I want to call it the latest entry in the Mo series, but that seems ludicrous. Stretchmo is the third title in the increasingly oddly named mo series, after Pushmo and Crashmo. It’s true, but sounds weird. I could refer to the European names Fallblox, Pullblox and Fullblox, but those are worse. The blox series? Bleh. At least the North American names are a bit more descriptive, but then the only good one is the most recent, Stretchmo.
As you might think with that terrible introduction, Stretchmo is a sort-of sequel to the previous Pushmo and Crashmo games on the 3DS. This name is the most accurate, because although you did push blocks in the first game, you did more pulling. And I suppose blocks did indeed crash a bit in the second, but there really wasn’t the drama that crash would indicated when they slowly fell to the ground. This time though, the core new addition to the game play is just that, stretching.
The familiar game play is back, and if you were a fan of controlling a tiny man who waddles around only jumping a single block in height who controls blocks of odd shapes, you’ll fit right in here! Pushmo simply let you push and pull blocks to make them bigger in the third dimension, they stayed where they were. Crashmo let you move them around the play surface instead. Stretchmo throws out most of what Crashmo did, and moves back to a more 2-D map style. But instead of having to manipulate the entire block at once, you can ‘stretch’ individual parts of the blocks around. It sounds like a small addition, but in the tradition of excellent puzzle games, that little change makes a huge difference.
If you’re like me and loved the previous games, you’ll spend a decent amount of time trying to remember what you can and can’t do, and testing what the new game lets you do. Thankfully though, that initial 20 minutes or so is completely free. Nintendo calls it ‘free to start’, and that’s a pretty accurate description of it. You go through 7 levels that introduce you quickly and easily to what is going on in Stretchmo. Then if you like it, why not pick up some levels? Just talk to our friendly little guy over here who’ll sell you one of four different packs of levels for $3-$5. Or…. you could buy the whole game together for an amaaaaazing discount! Which makes the game about $10 total. It feels like a little much for the simplicity of the game, but 250 levels where they add in things such as enemies and ‘gadgets’ like the ladders from previous games will take you quite awhile to get through. You can also get practically unlimited use out of community created levels you access by scanning QR codes, or of course you can create your own.
The level packs increase in difficulty, with the most difficult one being the ‘NES Expo’ which is made up of levels that look like old Nintendo game sprites. As interesting as that is, the enemies and gadgets in previous packs provide a much better variety to the game play, as anyone who has played previous mo/blox games is probably sick to death of NES sprites. In true Nintendo fashion however, (SPOILER) when you complete all 4 of the packs, you unlock a much more difficult fifth pack referred to as the Perilous Peak. (/SPOILER)
Did that need a spoiler tag? Probably not. Anyway, it’s, well, it’s more mo. A whole bunch more mo. It’s mo that manages to switch up the formula in very satisfying ways, and is worth the purchase of the whole package if you’re into cute, easy to pick up and put down puzzle games. I guess you could say it’s ‘mo mo?