|Platform Win, Mac, Linux, PS4|
|Developer House House|
Push Me Pull You is beholden to the strengths — and weaknesses — of all local multiplayer games.
Developer House House defines Push Me Pull You as a game about friendship and wrestling. The two- to four-person game sees players facing off in sports challenges as a double-brained worm of a person. It requires strategy, but one that shifts with your partner; patience, but also a competitive sense of urgency.
Push Me Pull You is built off a single, standard mode. Players direct their squirming Chinese finger trap of a human — either solo, or with a friend who's playing on their own controller or a shared one — to push and pull balls around a circular court. Along with total malleability, you have the ability to grow and shrink your body rapidly with a shoulder button tap.
Each of the game's other modes, appropriately called variants, are a twist on this formula. In Greedy, three balls come into play instead of just one. Halfcourt requires you to first drag the ball to the circle's edge before yanking it back to the center to score. Knockout sees you trying to bump your opponents' ball out while keeping your own safe, and Sleepy Time is built for two; players lose control of one head, effectively becoming more of a snake than a lively rope.
Sinking into Push Me Pull You's play style is easy
There's a lot to love about Push Me Pull You. The game's aesthetic is striking, both for being cutesy and colorful, and utterly disgusting. Characters are reminiscent of a human centipede, wriggling and fighting for every inch of space when a game is in play. Growing your doughy body is essential to mastering Push Me Pull You; it's also nightmare fuel on a Silent Hill scale as your respective head twitches and mushrooms into a longer form, slurpy sound effects and all. It's gross in a playful way, like splashing around in mud. The game's borderline body horror aspect is made light by the ability to customize each of your heads — swap their skin tone, team color or hair to give them a more personal look.
Sinking into Push Me Pull You's play style is easy, and that's what makes it so appealing. Mastering shoulder button swaps to grow and shrink is a low barrier to entry. And co-workers were able to pick up the gist of it with no practice — and no struggle. That's because Push Me Pull You is the kind of game that's quick to learn but takes repeated play to master. It's important to make yourself compact at just the right moment in order to get proper control of the ball, or to steal it away from your opponent.
Sometimes that can be frustrating when you're playing one-on-one: Two heads might be better than one, but that doesn't make them easy for one head to control. One half of the controller is mapped to one half of the conjoined snake people, and things can get hectic as you try to pay attention to both sides of your character's body.
The control confusion can become a problem in the the different variants, each of which piles on additional objectives. But nailing down the the basic gameplay through repeated play can lead to success in the other modes, too. That's because even with the slight tweaks, Push Me Pull You never changes much from its uncomplicated (if weird) pitch. The game's best quality is that it's an accessible multiplayer experience, first and foremost. Becoming great at it goes hand-in-hand with having other people in the room cheering you on or playing against you; they're the ones lighting a fire under your butt, not diverse, challenging gameplay.
The control confusion can become a problem in the the different variants
Push Me Pull You offers simple fun for everyone
Local multiplayer games are always welcome, and Push Me Pull You is one of the most fast-paced, unique and entertaining additions to the genre in recent memory. It's a game destined to become a memorable party hit, leaving you with a big, dumb smile on your face. At its best, it's a table-setter for fun; a laugh-out-loud, yelling-at-the-top-of-your-lungs-over-every-victory-and-defeat kind of experience — with the right group of people. Push Me Pull You makes that an easy goal to obtain.
Push Me Pull You was reviewed using a PS4 download code provided by House House. You can find additional information about Polygon's ethics policy here.About Polygon's Reviews