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CRUSH3D (Nintendo 3DS) Review

Review for CRUSH3D on Nintendo 3DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Starting life on the PSP in 2007, Zoe Mode’s Crush brought psychologically dark puzzle-platforming action in the form of malleable 3D and 2D worlds. It’s no wonder then why the title has shown up on the 3DS five years later as Crush 3D - it reflects the nature of the system perfectly. Zoe Mode have made some drastic changes to the game compared to the original, but it remains to be seen. Does Crush 3D stand the test of time or deserve to be flattened?

Originally, Crush’s story focused around an insomniac teenager who was trying to come to terms with his condition. As such, the mood of the game was considerably dark. Crush 3D, on the other hand, opts to take a much lighter tone. Here we see a mad Doc developing C.R.U.S.H, an intelligent computer that allows people to unravel their memories to understand themselves better. Unfortunately, C.R.U.S.H happens to be glitchy and untested software, and Danny, Doc’s best friend (a rather odd pairing, it must be said), gets stuck in the system. This sets Danny across a whole host of puzzles in his subconscious in order to escape, the solution to which lies in the dimension.

The puzzles themselves consist of multiple platforms spread about the space with no visible way to reach them. Hitting L allows you to ‘crush’ a level in any direction you want from 3D to 2D, and vice versa. A platform in the distance can be crushed into 2D, allowing Danny to walk onto it, and then uncrushed to reveal that you have seemingly managed to cross a previously unfathomable gap. The same works if an object is too tall to jump onto. Simply bring the camera round so it is above Danny, and crush - voila! It is a simple mechanic that works well and is brought completely to life with stereoscopic 3D. The way the screen reacts accordingly by adding and removing depth is simply brilliant!

As expected, the levels get complicated (the learning curve can be a little harsh, however) as Danny has to pick up half his marbles to find the exit to the level, but meets all manner of obstacles along the way. Cans and bowling balls can be moved around to open up new routes (with a ‘crush flair’), and Danny’s subconscious has a habit of attacking himself with enemies which must be flattened in order to pass. Throw this in with panels that stop you crushing in certain areas, timers, moving platforms and switches, and even outside-the-box-thinkers will struggle. For the completionists, there are secrets to discover in each level that can unlock new dressing gowns and a sweet trophy collection that rely on you matching up two halves of a trophy in order to grab it.

Screenshot for CRUSH3D on Nintendo 3DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Should you get stuck, though, Zoe Mode has thrown in a hint system to help players along. However, this can be triggered at any time and tells you exactly how to solve each item. Whilst this is good for the younger players, it lacks the subtlety that say, Professor Layton has, with hints that merely nudge you in the right direction. Alongside this, crushing can play havoc on the eyes as you are switching between 3D and 2D planes every ten seconds or so and can make the player a little nauseous no matter how used you are to the handheld.

Crush 3D is presented cleanly, with the dark sombre spaces that occupied the original a thing of the past. Instead, bright but simple colours are used to depict cityscapes, beaches and dream scenes across the forty-plus levels. Much like the music, the areas themselves are rather forgettable and it can be difficult to differentiate stages as it all looks rather bland in comparison to its predecessor. Speaking of its counterpart, there is little in the way of fresh content, meaning that if you played the original, you may want to steer clear of this title.

Overall, Crush 3D is a very strong puzzler at heart. Every stage brings something fresh to the table that will have you scratching your head and crushing in every way imaginable to find the solution - each time you’ve got to grips with one mechanic it throws another at you. It’s good, but the experience curve may be a little too steep for some. Taking the trip through Danny’s subconscious can be entertaining, but sometimes feels a little dull as areas can often feel repetitive. That said, the constant to and fro between Danny and Doc will make you smile and push on to find what other contraptions lie further on in his mind.

Screenshot for CRUSH3D on Nintendo 3DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Crush has it where it matters. The gameplay is solid, if a little tricky at times, and the story is humorous but could be fleshed out a little more.

Graphics

Simple and clean. Zoe Mode has created some charming stages, but they lack any real graphical flair and won’t really blow the player away. The use of 3D and 2D is ingenious however, and it’s easy to see why they were so eager to bring it to the 3DS.

Sound

Unfortunately the audio is forgettable and nothing really sticks. It would have been nice to see some voice acting for the limited script as well.

Value

There is plenty here to do, with forty-plus stages if you haven’t played the original. There are plenty of trophies and collectables to get, although some of the 3DS’ features could have been used more.

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Good - Bronze Award

About this score
Rated 7 out of 10

Crush 3D is a fun, but tough puzzler that requires the player to think in convoluted ways to find the solution. Whilst it’s not necessarily ground-breaking in visuals or sound, it has more than enough challenge to keep even hardened puzzlers going. If you are looking for a title to tide you over for a while, why not give Crush 3D a go?

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17.02.2012

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Developer

Zoe Mode

Publisher

SEGA

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I didn't see much of the PSP version, but this seems pretty decent in concept. I quite like my fair share of puzzlers, and with that blend of action it should be a decent one to pick up on the cheap.

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

I had a go of the demo, but it didn't really do anything for me. The way the game plays is a nice idea and that was something I did like, but the general quality of the game just felt a bit "meh" and didn't stand out in any particular way.

Great review, Calum.

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