If you’re a 3DS owner, you probably have this game. If you don’t, you’re missing out on one of the most simple yet fun experiences to come in a long time. If you’re not a 3DS owner, then BE JEALOUS.
Pushmo is a rather simple puzzle game. But with its simplicity comes a cute, yet rather clever soundtrack.
In this game, you basically push around giant 8-bit figures, moving the pixels about so that you can get to the top. It is deceptively simple, but really opens up once you get to use gadgets and get to the more complicated levels. As such, the game features a lot of 8-bit music to help accentuate the cuteness and the core aspect of the game.
It would have been easy to just feature a purely 8-bit soundtrack, but the composers used some rather brilliant touches of creativity with the music. There are tracks that are purely 8-bit in nature, but other tracks use some gentle brushes of orchestral instruments to help both intensify the cuteness and, at the same time, help smooth the brightness of the 8-bit synths. For instance:
You hear this track when you have to listen to your teacher teach you about the ways of the Pushmo. The tutorials really aren’t anything special to run home to, but the music is. You hear an arpeggiated run by the bassoon and oboe before leading up to the 8-bit melody. Afterwards, it’s mainly 8-bit for a little bit, though touches of triangle and wood blocks help make you feel that time’s passing by slowly and leisurely. Can I also say that the chordal progression is brilliant?
Woodwinds and some gentle brass help accenting the climax of the melody, which are a great choice for the 8-bit synths. With such a sharp attack, woodwinds and brass are best suited to match the 8-bit sounds. Percussion also help in keeping that sharp sound consistent.
Here, we have the inverse of what happened in the previous track. The woodwinds take center stage with this song, while the 8-bit sounds take the role of providing percussion accompaniment and ‘counterpoint’, if you will. Eventually, they again switch roles with who plays the main melody and who provides the accompaniment. Things are kept rather simple – if 8-bits are doing melody, then synths do accompanying, and vice versa. But the way in which these two instrument groups move back and forth from the roles is really cute and effective, for the type of atmosphere they were trying to convey.
This game is all about simplicity, and how sometimes it can be the hardest thing to achieve. The levels in these games might be made out of blocks, but the way you traverse the blocks and the way you solve the problems in front of you are sometimes rather ingenious. The same thing can be said about the music – it might sound simple and cute, but there’s a lot of surprising depth to be found. Give the game a go! It’s really fun, and you’re bound to get the music stuck in your head after a while.