After appearing on the PlayStation Portable in 2007, Crush was given a rather good reception. It featured an interesting puzzle mechanic that revolved around the third dimension and some quirky characters. And that's exactly the reason we're seeing the game release again, except this time it's under the guise of Crush 3D and it's appearing on the Nintendo 3DS.
Following years of weird experiments by his mad doctor "friend", apparently Danny hasn't learnt his lesson. In Crush, you take control of him as he attempts to fight his way out of the latest one, a weird brain-maze which attempts to make you feel better. It was only supposed to be a test simulation, but as things usually go, it turned into something rather different.
The game then tackles you playing through Danny's brain, attempting to put things back into place. It's just a bit strange that Danny's brain is made up of rather convenient levels, but we'll allow the developers some creative freedom due to the cool concept that's featured throughout the game.
Crush, as you may have guessed, revolves around a gameplay mechanic called crushing. The game is presented in full 3D, but performing a crush brings everything into a 2D plane. So for example, if you make the camera appear above you, then perform a crush, you'll be able to walk across all of the similar-type platforms as if they were all on the same level. If you then un-crush, you'll be placed on whichever one you stood still on. It's a rather clever little mechanic and it's certainly challenging on the mind as the game progresses.
The game starts off in a rather simple manner, as you have to use the crush mechanic to cover large distances, or to get around annoyingly placed walls. However, as the game progresses, you'll find yourself using different switches and also killing some rather simple enemies.
Some of the levels also become rather large and even the most hardened puzzler will find that solving many of the puzzles comes down to a bit of experimentation. As much as you want to apply logic to the situation, things only make sense once they've happened "“ but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It's just that unless you want to plug through, it may not be a game for lengthy play sessions. Sometimes it's best to just go away and come back with a fresh... perspective.
If you do get stuck, you can always use the R button to take a look around. It allows you to get a much better look at the levels, without having to just rotate the camera through its various angles. You can also perform jumps, receive hints (at a cost) and also push various objects as you look to complete the game's 80 levels.
The introduction of the different wall types, which does come quite early on, also makes things quite challenging. If you try crushing while standing in the wrong place, you'll get crushed yourself, although doing so won't kill you. From this perspective, the game is quite kind. Aside from not receiving a perfect bonus, it never penalises you for dying "“ you will always retain exactly what you had when you hit your last checkpoint. Checkpoints are infinite as well, so you can flag them in a level as often as you can run through them.
The majority of the game's concepts are introduced in the first 20 levels or so, but after that, it's just a case of the challenges getting harder and harder "“ something that may not be for everyone. There's nothing wrong with a game being tricky though.
The game's graphics naturally suit the 3D visuals, although they aren't in any way necessary to experience the game to its fullest. Having said that, they are pretty basic and don't really utilise the capabilities of the Nintendo 3DS. The game also features some rather cutesy sound effects, but the sound design is pretty average on the whole.
Aside from the 80 levels, the game also features a decent amount of replay value. On quite a few of the different levels, it's possible to get an art book and a trophy. There's also the challenge of finishing each level with the maximum amount of pearls "“ something which isn't always as easy as it sounds. If you collect a trophy, you'll a more challenging version of that level. It'll task you to complete it with only a certain amount of crushes, while also collecting everything "“ not for the feint of heart.
Crush 3D is a fun little platformer, although it's not quite as innovative as it was when it first appeared on the PlayStation Portable. You'll find the puzzles challenging as the game progresses, but at some points, solving the puzzles may well revolve around trial and error, as opposed to any informed judgement. It's still a strong game, but things have moved on a bit and it's now lacking that extra bit of appeal to make it stand out.
|Crushing stuff is cool.|
|Story has some dry humour.|
|Puzzles can get a bit boring.|
|Graphics don't test the system.|
|The replay value hinges on whether you can tolerate the game being even harder.|