Friday, January 20, 2012

Review: Crush3D

By 'eck, when I was a lad viewing a screen in 3D meant donning one sexy pair of specs. One lens red the other blue and suddenly you'd be ducking and dodging like the action on TV was taking place in your living room.....sort of. In reality it was never that good.

Roll on to 2012 and 3D is becoming ever more commonplace in gaming and pleasingly Zoe Mode's updated version of Crush - originally released on Sony's PSP. Crush3D, has landed on the Nintendo 3DS at just the right time.

The story places you into the rather fetching dressing gown of Danny, a troubled young man who agrees, perhaps foolishly, to become Dr. Doccerson's guinea pig in testing the Doc's new invention, C.R.U.S.H. This latest wacky creation allows the user to explore their dreams and fears, but when the machine takes a shine to Danny it traps him in his own mind. Thus begins the sprawling, puzzletastic adventure as Danny tries to escape the machine.

The game takes the form of a classic platform/puzzler but of course being on 3DS means it has a new trick up its sleeve. At the opening of each level Danny has to collect a certain number of marbles which are dotted about the place, this then opens the exit and the chance to proceed, sounds simple enough. Unfortunately it's not quite that straight forward. You see young Danny doesn't possess any particularly astounding powers, so at first glance it appears that the way forward is an impossibility, time to pull that trick from the sleeve.

Utilising the new capabilities of this modern age players can now switch between the traditional 2D perspective into an all new 3D one to solve puzzles and progress through the levels.

This jump from 3D to 2D is known as 'crushing' and works a treat. For example, that platform that is happily floating in the background comfortably out of reach of our young hero can, with the use of 'crushing', be brought to the 2D foreground and easily hopped upon. It quite literally opens up a whole new dimension for the platforming genre and works superbly well.

The trick is working out the necessary perspective to be able to continue. As the game progresses it becomes increasingly difficult and occasionally frustrating as moving platforms, enemies that need to be crushed, special blocks that break and a whole host of other irritations make themselves known. It can be a daunting proposition and certainly slows progress but perseverance and the occasional smile from lady luck will see you through.

The concept of switching between dimensions works really well, the game still works even with the 3D slider right down and the whole package has a charm and logic to it that should keep you coming back for more even when the frustration begins to kick in, plus if you get truly baffled there is a very handy hint option to point you back in the right direction.

The game looks crisp and colourful and this helps with solving the puzzles, the story ticks along nicely in the background via the odd cut-scene and as I said it holds a certain charm throughout. Of course it isn't without fault, there are most definitely times when it can all become just a bit too much and times when it becomes repetitive but thankfully it never over-rides the fun of playing and satisfaction of completing a level.

Overall I've enjoyed my time with Crush3D even if my grey cells have at times begged for mercy. If you're looking for a game that will tax the brain while remaining enjoyable and you can accept that this isn't going to be a quick stroll in the park to the end credits, then you could do a lot worse than enter the troubled mind of Danny and the wonderfully imaginative world of Crush3D.