The 3DS’s selling point is clearly the 3D effect, but no title to date has made fundamental use of this. Is this the machines first title to truly be 3D?
Crush3D was originally a PSP game, under the name of Crush which I never played. Sega has updated the game and brought it across to the 3DS. The most obvious benefit would be for the 3D effect, but they’ve also gone as far as tweaking the originals dark nature and made Crush3D closer to the colourful platformers Nintendo gamers are used to.
You play as Danny, a young boy trapped inside a machine created by a friendly but ultimately mad professor. The machine in question locks people into a series of tests inside their own subconscious. As you begin the game it takes you through a tutorial to teach you the basics.The puzzles themselves are a made out of a series of platforms and walls. The aim is to collect different colour marbles to activate the exit portal. The levels are scattered with various unlockables such as artwork galleries and abilities, such as an extra high jump.
The levels appear impossible. Not simply difficult, but actually impossible, such as huge gaps you would never in a million years be able to jump across. It’s at this point the game introduces you to its core mechanic. The ability to “crush”. Simply hit the L button and what was far away in the 3D world, suddenly appears next to you in the 2D world. You can then cross onto the new platform and press L again to return to the 3D world, and you’ll be where you needed to get to. The same happens across every axis. So if you can’t quite jump to a high platform, use the D-pad to shift the camera to a birds-eye view and then crush, walk across to the new platform, and press L to return to the 3D world, showing you have in fact just made it again! This is really clever!
The closest thing I’ve ever seen to this before would have to be in Super Paper Mario on the Wii. Where you’d be jumping through a regular 2D Mario world and then with the tap of a button, you’d switch the axis and then be able to see the level sideways. The 3D isn’t required, at Nintendo’s request, but it certainly helps pull the 2D and 3D apart.
When you hit L to Crush, walls and platforms take on different abilities adding to the puzzle nature of the game. Some can act as steps, some you can fall right through as if they were a ghost-like.
A few levels in and the game introduces balls and soda cans which you can roll. The cans roll along a 2D axis, but the balls can roll in any direction. Both require walls to stop their motion, so you have to plan your moves in advance, however if at any time you loose one off a ledge, it will reappear moments later.
Graphically the game is mediocre. The levels are sharp, but the textures and colour palette are bland. The music is satisfactory. There is considerable load times considering this is a cartridge based game. There are also noticeable moments of delay between pressing a button and an action occurring.
Crush3D could have been a fantastic puzzle game in theory, it has an original idea in a genre which has almost run dry, however falls short of true greatness. Puzzle games require something new and exciting however they also need simplicity, much like the recent Pullblox/Pushmo.
I’d happily recommend Crush3D to other gamers wanting a challenge, however I wouldn’t be able to hand this to my parents for example, who after years of trying, lack the ability to control actual 3D games. Give them Tetris any day.
For more information on how we review games check out our criteria here. A copy of this game was provided to The Paranoid Gamer by the publisher for review purposes.