There’s something I’ve always liked about Crush since Sega announced it earlier this year. On paper and through pictures Crush appeared to have original gameplay with an interesting storyline about an insomniac rediscovering his childhood. Back at Sony’s Gamers Day I got some hands on time with Crush and lived up to my expectations. You start the game in a quick tutorial level where you run around, jump and most importantly learn how to “crush” the world from 3D to 2D. When Danny crushes the world broken steps come together so Danny can walk over them and platforms move into jumping range. What happens when Danny activates his crush power depends on the camera angle you set. If you set the camera top down the world flattens out to Gauntlet or Gremlins 2 for the NES and if you crush from the side the world becomes a horizontal platformer.
Crush is all about switching the camera’s perspective so you can crush the world in different ways and collect spinning orbs in Danny’s dream world. You don’t need to collect every glowing orb to complete a level. After you grab enough orbs an exit point opens and you unlock the next puzzle. If you want to play Crush casually you can, but if you seek out all of the orbs and grab hidden jigsaw puzzle pieces the story of Danny’s childhood unravels. The first level in Crush is pretty straight forward where you crush the world to fill in gaps and jump around in 2D. It’s in the later levels where Crush gets challenging. You have to jump on moving platforms, crush slug enemies to harmlessly roll into a ball and spot the locations of the hidden orbs. Crush is brain bending to an extent, but it’s not a hardcore puzzle game that will only pull in people looking for an IQ test. Also Crush is quite forgiving with plenty of checkpoints to restart at if Danny happens to fall off the edge of a platform.
The only thing I didn’t get to see more of is the story and I’m looking forward to collecting enough puzzle pieces to figure out why Danny is living in a dream world filled with Lego bricks.