CRUSH - Review

Ages: Everyone 10+

CRUSH is a diabolically clever and interesting game. There is a 'back story' - our hero Danny has been hospitalized for insomnia due to his 'subconscious swimming in unresolved issues'. Dr. Reubens will be using his miracle machine C.R.U.S.H. (Cognitive Regression Utilizing pSychiatric Heuristics) to reframe his patient's problems. "Under hypnosis, C.R.U.S.H. will allow Danny to move between 3D and 2D as he navigates his neuroses and comes to terms with the secrets of this past."

The game has 40 levels, and you navigate them from a starting point to an exit location by moving around the 3D landscape, and also by CRUSHing the environment into a 2D form, where you can traverse the stage in a different way, often moving from one place to another location which is not at all continguous in 3D. There are marbles, memories and trophies to pick up along the way, and nightmares and hazards to dodge or overcome; boulders of several shapes to move around and possible jump onto to reach other parts of the stage, switches to push to open things, portraits and cages, and thoughts which can affect game play. The control scheme on the PSP seemed fine and didn't take too long to get used to.

The really clever and well done part is the construction of the stages and their transformation from 3D to 2D and back - the puzzles being how to navigate from start to finish. There is a way to get a rotatable 3D view to help you plan your moves. The levels are well constructed; fascinating, complex, colorful, fantastic, surreal; the music/sound and the general ambient theme varies with each stage. The difficulty of solving the levels varies - they don't just get harder and harder as you go along. On many levels you can try all sorts of strategies until you solve the particular puzzle, although your score will suffer if you make too many moves - if you care. Unfortunately (for me) the game developers just HAD to put in the dreaded TIMED elements - if you can't get from some point to some other point, or vanquish some hazard in the time they have set, YOU JUST CAN NEVER GET PAST THAT LEVEL.

So, if you are nimble enough, this is a fantastic game, and you can carry it around on your PSP until you complete it. Because of the 3D/2D nature of the game, a verbal description of how to play it is essentially impossible. There are a few in-game hints that you can access. However, there is a really excellent blog (in German) which includes the pointers to small videos of the first 24 levels on the YouTube website. If you just can't figure out how to solve the level, you can watch an expert play that level through!

Fun Factor: You can think and plan extensively about solving each level.
Player Friendly: Some of the levels have timed elements, which may become an insurmountable barrier long before the last level.

Reviewed by: Lou - 07/07

  • Author: Kuju Entertainment
  • © Sega $29.99
  • Platform(s): PSP
  • To Order: PSP $29.99
  • Game Site: