly waiting to be picked up (no matter how much that block is shaken, which doesn't make sense with the prologue of the game, but that's video game logic at its best!).

These blocks can also have some special properties, like, for instance, an arrow-shaped switch on them that will make them move in the direction indicated by the arrow, all while the character is standing on it...or other blocks can have a cloud mark on them, indicating that these blocks will never fall from their height in the air, but can, however, be pushed around using the other big blocks around it.

More novelties make their entrance in this game and all of the special mechanisms, except certain kinds of switches from the first game, make a comeback, including wells of ladders and teleportation doors. The most obvious and visible change in the formula comes from the fact that the blocks can be moved in any direction this time, and the camera can be rotated around the scene to get a better understanding of the position of every block.

Screenshot for Fallblox on 3DS eShop - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Actually, the 3D effect allowed by the 3DS makes even more sense here than it did in the first game, so it is an even better fit for the auto-stereoscopic screen of the system this time around. However, this makes for an overall more complex affair than Pullblox was. It is indeed more complicated to overcome a particularly trickier puzzle, since the range of possibilities is much broader now, with the third dimension added into the equation... As well, gravity irresistibly attracts blocks towards the ground, more often than not forcing players to start the whole puzzle again from the beginning. Sure, the rewind function of the first game that allows for some of the latest actions to be redone is still there, but the difficulty is a bit more unforgiving this time around to the point of having to restart the whole puzzle from the beginning more often than was the case in Pullblox. Thankfully, most puzzles were made shorter to solve this time around to avoid too much of the frustration that would otherwise arise from the repetitive nature that would ensue. However, Fallblox is still a slightly harder game on the whole.

Screenshot for Fallblox on 3DS eShop - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The game even takes players by the hand a bit further than the first time to make up for the added depth and complexity. Puzzles can be skipped directly now, whereas in the past players had to be stuck for a while on one puzzle in order to be allowed to skip it and try the next one.

Just like last time, users can also share their creations online through QR codes. What is even better now, though, is that a PC is not required to get those QR codes holding puzzles created by fellow gamers! Indeed, browsing the Internet with the 3DS is possible, saving QR codes on an SD card directly from the web browser, and scanning them from the image files on the SD card to add them to the collection of puzzles within the game; a much welcomed addition to say the least. However, it seems like there still isn't any way to "upload" your own puzzles directly from the handheld, which is unfortunate. It is hoped that - if Nintendo is to make another sequel - they will solve this issue by creating a dedicated platform accessible directly from within the game, for sharing brain teasing creations.

Screenshot for Fallblox on 3DS eShop- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

About this score
Rated 9 out of 10

The inventiveness of its predecessor is still as much present in Fallblox. The added third dimension make it perhaps a bit harder to approach, so it is recommended that those who are considering both games give Pullblox a try first, since the game controls very much the same so having a grip on the gameplay to begin with ensures an easier dive into those more complex puzzles. Indeed, the learning curve this time around turns out steeper than expected, not only because of the increased three dimensional aspect and the impact of gravity on how puzzles are solved, but also because of all the new additions. This makes it a bit harder... but also spruces up the formula a little bit to allow for far more possibilities of brain teasing puzzles both in-game and in terms of user-generated content, which is absolutely welcomed. The possibility of downloading user-created Fallbloxes in the form of images directly to the SD card of the 3DS via its web browser and reading them from inside the game is also a huge improvement, since it alleviates the need of any additional device, like a PC or tablet or whatever... Fallblox is yet another awesome inclusion on the Nintendo eShop, and right up there next to Pullblox for the title of best puzzle game on the service. It manages to further refine a lot of what was already made with its predecessor, and any fan of the genre should give it a try. However, it cannot be stressed enough that one should play Pullblox as well.

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Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

I can't recommend this game enough. It's the best puzzle game since Picross, in my humble opinion.

I bought Pushmo and loved it. This game was on my list to get once I finished Pushmo, but it went on sale last week so I bought it. Haven't even tried it yet!

I'm not sure why I'm waiting to finish Pushmo first. As far as I know there's no reason to finish one before the other, so why not mix it up and play simultaneously. I'll do that this weekend (unless someone tells me otherwise).

Well no, you don't need to finish the first one at all to get into Fallblox. I mean, i recommend to those who are interested to try Pullblox first, but sounds like you're almost there, so why not give it a go?

Ah sorry, should have said, Pushmo and Crashmo Smilie.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

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