Game – Planet Crashers (Rated E10+)
Version – 3DS eShop ($9.99)
Obtained – Review copy from UTV Ignition
When you first think about it, who would not want a portable whimsical 3D RPG from Renegade Kid, the same developer who brought us Mutant Mudds? It sounds like a winning combination, but when you really get down to it, does it hold up or crash itself?
Story & Plot
When you start up the game, like most others, you are introduced to the main character and storyline. The main character is yourself, in fact, and you are able to customize him or her right from the start. This is a good way to begin a story, because you are immediately attached to this character. Beyond that, though, all the story and dialogue takes place in written form. I will honestly say that the only reason I remotely paid attention to this was for the sake of this review, as it got really boring quickly.
Supposedly, you are a graduate from the Planet Crashers Academy. An intern from the academy, who goes by the name Jinkle-bottom, informs you that an evil power has emerged with the goal of taking out the sun. You are in charge of stopping the evil by traveling from one planet to the next, avoiding or fighting every enemy that tries to stop you on your quest. This in itself actually seems quite fun, and it should be, but something gets lost along the way.
I believe where it really falls apart is the meaningless “quests” you must do during your journey. They involve things like recovering ice cream for a person in town. To accomplish this quest, you must go to the appropriate location. That is basically it. Sure, you need to fight or run from enemies along the way, but in the end, you are just going the the location, then transporting back to the one who sent you on your quest. To top this off, you can only take on one quest at a time, even if they involve the same location. This makes for a very tedious game that gets old soon after you begin. In fact, you begin to forget the main story or plot early on, because it seems the game is equally about finding lost items for forgetful residents.
Gameplay & Controls
The game takes place on the top screen of the 3DS, while the bottom touch-screen houses the menu, map, and other game information. This works well, as it clears the top screen for gameplay. However, in an odd move, the game does not support touch-controls. In order to access the menu, you must first tap X or Y, then it becomes active. At that point, you use the buttons, control pad, and Circle Pad to navigate and make your selections. The menu system is fairly important to the game, because like many RPG’s, you will level-up and gain items over time. You need to access them quickly, which is tough, when you cannot simply touch the screen.
As play the game, though, you control your character with the Circle Pad or control pad. I prefer the former, because you are in a 3D environment. Most other action only comes into play when you are in combat or dialogue. In that case, you make your selection and then use the A button to choose it. In combat, you can use skills or items, or you can also run away. If you run away, though, you will leave one of your items behind, so be careful. Speaking of running, it was good to find a lack of random-battles in this game. Some RPG’s are loaded with them as you traverse the land, but Planet Crashers allows you to attempt to run from approaching enemies. This does help when you are trying to complete a quest as fast as possible.
The game also contain local and online multiplayer modes. I was unfortunately unable to experience local, because I do not know anyone else who owns the game. Most times that I tried to play online, I did not have anyone join my room. In fact, of the many times I went online, I only saw a few others playing. When I tried to join them, I would sometimes have errors, and other times, they would destroy me. So, if you want to play online, be sure to level-up! Multiplayer matches are simple, though, as they are just one battle. It seems, as well, that you do not have the option to specifically battle friends either. So, unless you see each other randomly, you might not be able to play your long-distance friend.
Graphics & Sound
The camera is always fixed in an Animal Crossing type of view. In fact, that is exactly what this game resembles. The rolling land and cutesy graphics look very similar to the later AC games. Unfortunately, this also means the jagged angles are also present. This does not make the game look horrible, but it definitely could look better in the graphics department.
The 3D is done well, and it is not jarring. In fact, it fits well with the game’s style. Even said, you can play the game just as well in 2D, as nothing is lost in gameplay when taking away the depth of field.
On the audio side of things, the game sounds good. However, you will probably get tired of hearing the same 25 second loops over and over again. I know there are limitations with downloadable titles, but the music needs to change at least between over-worlds and dungeons. The only time you get a break is during combat, which usually does not last long.
SCORE: 2.5 out of 5
On the surface, Planet Crashers has many components to make a great lengthy game, and it is rather good in very short bursts. However, the tedious quests, mediocre battles, boring dialogue, and repetitive music left me wanting to put it down and move on. Multiplayer could have somewhat saved it, but because of low adoption numbers, you are left playing by yourself most of the time, which is really quite boring.