Best artist friend of Hookshot, Gary J. Lucken and best designer friend of Hookshot, Fritz Solares have an excellent new puzzle game out for PC and Mac. Even if they weren’t our best friends we’d still be urging you to play it hard because it’s quietly spectacular.
Pushcat is an elegant mash-up of Bejeweled style match-3 games and the dig-and-push aspect of Boulder Dash, the 1984 classic for Atari/ Spectrum/ C64 and probably a bunch of other arrangements of chip and plastic.
You probably reckon you’ve had your fill of match-3 games what with Zookeeper and Puzzle Quest and 10000000 and all the other colour block games that have assaulted us in recent years. But where Pushcat creates something greater than the sum of its parts is in its taut, structured puzzle design.
In contrast to those other examples this isn’t a game in which you play till you fail. Each stage, while randomly-generated, has been meticulously arranged with an ideal solution for you to dig up and a clear and set goal for completion.
Matching like-coloured gems creates deposits of silver. Collect enough silver and the exit appears. But gems are subject to gravity and while Pushcat is as able a digger as any Minecrafter, it’s entirely possible to mess up the level by your own over-eager claw. Match-3 games rarely come so thoughtful and Lucken’s pixel-art fizzes with personality and 16-bit charm.
Download the demo here, or jump in and grab the full game for £5 / €6 / $8 from the same link.