Friday, June 1


Crush is not the first puzzle of game of its ilk for the PSP. You may recall, there was also Exit and Practical Intelligence Quotient. Players control characters in each of the aforementioned titles, unlike traditional puzzle games like Tetris of Lumines. But what seperates Crush from all of them is its perspective switching gameplay. Crush was developed exclusively for PSP by Zoe Mode. The closest video game comparison one can make to Crush is Nintendo's recent Wii title, Super Paper Mario. What makes both games special is the ability to switch perspective.

In Crush, players take control of Danny as he explores his unconscious. The nether-regions of the mind are manifested in elaborate three-dimensional floating block mazes. To complete each level, players must collect lost marbles while finding their way to the end. This, however, is impossible to achieve within the limitations of the three-dimensional world. Fortunately, players can switch the game's perspective at any time with the tap of a button, "crushing" it. What was once three-dimensional is now two. In Crush, Super Mario 64=Pac-Man. When the perspective is snapped from 3d to 2d. The whole world flattens to the plane on which Danny is standing. Foreground blocks and platforms fade backward, and background blocks come forward. Sometimes this means side-scroller style perspective, other times it may mean top down. This allows players to cross seemingly insurmountable obstacles. But what makes this gameplay mechanic so awesome?
This is what I like about Crush. The game has a single gameplay mechanic: switching perspective. This tool is simple enough to be understood, but complex and dynamic in use. The player understands this tool, what it does, how to use it, etc. Therefore, the game becomes a test of player skill. The question isn't how to use this gameplay mechanic, but how best to use it.

The fact that players can switch perspective is awesome, to be sure, but is a novelty compared to what else this game achieves. Crush successfully implements one of video gaming's greatest goals, challenge and player skill. The levels are a challenge, neigh, unbeatable without the perspective mechanic that Crush makes available. All thats left is how good is the player at using that mechanic. I'll tell you right now, this is what 90% of video games are, and what makes the best games so good. Think of any game you've ever played. Unless its built 100% on chance or luck, your game gives players a challenge along with tools to overcome that challenge. The best games figure out how to take these tools and make the game neither too easy nor too difficult for the player. The difficulty is dependant on how much player skill is required. Enter Crush. Players can crush the game world. Awesome. But the crushing is not what really matters, its the player's ability to use the mechanic that makes the game good.


Why do you think Crush is cool?
Do you agree with anything I just said? Why or why not?
Have you bought Crush yet? My mailbox address is...

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