Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Frankenstein and his monster, Seymour Krelborn and Audrey II even Marty and the Doc all have one thing in common, one is a normal, down to earth individual and the other is totally insane. It’s the perfect mis-match between characters that just works when thrown into the melting pot together. The same thing can be said about Danny and Dr Reuben. One is the typical teenage insomniac with the strange obsession with dressing gowns and the other is the mad scientist who is trying to help Danny sleep with his C.R.U.S.H machine.
Cleverly standing for Cognitive Regression Utilizing pSychiatric Heuristics and avoiding the issue of a real scientific word beginning with S, Dr. Reuben sends Danny into his own mind albeit a tad reluctant as he is referred to as a guinea pig, to address the reasons why he cannot sleep. This is where Crush3D starts. Created by Zoe Mode, the team behind Chime, the idea of the game is simple, to collect Danny’s marbles to open a path to progress through some 50 levels.
To do this, Danny must alternative between two and three dimensions to create paths and collect all the marbles required. Luckily, not every single marble is required to progress, but the more that is gathered the better. Adorning the levels are various trophies and special items that unlock various artworks and gowns, yes Danny’s addiction to dressing gowns reaches the realms even Arthur Dent will be proud of, as there are just shy of 100 to collect!
Making things difficult, the level can be crushed in just about any direction, provided Danny isn’t squashed in the process. This adds an extra level of difficulty and longevity to Crush3D as it is requires a lot of thought to each move or it could well mean a restart. Especially if chasing a perfect level. Luckily the camera is easy to control and there is no time limit on a level so taking your time is perfectly acceptable.
If this isn’t enough difficulty for one game, if a trophy is collected through out the level a harder version of the same stage unlocked. It’s harder in the fact the level is against the clock, with a limited number of crushes. It certainly cannot be said the game doesn’t push the limits of any seasoned puzzle gamer.
Luckily controlling Danny is as simple as peas: he can run, jump and push objects to his hearts content. He isn’t the best at jumping mind, which can be a little frustrating at times as the last marble can just be out of reach, prompting anger and the odd rage quit here and there. There are hints to be used, but these effect the items that can be unlocked and takes away that perfect score many people crave while playing.
Crush3D is actually a reworking of the PlayStation Portable title Crush from 2007, and as a comparison the Nintendo 3DS incarnation is a better looking and more friendly compared to the moody, dark and dim presentation on the PSP. It also integrates the StreetPass feature of the Nintendo handheld with users able to gift items to each other to be placed randomly throughout the 50 levels.
Once the levels are beaten, there is little to replay save for the hard mode versions of effectively the same stage. A level editor of sorts would have been a nice addition and could have made more use of the StreetPass function. If the game does get a sequel, a strong plea for a level editor and downloadable content would be fantastic additions and would expand the experience.
The game isn’t for anyone who suffers from rage quitting-itis and can become a little bit on the strenuous side even for the most patient of gamers. But sticking with it, you are rewarded with more extras and even more challenging levels. Visually, Crush3D is a very good lucking game and makes use of the 3D element of the 3DS very well. Danny & Dr. R work well as a team and there is a great sense of achievement unlocking another dressing gown. If you have managed to play the PSP version there isn’t much between that and the new version save for the visuals – which do work better on the 3DS. If you have never played the original and fancy a challenging puzzle game however, SEGA and Zoe Mode delivered this big time.
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