E3 2011: Crush3D preview – quite possibly the perfect 3D puzzle platformer

It seems like we haven’t had a break from mind-bending puzzle games for the last few years, and Sega’s Crush 3D for the Nintendo 3DS is just making it worse. The redesigned title, originally on the PSP, has been given a total makeover and most importantly – 3D.

Inspired, like the original Crush, by the works of MC Escher and Tim Burton, the game carries a surrealist tone as the main character Danny runs amok in his own fantasies trying to collect his lost marbles. There are more than 50 levels along with unlockables and collectibles. Crush3D is a platformer, but doesn’t follow any conventional rules of platform games. Danny operates in 2, 2.5 and 3 dimensions, all depending on what the situation calls for.

The concept of Crush3D is tough to explain, and resembles Super Paper Mario and perhaps Lost in Shadow, but almost nothing else. It’s all about swapping your world from 3D to 2D and back again in order to progress through the levels.

Imagine there are three platforms on a 3D plane: you’re standing on one, there’s another in front of you, but it’s too distant to jump to. And the third is closer, but floating off to the left, also too far to leap onto. If Danny needs to bridge the gap and get to the most distant platform, he must first move the camera to a mostly sideways profile view (or 2.5D), which leaves the platform off to the left now in between the gap but in the distance. Danny can now use the “crush” ability, which flattens the 3D environment into 2D. The platform that was previously off to the side is moved closer, and fits in between the other two, creating a single unbroken platform in 2D. This enables flat Danny to just walk to the right, stopping on the far platform. Then, pop the world back into 3D, and there you are, standing on the platform you previously couldn’t reach.

It’s really cool. You’ll just have to trust us. But only until September, when Crush 3D hits shelves.

Jun 10, 2011

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