A puzzle game in 3D sounds promising, right? Well Crush 3D is just that and I have to say it is very addictive and hugely fun. Your a friend of a doctor who makes you a guinea pig in his new machine called Cognitive Regression Utilisation Psychiatric Heuristics, or C.R.U.S.H. for short. This machine allows you to explore your subconscious and deal with your issues. Well, not your issues but it’s still a very good game.
Dr. Doccerson is a specialist in psychiatric research and naturally has built a machine that lets subjects explore their dreams and fears. The C.R.U.S.H machine. In a twist to the story, the main character we play is a young boy called Danny and for some odd reason he is the Doc’s best friend and so he becomes the ideal candidate to test this machine. Whilst playing, it becomes apparent that Danny has a lot of issues so you need to find all your marbles (get it?) to complete each level and complete the four worlds in the game to be allowed to leave the machine.
The controls are pretty well chosen and easily accessible. The circle pad is used to control Danny. The A button is jump and you need this to cross the ledges. X allows you to push objects (more on this later), whilst the B button lets you crouch and get to hidden holes. Your most useful button is the L button, this is your crush button. Pressing this makes Danny shift the plane of existence he is in. If your looking from the top view then crushing will bring you down. If your facing the sides then you will bring the level into a new orientation. This game allows you to use the 3D option of the 3DS perfectly. You must have the slider all the way up to enjoy this game. The world around you must be played in 3D to visualise the possible tracks and levels to walk along.
Crush is presented in a comic/cel-shaded style and for me this works very well. The levels are bright and designed to perfection. Danny looks good and his character animations are dead on. The button presses are instant and the crushing aspect is done well. The story progresses in a kind of danger room where you communicate with the Dr. and he updates you on how your doing and what you need to progress.The gameplay is fascinating, that’s the best way I can describe it. There are four worlds to explore each one having different backgrounds, sounds and surprisingly they feel fresh. The core gameplay is still the same but the different worlds help keep this game addictive. You must first tackle the city then move on to the seaside, funfair and finish in the nursery. Its basically a list of places Danny needs to visit in his mind to tackle his issues, and from the levels we play, Danny has a lot of issues. There are over 50 levels so you won’t finish this quickly. Some may find the gameplay to be frustrating and repetitive but I found this game to be challenging but never frustrating.
The way to pass the levels is to move along the world collecting marbles. Each level has its own marble quota to meet before the exit portal opens. There are three kinds of marbles to collect, blue giving you 1 point, purple giving 3 and the big red marble worth a massive 10 points. Their positioning in the levels determines their worth. As if the crushing to get to different platforms and many obstacles weren’t enough, you also have enemies to fight. These are Danny’s fears and manifest themselves as slugs, cockroaches and block walkers. In a nice twist you don’t jump on their heads or shoot them to kill them. Instead you have to crush the level in such a way to push the blocks against them and squish them. Basically you have to think them to death.
Every time you finish a level you get a results page which shows the marbles collected out of the total possible and the awards you have collected which are either a trophy or a booklet. The more marbles you collect the more rewards you unlock, for example new dressing gowns. The trophy unlocks the trophy mode for each level and the booklet gives you new gallery artwork. Watch out as well, because the more hints you use the more marbles are taken away. Hints are given when you press the Y button, the first time you press it you get a simple hint, press it again and a bigger hint is given.
The top screen shows the game and the bottom shows you the information for that level. Here you have the option of touching the hint button and placing markers in to the game level. The bottom screen also gives a summary of what the level has to offer, the total marbles in the level, the awards and the number of marbles you need to open the exit. This is a good piece of information to have as people who want to just finish the level can get the minimum and reach for the exit whilst the completionist will want to gather it all. A fun fact for all you fans of street pass: the bottom screen also gives you the option of activating the give a gift option so that you can pass on gifts to other players of Crush 3D as you pass them on the street, and they can give them to you. And you get gift points for this as well.
There is also a lot of variety in this game as rollers, balls and octoballs add a new level of play because you need to push them along one axis into holes to plug them so you can cross the area. To push you simply stand next to the soda can and just hold X and the direction to push. Then just jump across the hole. Other clever tools are switches, of which there are three types. Green switches stay active once they are pressed, cyan switches only stay on for a while and the blue ones needs something on them. Again you need to crush the world to reach these switches and activate them accordingly. Cogs are implemented in this game and most can be crushed together to activate different machines to allow you to pass. The levels of this game are designed brilliantly, they are complex yet simple looking. The different perspectives are key in this game and using the D-pad is how to win. You really need to think about the levels and each problem very diligently.
The menu shows the options you have access to, including the replay a level mode where you can play previous ones and try to get all the marbles, trophies and booklets. The trophy mode adds a lot of replay value to this game as you can play special versions of the corresponding levels but this time you have a time limit to finish the levels and collect all the marbles. It adds a level of excitement and for a puzzler that’s quite an achievement. The sounds are fine and the levels have their own tunes. The character voices are rather generic but not bad. The sound of Danny hitting a wall or dying is a bit annoying after a while.
Overall, Crush 3D utilises the 3DS very well. This is the first game I have played that must be in 3D all the time. The crush ability works perfectly as the world changes perspective you open up new avenues to walk along and progress further in the level. This is a real head-scratcher and you need to think to finish. There’s a lot of this game I like, if I had to pick one thing I didn’t like, it was the fact that when you died you had to get the marbles again, but this is a minor thing. Sega have created a gem of a puzzle game and one that is in my top 3 for sure. Fans of puzzle games will love this as you get a real workout. Casual gamers may not warm to it, but give it time I say. Let’s puzzle away in 3D.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo 3DS code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscribe to our mailing list
Get the latest game reviews, news, features, and more straight to your inbox
Thank you for subscribing to Brash Games.
Something went wrong.