Crush was a bit of an odd game. Released in 2007 for the PSP back when that system still seemed to be getting some publisher support, it wasn’t the normal console ports or franchise tie-ins that the system was becoming known for. It was a wholly original puzzle game with a unique mechanic made by a developer (Zoe Mode) known for SingStar. It was a bit of an odd duck, and not one that I was aware of when it released. I picked it up in the bargain bin not too long after launch, and it became one of my favourite PSP games. So, what’s this 3D business?
Simply, Crush had found it’s home. In a game that is all about changing levels from 2D to 3D, there is no better home than the 3DS. That mechanic, called ‘crushing’, is what the game is all about. You are Danny, a teenager trapped in his own subconscious thanks to his scientist friend. You are also wearing a a housecoat, but that’s not terribly important. It’s a lighter take on the original Crush, which was much darker in plot and in art design.
One of my majour complaints about the original was the dreary, rain-soaked colour palette of the levels. I understand that an insomniac exploring his root psychological issues may not be a happy thing, but I found it made the levels more difficult to navigate. Thankfully that issue has been solved, and a lighter, brighter and happier world await you. As do the occasional cockroach infestation, but don’t worry about that.
Other than that, the actual levels themselves haven’t changed much, though some have been added. They’re all about ‘crushing’ to find all of your marbles and make it out. Yes, you’re finding your marbles, as you’ve lost them. It is that subtle. What makes it difficult is that Danny is just like you or me. He can’t jump very high, and if he falls too far, he dies. This means you have to be creative, and use the 5 camera angles to your benefit. If you’re on a platform, but far in the distance you can see another one that would line up to yours, simply use the d-pad to move to that camera angle, hit the L button and BAM! You can just walk right over. Crush again and you’re now on the other side of the map, on that platform that seemed so far away. Perhaps you’re standing on a platform that has a 20-foot high wall with a nasty, tasty marble on the top of it. Use the d-pad to change the camera so you’re looking at the top of your head, hit the L button and BAM! Now you can walk right over to the marble, crush again and you’re sitting pretty on the top of the wall.
I’m sure you can see how this could get very difficult very quickly, but that’s one of Crush3D‘s greatest strengths, its learning curve. Not content to build levels with the same elements, different platform types, movable containers, enemies, switches and timers are added to mix things up. Unlike the wonderful Pushmo, this is a game where I had to stop playing and manipulate the level in my mind before I made a move. I could have just crushed and hoped for the best, but I found it much more satisfying to be able to complete the level without much trial and error. Thankfully it had been long enough for me to forget the solutions to most of the puzzles, and I didn’t go for all of the marbles on my first play through, as you’re allowed to finish a level without all of them or the various collectables scattered about. This was also aided by the very generous hint system, which I forced myself not to use. In a neat addition, if you want more than just a hint for your next move, you can actually spend a marble to get a more walkthroughish look at what to do next. A very clever way to encourage you not to use it unless you really need it.
Another fun addition is the StreetPass functionality, which lets you hide gifts in levels, and then when you pass someone who also has the game, that gift will show up in their level. It’s a great little challenge, saying ‘Hey, look where I got! Bet you can’t figure it out.’ 1 play coin (Those that you earn by using the pedometer in the 3DS) will earn you 10 gifts to give away, so make sure you’re walking around a little bit so you can show off.
Now when it comes down to the final word on Crush3D, I’m a little torn. I knocked a point off Cave Story 3D because I didn’t feel that it added enough value to justify you paying $40 over the $10 version you could get from the eShop. However to play Crush you would need a PSP and to be able to find a copy, which is very different. But if you already have those I couldn’t justify spending another $40 on Crush3D. It’s better on the 3DS, but I don’t think it’s I-just-bought-Crush3D-over-MarioKart 7 level of better. For everyone else, or people like me who no longer have it and have forgotten almost all of the original, Crush3D is a great game to buy.
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