Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Crush! [RadianGames] - $0.99

We have a handful of favorite developers here at The App Shack. One of them is the insanely talented studio of RadianGames. With their previous titles; Super Crossfire, Ballistic SE, Fireball SE, Inferno+, Slydris, Bombcats and Gobs Of Fun reaching quite a few iOS gamers with some of which being named as the best of best in their respective genres, RadianGames seems to have decided to go more towards the puzzle genre as of late. Their most recent title, Crush!, fits in the same category as Slydris and their title before Crush!, Bombcats, is another puzzler, focusing more on physics than quick addictive gameplay. But even if you’re not into the puzzling genre, you should keep in mind how amazingly polished RadianGames previous shooter titles have been and know that that professionalism and same production value has been carried over to their puzzle titles. And Crush! is yet another prime example of this.

Crush!, like Slydris, is a block based puzzler, but of a different nature. Instead of trying to clear multiple lines by moving blocks around one at a time, you’re tasked with removing one of three different colored chunks of blocks from the full ‘stack‘. While the mechanics are far from original, RadianGames have taken the type of gameplay found in titles like Collapse, reMovem, Block Fall and others, and expanded on it quite a bit giving players 3 different game modes and 5 different power-ups as well as some other nifty little mechanics that keep the gameplay fresh and feeling original in an otherwise stale genre.

While playing and clearing out groups of blocks each tap that you make moves the whole stack of blocks down further. This, on top of the stack moves down at a constant rate. Both of these speeds increase as you get further into the game, with the speeds displayed on the bottom of the screen. So while you may start out with the stack moving down a couple of spaces every time you remove a group of blocks, it will quickly start moving down to 2 and a half spaces, then 3, and so on, also while speeding up the constant movement. 

This comes into play with each one of the 3 different gameplay modes. Think has a very slow constant drop speed while having the stack move down large distances with each tap that takes out a group of blocks. This gives you the time to actually think about which group of blocks you want to take out, but penalizes you for not making good decisions on a regular basis. With the next mode, React, the constant drop speed is fast, but the burst when removing a group of blocks is a lot shorter so that you can make a lot of quick decisions without pushing the stack of blocks into the bottom of the screen right away. Lastly, there’s Crush mode, which is a sort of mixture of the two with the stack moving at a medium constant speed and having a medium drop distance. All of this makes for some pretty varied gameplay across the modes. 

At the beginning of each game you’ll also be able to choose one of five power-ups. Remix mixes up every row of blocks and drops the whole stack of bricks down a bit. Slow briefly slows the stack down, Chop removes the lowest 25 blocks, Solo sets 3 rainbow blocks onto the stack. Rainbow blocks are blocks that can connect groups of blocks. Say you have a group of black blocks touching a rainbow block and on the other side of the rainbow block, a group of white blocks. Touching either the black or white group of blocks will remove all of the colors that are touching the rainbow block. Getting these pieces into the right position is a game opening skill that definitely comes in handy once you learn to work with them. The last two power=ups are Blast and Duet. Blast removes 1 color from the stack and Duet turns the most common color in the stack into the other two. Each power-up is activated once you reach a certain score and if you have a power-up stored, you can use it as a sort of ‘extra life’ that will clear the last couple rows off the stack if it hit’s the bottom. However, this also makes it so that you can not charge up the power-up again for the rest of your game. This is all made even more complex by having a unique ‘wrapping’ feature. This connects both edges of the stack to each other, allowing for more thought out and challenging gameplay. 

GameCenter support drives the gameplay with 5 leaderboards, one for the amount of blocks you can remove in Think Mode, another for how long you can survive in React Mode, both how long you can survive and how many blocks you can remove in Crush Mode and an experience board for how much experience you’ve earned throughout the whole time you’ve played the game. There are also 10 hard to unlock achievements for you achievement hunters out there. RadianGames have always put out quality games, and Crush! is no exception. Priced at $0.99, if you’re into the genre, this is definitely a game that will have a long life-span on your device. I can only hope that RadianGames will wind up putting out more of these addictive action puzzlers in the future. 


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