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3DS Games Review
Jan 8, 2013
By Daniel Barron - G4 Canada
Crashmo knows puzzles
With a name like "Crashmo," you may be tempted to think this new 3DS eShop downloadable game features guns, spaceships, or any manner of explosive devices that light up the screen on impact with nearby objects. If that is indeed what you think, you're not even close.
Crashmo is the spiritual successor to Pushmo, and it's a puzzle game through and through. It features the cutesy, pudgy Mallo as he attempts to climb oddly-shaped sets of blocks - the Crashmo from the game's title - to reach the birds on top that serve as each level's goal.
This game is a virtual checklist of everything that a successful puzzle title consists of: an idea that's easy to learn but difficult to master, simple controls that allow you to focus on solving the problem at hand, additions that pop up throughout the game to keep things from becoming boring, and even a studio that allows you to create your own Crashmo.
For the first few levels, you'll be simply pushing and pulling Crashmo pieces as you fight gravity and your own feeble mind (well, that's my experience, anyway) as you try to reach the curmudgeonly-looking bird that's perched up top.
It's not long, though, before new features are added into the equation: warp pipes, floating pieces that don't follow the rules of gravity, and doors are just some of the things that will help sharpen your mind, but not before they make you feel like your brain is turning to mush.
After a few training levels that get your confidence up, it's not before the game shows off its punishing level of difficulty. Although you can get a few refresher tips from your old friend Papa Blox, there isn't much to help you with each specific level. You have to figure it out using the ol' noggin.
Although the steep learning curve should have been smoothed out, Crashmo has that awesome ability to make you feel like a million bucks when you do finally figure out a puzzle. That sense of accomplishment is second to none, and is the only thing that can make you forget about how long you just spent staring at the screen figuring out the solution, or how many times you reset your current Crashmo in order to undo your embarrassing attempts at solving the puzzle.
When you've had enough of taking on the puzzles provided, you can always make your own using the easy-to-use level editor. Once you've created a puzzle and solved it to prove it's not just a lesson in futility, you can create a QR code that you can then share with friends. It's a great feature that could easily add hours of additional playtime.
Regardless of the difficulty - something many puzzle fans relish - Crashmo is a superb title on the 3DS eShop. The cute and colour presentation is sure to seem downright ironic as the game sends you into fits of rage, but that's a good thing, right?
Fluidity: Spin Cycle
3DS "Fluidity" makes a splash
You'll probably look silly as you play through Fluidity: Spin Cycle, what with you turning your 3DS every which way - even upside-down - while trying to activate numerous switches by pressing buttons on the system, but it's such an engrossing title, there's a good chance you won't even notice anyone who might be staring at you.
The follow-up to Fluidity on the Nintendo Wii, Spin Cycle has players controlling Eddy, the heroic puddle of water (?) who traverses the pages of books in search of his Rainbow Spirit sisters that are locked up and hidden in each level.
Eddy is controlled using the 3DS' gryoscope, meaning he moves every time the player tilts and turns the handheld system. While some stages only require you to move left and right, other levels require you to turn the 3DS 180 degrees and back again in order to reach the final goal.
As you can probably guess, the controls take some getting used to. Not simply because you're turning the 3DS every which way, but because you need to use the shoulder buttons, face buttons, and touch screen at the same time. The funny thing is, a lot of the time it works well.
Some levels that require particular finesse can be a little frustrating, but overall, it's simply a matter of employing a steady hand (or two) - a skill needed in many games throughout the decades. Fluidity: Spin Cycle certainly isn't the first to ask players to be precise.
Not only will you be picking up extra droplets of water to help you stay alive as you try to avoid fire and other hazards, but you'll get powerups that will help you beat later levels, or find secrets in past levels. You'll be able to freeze yourself, blow yourself up, and turn into steam, among other things, all in the name of unlocking all the Water Spirits and secrets the game offers.
Beyond the secret items residing in most levels, you'll also be graded from one to five stars, depending on how much water you collect and keep and how quickly you finish each level, so completionists have plenty to keep them busy.
The best thing about Fluidity: Spin Cycle, is just how clever the level design is. It's like you'll be playing through one Rube Goldberg machine after another, and some of the designs are downright astonishing once you've figured out what you need to do.
As cool as the levels are, the real longevity of the game involves playing the same levels over and over in order to beat your best time or find all the hidden stuff, which knocks its overall quality somewhat.
Even so, Fluidity: Spin Cycle is a really neat and unique addition to the 3DS' already-impressive lineup of downloadable puzzle games. Seek this one out if you're looking for something new. Just forget about using headphones while you're playing.
Fluidity: Spin Cycle
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