Posted 07 Feb 2012 at 20:47 by Derek Wheatley
Fans of Super Paper Mario may find themselves in familiar territory, as the practice is the same, but the aim couldn't be more different. Trapped in his own subconscious for reasons unknown, Danny must make his way through levels of floating platforms in four themed worlds, collecting your lost marbles along the way. Collect enough marbles and the exit will open, just like the NES classic Snake, Rattle n' Roll, but without the fattening up. The only way to collect these marbles and reaching the exit is by "crushing" the landscape into 2D form, turning Danny into a 2D sprite as well as manipulating the world to make progress easier.The relationship between the Doc and Marty from Back to the Future has been a respectful one. However the relationship between the Doc and Danny in Crush3d feels more sinister. Instead of simply travelling through time the Doc has made Danny his guinea pig to test his mind exploring machine called C.R.U.S.H. (Cognitive Regression Utilising pSychiatric Heuristics, clever use of avoiding making it say C.R.U.P.H) to win recognition. Crush3d (or to give it its full title A Puzzle Crush3d With Another Dimension) was originally released on the PSP in 2007, so this isn't a unique title in its own right.
What were once just lines in a wall in 3D are now platforms you can jump on to reach precious marbles, metal lines embedded in the floor now become impassable walls. Faraway objects are within walking distance. Crush back into 3D and you could find yourself a great distance from where you once were. The camera angle plays a huge part in the result of your crush, as routes will only be accessible when crushed from the right angle. Want to reach the exit but the platform is high above your head? Crush from above to flatten the world and simply walk across. The camera angle is completely controlled by the player, so several angles of viewing the world for crushing are available. This can push the brain to its limit by having to crush into 2D to walk one way, crushing back into 3D then rotating the camera to crush again to create another route.
This can border on annoying, especially if you're not sure where to go. A hint system is available should you get perplexed by the puzzle at hand. However this does ruin your perfect score and another chance to get another horrible-wallpaper design dressing gown. But to be honest you're really not going to care since it doesn't affect your performance in the slightest.
Trophies and "memories" can be collected along the way to view that oh-so-sought after artwork gamers really crave for. A more preferable bonus is the opportunity to replay a level within a certain time limit and a limited amount of crushes. The unlockable bonuses which take precedence are fancy new dressing gowns for Danny to wear, as appearances in your mind are everything. Arthur Dent, eat your heart out. You can even place a gift in a level which can be exchanged over StreetPass to unlock more exclusive dressing gowns.
To begin with it is all about going from A to B collecting marbles with minimal crushing effort; soon the difficulty curve is in place and it starts to get more challenging, with pushable objects such as cans and bowling balls, timed switches and crumbling blocks. Further levels introduce the urgency element as cockroaches and slugs created by Danny's subconscious fears are on the prowl.
Crush3d is an either love it or hate game, perfect for playing in short bursts of time and not something you could stand to play for an entire day. On the one hand you may find it a fun and addictive puzzler; and although the formula is repeated constantly you can find yourself falling prey to the "just one more level" syndrome. On the other hand you may find the repetitiveness of the game too much to keep playing.
N-Europe Final Verdict
A fun, yet average puzzler. Only those with persistence to test the grey matter need apply.
Decent 3D and 2D visuals
Very challenging in later levels
Hint system for assistance
Repetitive formula may put some off
Simple enemy design
97 dressing gowns, really?!