PsychotronicPushPush, by Ian Snyder (Valo, Captain Dan vs Zombie Plan), is a retro-looking new platform game with a twist. Actually, not just a twist, but a full-fledged indian burn. Oh, the controls are simple enough — use the [arrow] keys or [WASD] to run and jump on platforms, hold the jump key to stick to ceilings with your flat sticky head, click on the screen with your mouse cursor to warp the very molecules of space around a powerful force anomaly. But the twist is that you can... oh wait, that was it. The physics-warping anomaly thing IS the twist. And it changes everything.

Your goal on each level is to get your heroic cubey-leggy-thing to the sun. Like practically every pre-16-bit platform game, the levels in Push are made of tiles, locked at first into the traditional grid where tiles live out their blocky lives. When you hold the mouse button, though, a circle expands from the cursor, forcing the tiles to the perimeter and thus creating new gaps and platforms. Everything can be subverted and bullied — blocks, hazards, even the sunny goal that ends the level. Only brick tiles are immune, and many levels use those immutable bricks as a welcome source of structure and sanity, so you can't just splatter the landscape all over tarnation like a whimsical demigod.

Another nod to sanity is the fact that tiles will creep back home after they leave your (literal) sphere of influence. The chaos is limited to a small area, where your keyboard hand and mouse hand work in tandem to succeed. I can even imagine playing this with two players, one on movement and the other on Reality Shred. Just be prepared to die a lot.

Analysis: Actually, be prepared to die anyway. The controls in this game are super-touchy, and because the collision detection is trying to cope with the constant pressure of strange events, it can feel glitchy at times. Make friends with the little comic-book-bubble Squish that appears when homecoming tiles trap your hero, because you'll be seeing a lot of it. And learn to enjoy falling into the void.

So, the concept for this is flat-out brilliant, and the presentation comes right from the center of the current indie games ideal. Large-pixelled charm and subtle emotional tones, with a killer soundtrack if you're into melancholy electronic whooping (which I am). The biggest problem is in the level design. Like all the games at BonusLevel, Push rests on a foundation of user-created levels, and that means even the offical levelset is repetitive and often too hard. The gradual introduction of challenges that would come with a tuned Story or Adventure Mode is a gaping hole in the center of this game about gaping holes.

I would love to see the level progression match up with the game design, but Push is exciting and inventive enough that everybody should at least peek at it. The first time you click the mouse, it will expand your mind.

Play Push

You can also Play Push at the Casual Collective who sponsored the game.You can play a whole different set of user-created levels there!

16 Comments

4/5! Fun little game, I played 45 levels and started getting frustrated and bored. I loved the concept though.

Need help on Level 32. The one with the red ground, and the goal under it. The only thing I can seem to do is push the goal up, but the push threshold doesn't reach far enough. >.>

Wow, such a quick turnaround time to a feature!

I feel that I should mention this game can also be played at Casual Collective as they sponsored the game (BIG thank you!).

This game would be cool on WiiWare!
One player points with the Wiimote to control the mouse part (repulsion field), and another player uses the Wiimote as an old NES controller to move the character. And keep the retro graphics!

My brother and I just spent an appalling number of hours screaming our way through every single level of this game, pulling our hair out in frustration and repeatedly swearing that we would like to strangle that little square-headed man. When I finally saw that little box pop up, starting with the word "congratulations", I breathed a sigh of relief, wiped the sweat from my face and gave both of my hands a well-deserved break. In short, I loved this game!

Some tips for those having difficulties:

1: Take a break. Chances are, you probably need one. And maybe some food.

2. Some levels are MUCH easier with two people. If you can, seek out a buddy and see if it helps with the level you are stuck on.

3. I found a little trick that makes several difficult levels much easier. See below:

By lining up the mouse perfectly on a horizontal/vertical axis with the "sun" and pushing in a perfect horizontal/vertical line, you can push the sun much farther than you normally could at any other angle because the sun will not rotate around your bubble at all. Push too far though, and the sun will sink straight through your bubble. This tactic allows you to bypass a lot of difficult sections if you just try and see how far you can push the sun from its starting position.

Sheer_Cold, have you found the solution to that level? 'Cause I'm stuck there too. ):

Very fun! I'd like to see more games like this.

Alright, this game is very fun, but the character movement is enraging. The problem is the mechanic that increases the speed of your character, it gets exponentially faster much too quickly. With a small push to the right, your character will make a baby step to the right, useless in all but the slightest steps, but if you, in a moment of delusion, decide you should hold the button down, you'll watch helplessly as your little character careens to the side.

Anyway, I have a problem of writing too much about too little so I'll just conclude that I enjoyed the game.

Anestoh: agreed!

bw, the first level was a lot harder when I didn't know about the mouse trick--but I did it anyways! Woo for head-jumping

Ability to skip annoying levels = good!!

I love this in a game.

I wish Nitrome would let you play just that one level further than what you'd achieved. But I still love their games.

Sorry for double post,

but it's nice to have a game where having a track pad is an advantage for once!

I end up doing the arrows with my right hand and the mouse with my left (I'm right handed)

To beat level 32

you need to run off the left or right edge of the screen and then pull back in so you land on the green island.

Now if only I could beat 34, "Long Jump."

I just found a trick with the force field:

If you left-click to expand the force field, and then right-click, then switch to a different tab and come back, you don't have to hold the mouse button anymore. It's a bit easier on the hand.

Well, the game is just okay. It's not a bad idea, but the game itself just drives me crazy. I feel like a lot of things could be improved, which most of those things have already been mentioned.

I don't know. I just really don't like it that much.

Sticking to the ceilings is "not a bug, it's a feature!"

Problem is, he didn't design it as such. It still feels very much like a bug instead of evolving it to make ceiling control consistent with the rest of the game (notice when stuck, you can't move left and right with the blocks, just up and down. But when on top of them, you do move left and right), or even do something to show that this power exists other than a few levels requiring it (some spikes on the head and a particle effect or an animation would have sufficed).

It can also be used to break levels fairly easily.

Nonetheless, it's kinda addicting, but plagued with problems.

I like this but like much other bonuslevel games i came to a point where i cant beat the level
that is very frustrating

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