RELEASE DATE: 10/2009
PUBLISHER: Capybara Games
ESRB RATING: E for Everyone
Want to play a fun puzzle game? Give Critter Crunch a try. This lighthearted game will be an easy transition for any Tetris, Bejeweled, Bust-a-Move or Dr. Mario player. Instantly charming, fun and challenging, this is a colorful downloadable you'll play again and again.
In a gaming world invested with insufficient "casual games" it's nice to find a good, quality product like Critter Crunch. Judging by the hand-drawn animation graphic style this looks like a game that was a labor of love to create. You are an uber rare species called a Biggsliocaucus (Biggs) that is essential to the ecosystem of this enchanting Krunchatoa Island in which you dwell. Sounds kind of silly? The story very much is, but that doesn't matter this is a puzzle game at heart and the game play very much over shadows any story line involved no matter how cute.
The game is played with Biggs below a game grid made up of vines. Along the vines are scrolling waves of critters that are descending upon you. By maneuvering the critters you can pop them and hold off their advance. Grabbing critters into your mouth with your long, sticky tongue then spitting them elsewhere on the game grid to move them. You can feed smaller critters to larger ones. Filling up a critter with two other critters will cause it to pop. Popping the critters helps you clear the game's grid and they drop jewels. Collecting the fallen jewels will help you fill your hunger bar. Filling the hunger bar will beat the level. Continue popping critters on the vines before they descend upon you.
Critters also come in different colors that you can use to cause a chain reaction when you line them up right. Popping a pink critters next to a row of five other pink critters will pop them all. Pop eight or more for a bonus involving Bigg's son Smalls and "barfing". The hierarchy of the different critters comes into play when you line up critters in threes that can all eat one another. This is called a "Food Chain". Food Chains are basically score multipliers and will temporarily boost the value of your scores.
The game is a high scoring bonanza that adds many additional critter types and objects making the process harder or to give you an edge. Objects like "Paint" that can change up the colors of the critters or an "Anvil" you can use to drop on a competitor, knocking them out for a few seconds. Additional critters are vegetables, bombs, and hatchlings that add extra elements to the game play making it increasingly more complicated. For example, vegetables won't eat meat (of course) and have to be popped using an adjacent like-colored critter. The levels can get overwhelming very fast in the more challenging levels which will have you grinding your teeth.
Bonus puzzle solving levels encourage you to eliminate a static set up of critters using as little moves as possible. Others will require you to eliminate the critter swarm in a short amount of time. Some of these puzzles require you to get critter chains together while other require you to tighten your thinking cap and pull off some smooth moves.
While it isn't an entirely original game, Critter Crunch has a home on my PS hard drive. Fast paced and fun is how I would describe it to someone interested in buying it. Great game to play after the pounding of gunfire from your first person shooter leaves you exhausted. Break it out when you have people over and they will be clamoring for their turn. It's a bargain at $6.99 (or free with PS Plus), the replay value alone, will have you coming back for many more critter popping sessions. Finished the adventure mode?
Go back and finish those puzzle levels you skipped Give the online competition a try in a head to head or cooperative match, online players are very good but you'll adapt quickly.
Affectionately known as Critter Crunchers in my house