Game Review

CRUSH3D Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by James Newton

Fancy that

The original Crush on PSP was a commercial failure, despite very positive reviews and praise for its ingenious concept. Developer Zoë Mode's returned for a second attempt with CRUSH3D, out now in Europe and heading Stateside in February.

CRUSH's central concept is simple: its 3D stages can be "crushed" to become two dimensional. Can't reach the platform in the background? Flatten the stage and it lands next to you. Need to get higher? Crush from top-down and the newly flattened landscape becomes a cinch to walk across. The aim of each stage is to collect at least half the marbles — which hero Danny has lost, of course — and head to the exit. It's all easier said than done of course, but is explained through a straightforward tutorial that gets you up to speed in no time.

Once you've got the basics down, CRUSH introduces new layers: "ghost" blocks disappear when crushed, switches must be stood on and giant boulders pushed into place. It doesn't sound vastly original, but it's the way things are put together that holds your attention: having five points of view and two dimensions keeps puzzles concise, with new rules introduced along the way.

That progression is both CRUSH's strength and its undoing: no two puzzles are the same, but the rate at which puzzles advance can be disconcerting. With such a unique premise, if you're not prepared to take on its later challenges you just end up crushing to see what happens, rather than as part of a considered solution: experimentation in a puzzler is welcome, but not at the expense of logic. Should you get truly stuck you can use a hint, though it means that the chance of a perfect rating is lost.

Repeat play of early stages is recommended to reinforce CRUSH's rules, with hidden trophies and art in every level the rewards for exploration. Collecting every marble also unlocks a new dressing gown design — perhaps the single most incredible piece of unlockable content any game has ever seen. Mundane by comparison, grabbing a cup unlocks Trophy mode, a Challenge mode of sorts, containing harder versions of levels and key restrictions: you have a limited number of crushes, and must collect every marble within a time limit to succeed. Experts will savour its sadism and marvel at the intricacies; those who find the main game hard enough to grasp will wither under Trophy mode's difficulty.

There are other neat asides here too: you can leave an in-game gift via StreetPass for other players to pick up. The more marbles you've grabbed, the better the gift; a clever idea, though naturally your mileage may vary depending on your area's StreetPass potential.

With 40 regular levels and 40 Trophy mode stages you wouldn't call CRUSH3D an enormous game, but it's hard enough to last and rewarding enough to make you persevere; while it doesn't offer Pullblox-like levels of "eureka!", there's some satisfaction to be gained from figuring out a tricky teaser.

Graphically the game won't win many awards, with a slightly dull style that rounds off the PSP's original darker edges: while that game was a twisted lunacy, its 3DS cousin is a brighter affair, with a big-eyed protagonist and chunky graphical style. The 3D adds notable depth when uncrushed, though naturally when squashed flat it does little, but you're not losing out if you play with the slider set to off.


CRUSH3D is enjoyable, challenging and unique among the 3DS's current library. Its central idea never quite ignites into genius-level design and it sometimes descends into trial and error, but it's worth a look for puzzle fans.

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Danny can't sleep, so he uses the power of crushing to help him beat his insomnia. That's the plot of CRUSH 3D, on the way to Nintendo 3DS in early 2012

User Comments (56)



Corbs said:

I think I'll pick this one up. I enjoyed the PSP release. Great review J.



pixelman said:

Annnnnd I'm officially scared to go to NL's homepage now.
wtf that kid is so creepy DDDD:



CanisWolfred said:

I liked the PSP version quite a bit, and I'm happy to see this version is just as good. I look forward to trying this someday.



Knux said:

I've never played the PSP version, so I might pick this one up. Awesome review.



Cipher said:

@master344 This isn't crap. It's a perfectly good game. It just has its flaws.

I agree with the review, my main issues were with the graphics and the difficulty level. It's an enjoyable game and one definitely worth picking up if you want a challenge, but it's a hell of a challenge, so be prepared.



warioswoods said:

I just can't get past the horrible art design. I can see now why that kid let them sew buttons in his eyes.



Mowzle said:

Thanks for the thorough review James, this one has been on my horizon.
......Now, can I find it on the High Street, or will I have to seek it online?




I am Puzzler 'raises hand' but this game seems like expanded 3DSware by modern standards. May pick it up when prices go down.



Scissors said:

I have to agree with Wario & Miracle I do not like this art direction at all. It's a shame too because I thought the art direction for the PSP version wasn't bad.



FonistofCruxis said:

I think Resident evil revelations has a rival for scariest 3DS game. The main character of this looks creepy, especially those eyes.



Kyloctopus said:

I'm a puzzle fan and @master344 are you telling us that you think every game that gets a 7 is crap? Are you telling us that you never enjoyed a game that got a 7/10 or even lower on this website?



Rebel81 said:

already in the discount, picked it up today for only 20 euro. And it's worth it



Radixxs said:

If that dude they use as their mascot wasn't fugly, maybe I would try this out.



WolfRamHeart said:

I just love how that kid's creepy eyes greeted me when I logged into Nintendo Life today.

Nice review James. I never got to play the original game on the PSP but I am interested in trying this one out. I'll probably pick it up when it comes out here. It sounds like fun.



3Daniel said:

too bad they delayed this game and are releasing it after resident evil and before kid ikarus. i would have piucked it up prior to all these big releases. will have to wait it out. hopefrully i dont forget about it but i'm sure the nightmares of the demon boy will remind me for years to come.



Rockgamer said:

So other than 3D and the StreetPass stuff, there's not really any new content here? Because I already have the PSP version, but I haven't got around to playing it yet. So even though I play my 3DS way more than my PSP, I can't really justify double dipping if the content isn't there.



Kyloctopus said:

The eyes aren't that creepy. I've seen scarier, like Link's head exploading in LoZ:MM



ooofooo said:

Just to clarify I said this game was crap because if it was delayed twice I would expect it to get a higher score. To me it was a disrespect to nintendo for delaying this. Im sorry if some of you dont agree.



misswliu81 said:

definitely a game for puzzle fans like myself but also not worth the full RRP. will wait until the price drops to £15, £20.



chewytapeworm said:

Come on guys, toughen up!! There's so much more out there that's freakier than a pair of button eyes on a cartoon man!

buries head in hands

On the other hand, I do agree that this is more of a 3ds eshop game but I will probably purchase this when I find a nice cheap version somewhere...



Kyloctopus said:

I truly don't get it with these gamers and button eyes. As if they are some sort o creature in Resident Evil.



Number_6 said:

Never noticed James has an EU flag. Granny was right, you do learn something every day. About the game: I would have been more likely to buy this before Pushmo came out. It makes it harder to justify $40 for Crush, especially when I can spend that on RE.



k8sMum said:

having gone thru the screenshots, i love the stylish art of this game. good use of colour and i am not put off by the button eyes. tastes just differ.



Urbanhispanic said:

Since when does a game with a "7" rating considered crap?? It's one thing if this isn't the kind of game you'd play but it's another to write it off completely if you never played it before.



WolfRamHeart said:

@KeeperBvk: From the reviews that I have read it sounds like there really isn't any new content added to the 3DS version of the game. It is basically a visually enhanced port of the original game on the PSP with some additional SteetPass features. If you played the original then you probably won't find much to warrant another purchase. If you are interested in getting it you can pick it up at Amazon for $34.99. Here is the link: http://www.amazon.com/Crush-3D-Nintendo-3DS/dp/B0050GGKPS/ref=sr_1_1?s=videogames&ie=UTF8&qid=1327880199&sr=1-1



SeVok said:

Bought this game and loving it. And I'm not even a huge puzzle fan.
The game's graphics are actually quite stylish, I love the art.



Henmii said:

This game doesn't score to high in general, so I'll guess I will skip it!



Jono97 said:

I cannot stand "Artistic" over graphics. Like MC.. well the main reason why I don't play MC is it isn't the type of game I like. So don't give me a lecture about the changeable graphics(etc). It's just an opinion.



Bass_X0 said:

Since when does a game with a "7" rating considered crap??

People can't really take chances with games that are only "above average" these days. They have to have guaranteed enjoyment. I've now played the demo and it does seem enjoyable, however I wouldn't pay full price for it. Make sure to play the demo when you can.



Tate24 said:

Really dont understand how giving game score 7 is bad thing?

Ive played demo and i thought it was a pretty fun and interesting concept and am considering getting it.

Game has 50 levels and unlocks and uses streetpass scores and present trade. Id say it well worth £30 pound.

if want talk about a game thats not worth money and should only be picked up if see it on side of road! And that game is.. pilot wings resort now that was a waste money and huge disappointment and was not worth £40 or score of 8 !

thank you

and good night lol



SonicSpeed said:

I can't believe that people call this game crap. I've played the demo and I'm seriously considering buying the game. Though I find that the guy is wearing a dressing gown slightly weird. Other than that I have no problems with this game and highly recommend it to all my friends.



Dreadjaws said:

I really liked the demo, but there are still a couple of other titles I want to get before this one. I will purchase this eventually, though. Maybe in a couple of months.



rayword45 said:

I bought this game a month ago. And I must say, this review is definitely 1 or 2 points too low.

The graphics and art style aren't astounding, but they are crisp nonetheless and the 3D effect works well. The music is also pretty good.

YES, the game DOES descend into Trial-and-Error later on, but it is NOT any worse in that department then many other puzzle games, such as Art of Balance: Touch (which is also fantastic) and Pushmo (Overrated IMO) and that should not hurt the score at all.

Even as a remake, this game is an incredible concept executed very well and the score is far too low.



RetrogamerFan said:

Recently started playing this and i'm about halfway through the game (just started playing the fairground levels).
Fantastic game, I love the fiendish level dsign in this game, and the fact that (aside from trophy mode) you can take as much time as you like to figure out the levels. Music is kind of unusual, being more like a sound-scape, rather than a traditional soundtrack, but really adds atmosphere to the game. Unlocking dressing gowns is a little strange, but I always try to figure out how to get the artwork from each level. One of the best 3DS titles i've played.

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