When I first heard of CRUSH3D, (pronounced “crushed” – not “crush three dee”) I was unaware of its predecessor, CRUSH. The name did make me think it might be a sequel, but it is not. It is actually a remake of a PSP game from 2007.
I have not played the original game, but I have been told it is an exact remake as far as gameplay goes. No new levels, no new content; just new graphics and some “bonus material” like concept art and unlockable bathrobes for the main character. I mention this at the beginning of the review not to discourage people from playing this game, but only to let those familiar with the original game know they will not find much new here.
For those of you, like me, who have no experience with the franchise, (does a game and graphic-update of the same game equal a franchise?) the story centers on a scientist and his lab assistant. The scientist creates a machine, called CRUSH, which can put a person inside of his own dreams–completely aware they are dreams–and allows the user to manipulate the dream to theoretically solve their psychological and emotional problems. However, the story is little more than an excuse for the gameplay, and doesn’t really come up much after the opening scene.
From the advertising and the box art, I believed it to be something along the lines of Super Mario 3D Land, which it is not. It is actually more similar to Portal, only without the clever and entertaining writing. In each level you are placed on a floating platform with a number of marbles and an exit. The goal is collect the marbles and reach the exit. This is accomplished by the typical running and jumping, avoiding or overcoming gaps and walls. The “wow” factor of this game, its hook, its “portal gun” is also the source of its name. You are given the power to “crush” your environment, turning your 3D world into a 2D one. By changing the camera angle before you crush the world, you can change the landscape of your new 2D environment. This bridges gaps, flattens obstacles and in some cases, kills enemies. You get bonuses for collecting all the marbles–instead of the bare minimum–and from finding hidden trophies. But the bonuses are limited to concept art and bathrobes for the main character.
Bottom line – is the game worth the money and your time playing? Well, if you are a big fan of logic-based or physics-based puzzles, then yes. If not, or even if you are not sure you are, then no. Even at $20, CRUSH3D isn’t worth the buy.
CRUSH3D is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) by the ESRB for Animated Blood, Mild Cartoon Violence. The original version of this game can also be found on PSP.