Push-Over FI

SNES A Day 142: Push-Over


Approximate Release Date: December 31, 1992
Genre: Puzzle
Developer: Red Rat Software
Publisher: Ocean Software

The puzzles in Push-Over are simple in concept yet pretty novel.

Remember dominoes? The blocks you can line up and knock down for minutes of fun? Push-Over can be boiled down to that. The goal is to knock down every block with one push. There are special blocks like the stopper, which can’t be knocked down, and the tumbler, which keeps going after being knocked down until hitting a stopper or falling off the level. You need to arrange the normal and special blocks in the correct order to open the door to the next level.

The challenge escalates well. New blocks are introduced gradually and in such a way that you have to understand exactly what the new element’s nuances are to pass the level. Push-Over‘s greatest strength is that it doesn’t feel overwhelming in a way that similar stage-based puzzle games like Lemmings do. No early puzzle should take more than one or two tries to successfully complete.

There’s a time limit, though, and it is very restrictive. Solving puzzles in the 30 or so seconds isn’t enough; you also have to get through the door that opens once every block has fallen. Once the time ticks down to zero, you can still finish the puzzle but it won’t unlock the next level. And given that Push-Over‘s controls are a little imprecise, it can be frustrating to arrange the blocks when rushing to beat the clock.

There are also many different special blocks and Push-Over doesn’t do a very good job visually differentiating them. Every block is yellow, red, or yellow with red stripes. Does a block having two horizontal stripes mean it is a bridger, a vanisher, or a tumbler? It can be easy to mix up the ten different blocks, especially with the tough time limit.

That time limit is the only thing I really dislike about the game. I don’t know how many puzzles are in Push-Over, and I could see it overstaying its welcome, but it’s enjoyable enough to be worth checking out.

Tomorrow: Can WarpSpeed finally be a space sim worth playing on the Super Nintendo?

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