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Stretchmo is Nintendo's newest free-to-play experiment for 3DS

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Nintendo released a new game in the Pushmo series today, Stretchmo for Nintendo 3DS. The follow-up to Pushmo, Crashmo and Pushmo World, Stretchmo is being sold in the 3DS eShop with a different pricing model. It's free to try, and players can purchase additional puzzles for a fee.

Developed by Intelligent Systems, Stretchmo adds a new spin to the Pushmo puzzle series by adding a new mechanic; as Mallo, players push and pull blocks, and can now stretch certain blocks to extend each side, as they try to reach the goal flag.

The first few levels of Stretchmo are free to play, and these early levels serve as a brief tutorial for the rest of the game. The other puzzles are sold piecemeal or in bundles. After completing the tutorial levels, players have the option to purchase the following level packs:

  • Mallo's Playtime Plaza ($4.99): 100 progressively challenging levels that introduce the basics of the game.
  • Poppy's Sculpture Square ($2.99): 50 puzzle levels shaped like animals and objects.
  • Corin's Fortress of Fun ($2.99): 50 levels featuring new gizmo obstacles and enemies.
  • Papa Blox's NES Expo ($2.99): A treat for retro fans that features 50 levels based on classic NES characters.

All four of those add-on packs can be purchased for $9.99, and other bundle options are available if players have purchased one of the level packs. Purchasing any of the add-on packs will give Stretchmo players the option to share and play custom levels.

Nintendo has experimented with free-to-play style models over the past couple years on 3DS. Games like Rusty's Real Deal Baseball and Steel Diver: Sub Wars let players play some of the game for free, then purchase additional content for a fee. Rusty's Real Deal Baseball even let players haggle for lower prices in its in-game shop. A more traditional free-to-play game, Pokémon Shuffle, was released for 3DS earlier this year. It uses an energy mechanic, allowing players to purchase consumable items to play for longer and provide in-game boosts.

Stretchmo — which is known as Fullblox in Europe — is available for download now.