Developer: Zoë Mode
Publisher: SEGA
Release Date: Out Now
Players/Online features: One
Words By:

Danny is an everyday sort of fellow, except for one thing. His head is full of puzzles and conundrums, instead of your average guy’s brainful of sexual fantasies, fast cars, fighter planes and video games.

When Danny’s friend the Doc asks him to test his new invention (the Crush machine, which transports you into a world of your own imagination) he agrees without reservation, but then finds himself trapped in a world of brain-teasing puzzles that are worryingly designed by his own mind.

The game is a remake of a well-received PSP game called Crush that was released back in 2007, and plays like a 2D platform puzzler that grows a third dimension or snaps back to 2D whenever Danny “crushes” his hands together (claps). The game is all about collecting Danny’s marbles (he’s lost them, see?) and memories. Viewing the level’s obstacles from both 2D and 3D (you can switch the camera between four directional side views and a top-down view at any time while in 3D) is the key to figuring out the solution. The game starts off easy as pie (with a handy tutorial mode) but quickly becomes a real head-scratcher. The graphics are colourful and clear but can hardly be said to stretch the 3DS’s capabilities.

CRUSH3D is an appealing little game that varies the puzzles about as much as the simple game engine will allow, and in terms of level design vaguely reminded me of both Super Paper Mario and the Echochrome games on the PS3/PSP. It has pleasingly tight, easy to remember controls and uses the 3D effect quite well. But its problems are that dunderhead Danny is a difficult character to sympathise with and I suspect the puzzles aren’t really satisfying enough to keep you playing the game for long.

CRUSH3D is an interesting concept and may well have worked better if it had brought a more ‘adult’ approach to the genre, or used 3D in a more effective way. Most of the "3D-ness" comes from the moving backdrops and the rest of the graphics look like they're pretty much a straight port of the original PSP game; it's a shame they didn't incorporate true 3D graphics into the gameplay as easily as they did the game title). The infatuated robot guide, that’s supposed to help but hinders escape instead, doesn’t want to let Danny escape from the bizarre world his brain developed, but you never really know exactly why, and there's no pay-off at the end. A steady stream of actions like rolling obstacles out of the way, or into another place to form a bridge, or making steps from objects that weren’t steps before is unlikely to keep anyone entranced for long-unless, that is, you have a brain as strange and puzzle-infested as Danny’s, or are one of those who enjoyed CRUSH the first time around on the PSP.

Best Bits

- A fun 3D twist on the puzzle genre.
- Eye-catching 3D backdrops.
Worst Bits

- Puzzles lack true variety.
- A lot of camera fiddling.

by: Mal Function

Copyright © Gamecell 2012