Push Me Pull You PS4 Review
Publisher: House House Developer: House House Genre: Sports Players: 1-4
Age Rating: 3+ Other console/handheld formats: N/A
As cute and quirky as Push Me Pull You is, I would say there’s not a lot to keep you coming back to play this game about conjoined worm-people and at £11.49 on the PlayStation Store, admittedly it is a tad over-priced; our recently reviewed Coffin Dodgers didn’t offer much in the way of content, though at least it was reasonably priced.
The premise of the game is to wrap yourself around a ball any way you can and try to keep it in your area of the playing court to gain points. To do this, you control a strange worm with a human head and hands at either end, stretching and shrinking its body and wriggling all over the place in order to get a hold of and keep the ball; the characters have no other skills other than stretching and shrinking their bodies, and this needs to be used strategically in order to win. You use both of the analogue sticks in order to move each end of the character, controlling the direction they crawl in and pushing your opponent in order to grab hold of the ball. The control scheme is difficult to get used to at first; it is one of those games where the controls will be easy to learn by some, but others will have a harder time adjusting as you try to gauge your brain to control the character. It’s a game that sounds simple, but is actually more challenging than you think. There is a warm up round before you actually take on the main game, allowing you to adjust to the controls and the way your character moves.
The appeal of Push Me Pull You is that it is a game where you very much play with friends; up to four people can join in the game and there are multiple ways the game can be controlled. If there are four players, each player takes control of an end of the human-worm hybrid by using a controller each, or, if short of controllers, sharing two controllers between them, a player using one of the analogue sticks to control one end of the character, with the other player controlling the other end with the second analogue stick. Two players using a controller each can control one entire worm and two players can even share one controller, with one end of the worm sleeping as two competing worms are assigned to each of the analogue sticks. As there can be two people using one controller, it certainly tests your skills as a team player as you try not to snatch the entire controller and take over, or try not to nudge the controller so that the other player messes up their part, or desperately try not to pull the controller towards you for better handling. If sharing, you are essentially playing with one hand and this also adds to the difficulty of the game; Push Me Pull You certainly has a unique way to play in that, with four players, you do have to work together as a team in order to achieve your goal, and sharing the controller is certainly a novelty, the title very much reflecting how you play. Plus, with its local multiplayer, it is yet another game that will also appeal to those who prefer playing offline with their friends.
The premise is basic, though the game does offer multiple modes. Knockout sees you trying to keep your ball in the court, whilst trying to kick out the other players. Greedy sees more balls on the court, with you needing to keep every one in your half of the court to earn a point. In Halfcourt, you take the ball out to the sides to gain possession, and then bring it back to the centre to score, and Sleepy Time is for two players only and sees you playing with only one half of your character while the other is having a snooze. The modes do try to be different but the gameplay is still pretty much the same and whilst some people may find it fun and challenging, others may come to find it repetitive and lacking in substance.
The graphics of the game are simple and contradict the challenge Push Me Pull You offers; the style is very much like that of a children’s book, which is apt as the titular characters featured are clearly based on the pushmi-pullyu character from the Doctor DoLittle books of the 1920’s-50’s, a gazelle-unicorn cross with heads at either end of its body. The soundtrack will have your toes tapping and head bobbing, but, surprisingly, there is no music as you play the game, instead listening to the squirms and squiggles of your character as they lengthen or shorten their bodies and the tapping of their hands as they move about. The characters themselves also have some simple customisations, including changing the hairstyle and both hair and skin colour, and you can also choose what your teams colour will be. The number of points needed to win can also be customised to your liking.
Push Me Pull You is certainly a challenging experience, but I did find it to be quite repetitive after a while; the different modes try to offer something different but the gameplay is always basically the same. I give praise to the game for challenging the traditional way a game is played as it certainly isn’t traditional in any sense of the word, though this is one that is definitely best played in short bursts and definitely with friends; there is no AI controlled characters so there is no chance you’ll be able to play this on your own, with the game very much designed with local multiplayer in mind. A great game for get-togethers with several friends or if you are in a competitive relationship, but unless there is more than two players, the appeal of the game could wear thin very quickly.