PUSH – An absorbing, minimalist combination puzzler that provides a satisfying challenge

Oct 21, 2017

PUSH is a streamlined combination puzzler by Rainbow Train that unfolds into an intriguing test of logic, spatial thinking, and memory.

The game’s elegant, clean aesthetic and atmospheric soundtrack evoke a sort of sci-fi aptitude test vibe. But it’s really a relaxing experience. It’s more like what you would imagine the scientists at Aperture Laboratories would have done during their break, rather than what they might have had to do for their job application.

To progress in PUSH, the player is required to press buttons in the correct combination, and a misstep means they must start the sequence again. Simple enough. But the obstacles the player faces in entering the combination become progressively more difficult to overcome. Early on, success requires only a little trial and error, simple logic, and basic memory. But as the game advances, the rules become more elaborate and further logistical problems are added to the mix. Like Monument Valley, for example, the player will need to think spatially; the next button in the sequence may be attached to a part of the shape not immediately visible, or it could be on another shape entirely. Shapes may need to be manipulated in different ways and many times to complete a sequence, requiring careful planning and a sharp memory. The advanced levels are tricky, but the game remains engaging and pleasurable.

PUSH has a stripped-back approach that’s evident right from the get-go: after booting the game for the first time, the player is dropped right in. No tutorial, no options. Hell, there’s not even a title screen. The game’s only menu is accessed through an appropriately minimal white dot in the top left corner. From there, solved puzzles can be replayed, and the sound options can be changed. That’s it. There’s not even a language option, because there’s no text. When the game begins, the player is left to their own devices to figure out the rules. This refusal to hold the player’s hand serves to make the game more intriguing and absorbing. Gameplay feedback occurs through simple sounds, musical changes, and quick flashes of colour on the screen. It’s all very intuitive.

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What might not appeal to some is the absence of scores, rewards, and high stakes. But PUSH wants to simplify things: your reward is earning the next level; starting the sequence again is punishment enough. And why worry about a score or a timer? The game encourages patient thought and allows the player to relax into the task. It’s a refreshing challenge-for-the-sake-of-it experience. The lack of long-term rewards does limit the game’s replay value somewhat, but there are plenty of intricate levels that will no doubt still prove taxing if revisited after a while.

The game’s elegant, clean aesthetic and atmospheric soundtrack evoke a sort of sci-fi aptitude test vibe

PUSH is a captivating game. Its slick, minimalist design is striking, and its beautiful, ambient soundtrack is immersive. The design eschews many traditional game mechanics to encourage patient experimentation. It keeps things simple, focusing on pure problem solving, and it trusts the player to work things out. PUSH is a fun, engrossing puzzler that provides a satisfying test.

Our Rating

Fun and challenging. Visually pleasing. Great soundtrack.Limited replay value.
The app was not found in the store. 🙁
Developer: Rainbow Train
Price: $0.99
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