Crush (PSP) – Review

Crush - CoverCrush, developed by Zoë Mode and distributed by Sega, is a platform puzzler for the Playstation Portable, and may be one of the most unique, challenging, and playable games for the system in a long time.   The game features the ability to “crush” a 3D level down into a 2D platformer, along the lines of Super Paper Mario but with many different elements and tactics that can be used.  It is not easy, but nor is it difficult nor unforgiving, and really makes for a great puzzle game for the PSP.

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Crush (PSP) – Initial Impressions

The concept behind crush is very very similar to that from the recent Super Paper Mario, but I have a feeling the market of people that own a Wii and own a PSP is rather slim.  But still…

The story’s a little weird to start, basically an insomniac using a virtual reality device to try to cure him.  Each 3D level is a small platforming around with colored marbles about.  To open the exit of the level, the player needs to collect a certain number of marbles, and then make it to the  exit.  There are also special bonus items one can collect.  In this fashion, the game’s similar to other puzzle-action PSP titles like Gripshift.

The feature of this game is that you can have the player “stomp” to flatten whatever view you are looking in from 3D into 2D.  The views are fixed to top down and the four directions parallel to the ground.  When you do this, you end up either as a simple top-down maze (if starting from the top view) or a 2D platformer from any of the sides.  This causes platforms that may be separated by a great distance in 3D to be a step away in 2D.  Some blocks are impassible, and your stomp will be canceled if it leaves you in a precarious position.  There’s monsters that roam some of the levels that a proper stomp will crush them.  Unstomping can result in you being on a platform you could have never been on in 3D mode, so this allows you to get the necessary marbles to get the exit opened.  Unlike SPM, you can spend an indefinite amount of time in either mode without damage, which is good for collecting all the extra goodies that are available.

So far, through the tutorial and first handful of levels, there’s nothing impossible, though I think I’m still learning the “rules” of the game and most of the steps I take are by trial  and error.   But compared to some of the other puzzle games, this one seems to offer the first unique variation on the theme, and with Super Paper Mario still fresh, it’s easy to think on how the puzzles work here.