Developer: Kuju Entertainment
N Amer - 05/29/2007
Ever since Lumines hit the PSP at the system’s launch, Sony’s handheld has long been a haven for great puzzle games. Some work out better than others, but if you’re a puzzle fan looking to game on the go, you need look no further than the PlayStation Portable. Carrying the tradition of quality puzzle games, SEGA has released an innovative action-puzzle game called Crush.
Crush allows gamers to solve puzzles and finish levels by switching between 2D and 3D, much like in Super Paper Mario for the Wii, but in a very fun and unique way. Crush offers addicting action and an original experience unlike anything you’ll likely find on any system, making it a highly recommended title for puzzle fans.
Unlike many puzzle games out there, Crush presents a cohesive storyline that draws you into the game. You play as Danny, a young man with his fair share of repressed memories and internal strive. As a result of his inner turmoil, Danny has become an insomniac. In order to combat his inability to sleep, Danny is institutionalized and meets Dr. Reubens, a token “mad scientist” with a crazy invention meant to help Danny with his problem.
In order to cure Danny of his insomnia, the doctor hooks Danny up to a machine that he calls C.R.U.S.H., which will enable Danny to crawl into his own psyche and clean out the “bats in his belfry”, so to speak. The story unfolds through some great comic book-stylized cutscenes, which are engaging and have a well-written dark sense of humor.
In Crush, the objective is to walk Danny across the stages while avoiding enemies and collecting his “marbles” (in the literal and figurative sense). In order to progress and collect your marbles, you must employ the use of “crushing”. By pressing the L1 button, you can crush or uncrush your environment, essentially switching from 3D to 2D and vice versa. This allows you to access blocked off areas of the stage, defeat enemies, or collect your thoughts, which let you perform special abilities such as high jumps and so on.
The game’s camera plays a large role in crushing. Depending on how it’s facing you (top-down, from the side, etc.), you will crush the environment in that direction. Most of the stages must be completed with this in mind, as you’re likely to not get anywhere by simply crushing in the default side view camera mode.
The game’s stages gradually get more complex (and hazardous) as you move on, rising in difficulty as you get more used to the game’s mechanics. More and more environmental dangers appear as you progress through the four different areas as you progress, and it becomes quite challenging. If it does happen to get too tough for you or if you’re stumped on a puzzle and just want to move on, Crush has a nifty hint system that will help you figure out the next step in your journey.
Graphically, Crush’s aesthetic presents the game’s motif well, with a cartoony (albeit slightly dark) look. Switching between 3D and 2D is done pretty smoothly, and never feels jarring. The camera angles are also intuitive and don’t pose problems, a definite boon considering the platforming elements in the game.
The voice acting is also pretty good, with the comical tone not getting lost at all. The music also suits the tone of the game.
Crush is not without its flaws, however negligible. The controls are not as tight as they should be, as the unresponsive and floaty jumping mechanics can be a little frustrating during some of the more platform-oriented stages. Also, while the four areas collectively offer a nice number of stages (a little over forty), it would’ve been nice to see a bit more diversity in the environments.
All things considered though, Crush is a great puzzle game with some innovative concepts seen through to fruition. If you’re at all a fan of puzzle games and you have a PSP, definitely give Crush a look.
Review Scoring Details for Crush
A very engaging and original puzzler, Crush presents unique gameplay and stages that grow increasingly more complex, but never too difficult. While the controls could be a bit tighter and there could be more environments, it’s still a fun experience from start to finish.
The game is very clean graphically. Switching between 2D and 3D planes is done smoothly, and the camera is great with little problems.
The game presents some nicely done voice acting and a decent score.
Crush is an innovative puzzle game with a great story behind it, which is something that is rarely seen in the genre.
Crush is a blast to play, with unique action-puzzle gameplay mechanics and a fun story. Check it out if you’re a puzzle fan.
A quirky and addicting action puzzler, Crush is a perfect fit on the PSP.
Reviewer: Steven Hopper
Review Date: 06/07/2007