To solve each puzzle, you don't just switch back and forth from 2D to 3D linearly, like in Paper Mario. You'll have to figure out precisely where to stand and at what angle to face the camera in order to get the right perspective so that flattening the world to 2D will create a traversable path. The camera can be rotated four different ways around you (front, back, and either side) - as well as to a top-down point of view. Even levels that appear straightforward at first can contain a boggling amount of 2D possibilities when you factor in all the different ways you can crush the 3D structure. You'll have to consider all of these possibilities to discover the correct the path in some of the more difficult levels.
Although there are many elements contributing to the gameplay, including items to collect, enemies to kill or avoid, movable objects, blocks with different properties, blocks that make you character jump higher, and so forth, everything is presented clearly in the tutorial. We never once got confused or put off by the amount of things to remember. But just because it's clear, doesn't mean it's easy.
The levels get hard very quickly - a few levels into it we found ourselves resorting to experimenting with camera angles randomly until we found the solution. Luckily, the camera works great and we never found ourselves confused because of awkward camera angles. The puzzles we've encountered so far have been very cleverly crafted, and require careful thinking to solve, without being evilly difficult. Checkpoints also appear mercifully throughout each level, so there are plenty of opportunities to save your progress.
Crush is slated for release on May 29, so look for our review then. Until then, hit the Movies tab to check out some gameplay videos that might shed some light on what all the fuss is about.
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