boyward - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:


Computer Platform: Playstation Portible (PSP)
Produced by: Sega
Price Range: $11-20
Learning curve time: 1-2 hrs.
Age level: Children (Older)
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10 & up)

     Reviewed By: Phil Rownd (aka boyward)

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆
Genre: Puzzle
Rating: 4 of 5 (good)
Gameplay: 4 of 5 (good)
Violence: 4 of 5 (barely present)
Adult Content: 4 of 5 (barely present)

Crush.  Illustration copyrighted.

Crush was the kind of game that appeared on 2007’s “Best Game That No One Played” lists. Avoiding attention from the mainstream gaming community, Crush found its audience in those puzzle gamers who were looking for something new. Crush is a puzzle platformer, similar to the excellent Klonoa games on Gameboy Advance, and at times not unlike the Wii’s mind boggling Super Paper Mario. Crush, however, is a much deeper experience with such an unusual premise that it will probably never become a popular Sega brand. But some puzzle fans will enjoy Crush for that very reason.

Danny can’t sleep. He’s been hospitalized for insomnia, his head hooked up to an experimental hypnosis machine designed to make him unconscious. The machine, C.R.U.S.H., enables Danny to enter his own cluttered mind and simplify his problems by crushing them flat. Crushing turns the 3D world in 2D. This allows Danny to explore parts of his psyche he couldn’t otherwise reach. Each time Danny crushes and uncrushes his way to the end of a puzzle, he gets one step closer to a good night’s sleep.


How does one design an environment that can be viewed from 5 different angles and somehow fits together in both the second and third dimensions? That human minds could even conceive of such multi-dimensional puzzles is a testimony to the glory and creativity of our own Creator. So the puzzles are a real standout and I can recommend the game solely on the basis that you will challenged to use your mind in ways unlike anything before.

I was, however, expecting more from the artistic side of Crush. Crush has a cynical, slightly dark edge to it with the same off-kilter look and vibe like you’d see in games like Psychonauts or a Tim Burton movie. The comparisons are inevitable. And for me, the comparisons to Burton and Psychonauts caused the real letdown. Crush has the potential to be a looker, but it simply is not as lively or inspired as its sources of inspiration. The designers went for a more bare look, probably because the designers didn’t want to clutter the environments with too many distractions. I can’t blame them, but I wanted more. But what I got was stylish without being truly inspired. Crush has the lamp posts that are actually eyeballs tracking your movements, and the Professor in charge of Danny’s care is actually a mad scientist. But I thought it stopped short of delivering real surprises. It’s TOO tame. On the other hand, the offensive content here is also kept to a minimum:


Very mild. You don’t die in Crush. Rather, you wake up. Cockroach enemies are squashed into a gooey, yellow mess. Tentacles reach out and poke Danny, knocking him backwards.

Danny misunderstands a comment made by the Professor and in defending himself he makes a possible reference to a porn stash under his bed. In Danny’s flashbacks we see him in his bedroom where he has posters of bikini babes posted on the wall.

In the hours I spent playing Crush that’s all the offensive content I noted. But there’s one more thing to consider before you consider adding Crush to your PSP collection. Crush is a challenging game that requires spatial reasoning and a solid grasp of the concept of cause and effect. Rearranging the 3D and 2D layouts of each stage and inching your way to an exit can take hours before it finally dawns on you what you need to do. Sometimes it will take that long for you to accidentally stumble upon the solution! I wouldn’t recommend this game to young children simply because I doubt their undeveloped minds have the ability to process the puzzles here. But if you think you can handle it, and you’re looking for a unique standout among the many Bejeweled and Tetris clones, Crush is a new kind of puzzle game worth checking out.


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Year of Release — 2007

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Answers Network.

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