- Interesting story, great puzzle mechanics.
- Gets a bit 'samey' after a while.
Amidst many bigger and over-hyped releases, Crush deserves to be discovered. We highly recommend this hidden little gem of a game.
Price$ 79.95 (AUD)
Crush is one of those rare titles that delivers on nearly all of its ambitious promises. When a game boasts of mind-bending 3D puzzle-platforming coupled with a deep and intriguing backstory, most gamers expect at least one of those aspects to go oh so horribly wrong.
Luckily, Crush is one of those rare titles that actually bolsters your faith that a high-concept games like this can be executed properly.
You Gotta See It To Believe It
Crush's gameplay has to be seen to be fully appreciated. You play an insomniac named Danny who turns to a mad scientist named Dr. Reubens for a cure. Dr. Reubens proposes to use a virtual reality-style device called C.R.U.S.H. that allows Danny to run around a projected representation of his brain. Danny's brain consists of a standard-looking 3D platforming environment that would be completely ordinary were it not for his ability to "Crush" the 3D world into a 2D one in order to reach each stage's goal.
The "Crush" concept sounds simple, but you quickly realize the depth of this mechanic. Platforms in the background that seem over a hundred yards away become immediately accessible with a simple push of the L button. The myriad of ways that Zoe Mode has come up with to use the 2D-to-3D perspective shift will blow your mind, which -- corny as it might sound -- really fits in with the whole psychoanalysis theme of the game. Additionally the game provides a decent challenge with more than enough stages and collectibles to occupy you for a long time. The game may begin to wear thin after extended play sessions as you can only solve so many puzzles in a row before they begin to blur together. However, this is where the story comes into play; you'll still want to come back to play the game, if for no other reason than to find out why Danny has so much trouble sleeping.
Danny's tale of insomnia unfolds in a series of still frame hand-drawn cutscenes with voice-overs. The voice acting is superb, as is the game's dry sense of humor. Some of the cutscenes pop up at regular intervals, but you will have to earn the vast majority during the course of a level in the form of a hidden jigsaw puzzle piece. The cutscenes are good -- not to mention funny -- enough that you'll put the extra effort in to track them down in most levels.
Crush does a great job of turning buzzwords into true and terrific gameplay. A solid narrative in a puzzle game is a success in its own right; the fact that it's a whole lot of fun almost seems like a bonus. If you're a puzzle fan whose PSP has been starving for cerebral action since you grew tired of Lumines then you'd be well served to pick up Crush.
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