There are a lot of games out there whose names offer you no help in determining what the gameplay is going to entail (I’m looking at you, Square Enix). In the case of Pushmasters, the whole premise of the game can be determined from the name: you are essentially pushing enemies the whole time.
Pushmasters starts off by letting you choose one of five different levels. Each level offers a unique environment to push enemies off of. From here, you choose one of four different characters to control. These range from a cat lady to a sumo wrestler. What sets them apart is their special move, which ends up being crucial to achieving your goals of knocking as many of the glob monsters as possible off of whatever structure you happen to be on.
The gameplay behind Pushmasters is fairly simple. The only real commands you have are pushing and using your special move. When you start out, the game is relatively fun, though it does end up being repetitive after a while. My main issue when I began playing was knowing where the edges of every map were. The only way you can die is by being pushed off of the map by enemies, and I found myself dying simply because it was difficult to determine where the boundaries were. It was also a little unclear what all of the power-ups did. It’s only through playing and dying a few times that you can fully grasp how the game works. Once you get the hang of it, you’re ready to fully face the waves of glob monsters that go your way. The globs that you defeat are marked at the top of your screen, and your objective is basically to knock as many off as possible.
Another issue that was apparent throughout the game was the AI. Some of the glob monsters would throw themselves off the edge of the map for no reason at different points. Though this kind of thing would help your score in the end, the idea of suicidal glob monsters can be pretty troubling (more broken than troubling, but still).
As an arcade game, Pushmasters’ gameplay is rather addicting. The catch is that you can only play the game so many times before you get tired of it and move on to something else. If you enjoy the thrill of climbing leaderboards and reaching high scores, then there are plenty of incentives to play. Otherwise, it can only really keep your attention for a little while, and you may even find yourself forgetting about it later. Unless you’ve got friends to play the offline co-op with, the novelty behind Pushmasters can be lost after a couple of play sessions.
Graphically, the art style behind Pushmasters is one of my favorite aspects of it. It’s cartoon-y and simple, which adds to the overall feel. It’s a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that in itself helps the fun factor. The level design was also creative, and offered a different environment in each map. The most interesting map had to be the Space Station, where teleporting to the underbelly of the ship would have you playing upside-down.
Overall, Pushmasters offers players a few hours of mindless, glob-monster-pushing fun. In spite of its minor issues, it’s a solid game, but I wouldn’t call it something spectacular. If you like the idea of pushing waves upon waves of globs over the edges of structures, then Pushmasters is the game for you.
[+Addictive arcade gameplay][+Quirky cast of characters][+Creative level design][-AI is less than perfect][-Can get repetitive quickly]