Review by horror_spooky
When compared to Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network can hardly compete. I'm not a Microsoft "fanboy" by any means, but that's just the truth. Microsoft has nabbed timed DLC exclusivity for juggernaut franchises like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto, plus the service is complemented by the Indie marketplace, and a lot more variety. However, there are certain games on PSN that aren't available on the Xbox 360 that are very good games. Critter Crunch is one of those titles.
Critter Crunch is a puzzle game in which characters control a frog-like creature. You move the creature from right to left, completing the puzzles with a food-chain gimmick. The smaller creatures need to be fed to the creatures that are somewhat larger, and those to the ones that are somewhat larger as well. It's a simple mechanic that has been used a million times. It's a fun gimmick that works well in a puzzle game of this nature.
One thing that's a positive and a negative about Critter Crunch is that it constantly reinvents itself with each level. The good thing about this is that it constantly gives players new challenges to topple, but the bad thing is that it keeps Critter Crunch from getting its own identity. It also creates pacing issues, making the game boring and disjointed during longer playing sessions.
The little wrenches that the game throws into the puzzle system vary greatly and some work better than others. Poisonous bugs result in negative points being acquired. Glowing bugs add more points. There are also big bomb bugs that create explosions and kill all the bugs around it on the board. Throughout the entire game, new things like this are thrown into the mix, to varying degrees of success.
There are different game modes to mix things up a bit as well. There is the Adventure Mode, which serves as a tutorial to introduce you to all the little gameplay mechanics throughout the entire game. There is also a puzzle mode that requires you to clear the board while only using a certain number of turns. Challenge mode requires the board to be cleared completely with no respawning lines. Survival Mode requires players to keep surviving rounds of puzzles without losing. Adventure Mode is probably the most monotonous gameplay mode, but the other modes add a nice amount of variety.
Critter Crunch excels the most when it comes to the game's presentation. The game uses a very cute, anime-like visual template. The design is really neat and cute. The game runs very crisp and fast, and the graphics are beautiful. The colors are bright and vibrant and gorgeous. Little fake factoids are sprinkled throughout the game to add to the presentation and the game's faux universe. It's like on the WWE when they do those "Did You Know" things, except the information is about the cute little critters you control while playing the game. The audio is similarly cute and has a silly vibe. The game really is dorky, but in a cute way.
To keep the replayability up, the developers added a multiplayer mode. While it can take a very long time to find a match, a major plus side I have seen for PSN is that it's much easier to find people playing even very old games thanks to the fact that PSN is for free. While at the time of this writing the PSN is down due to an attack from cyber terrorists, when it comes back up, it probably won't be all that hard to find a match online. Critter Crunch also features offline multiplayer as well in split-screen. The multiplayer is alright, if not terribly unique.
Critter Crunch is your run-of-the-mill puzzle game with a fantastic presentation. The gameplay isn't going to blow minds, but it's a solid, fun PSN title. When PSN gets back up and you're looking for a fun puzzle game to enjoy in bursts, then look no further than Critter Crunch.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 05/12/11
Game Release: Critter Crunch (US, 10/08/09)
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