Planet Crashers 3D|
Being the owner of Nintendo's latest line of gaming systems, I'm used to seeing a large number of downloadable games to choose from. The 3DS is no exception as I already own a few choice titles myself. One of the latest titles to hit the 3DS eShop is Planet Crashers, an interestingly cute dungeon based RPG experience.
Planet Crashers is a turned-based role-playing game that throws one of the youngest and brightest cadets(that's you) of a highly coveted academy to take on a mission to stop an "Unknown Evil" from ruining everyone's picnic filled days by snuffing out the sun. Okay maybe the picnic stuff is a little exaggerated but the plot is pretty much your standard RPG fare. Unlike most modern RPGs that go for the retro turned based option, Planet Crashers got my attention right from the Menu screen.
Before, you even get on your merry way of saving the world you first have to create your own person hero from the initially limited selection of options. Players can choose between playing as a boy or girl which is nice and makes Planet Crashers an excellent starter RPG that isn't gender locked to one side. After that you can fashion your hero by choosing from the rather limited attire and facial features. More become available as you progress though the story so no two player characters should be alike in theory as you can change your look from the main menu at any time.
I mentioned that Planet Crashers is a great starter RPG and that is very much true thanks to the game mechanics used here, Players familiar with titles like Pokémon and even Mario Galaxy to a small extent will be able to get into Planet Crashers. While they game doesn't actually tailor to one game or the other there are functions that would make it seem so. For starters your character levels up like any other RPG out there by successfully winning one-on-one fights with other NPCs across the planets in one of the many dungeons found on each planet.
You only start out with one attack at the beginning of the game but as you level up and complete quests for certain characters you will gain additional attacks like Throw or Mortal Kick to deal damage to your foes. You also initially start out being only able to fight with your fists until you get a weapon. Weapons are usually given as quest rewards and are some of most off the wall weapons that I've seen in a while. Don't be surprised if you get beat down with a carrot while you’re attacking with a pencil. The interesting thing about each attack in Planet Crashers is that instead of just hitting a button and watching the animation for the attack you actually have to pay attention as there are cues in which to hit the "A" button to potentially add more damage to your attacks which is rather nice. As I mentioned, you earn new attacks periodically by doing quests. Much like Pokémon you can only have four attacks equipped at any given time so you have to swap out attacks as you earn them to allow more powerful attacks to be performed instead of your beginning "Strike" attack for instance.
You definitely won't get far in your quest to save the world (and sun) if you don't accept quests from the quest boards found on each planet usually in the vicinity of your house/motel or dungeons. You can take up to 3 quests at any given time but you can only have one active at a time. This is where the game hits sort of a sour note for me and maybe for the more seasoned RPG players out there. Upon completing a quest in Planet Crashers, you usually are always teleported out of whatever dungeon you're currently in (a welcome favor) and back to the quest giver to collect your earnings. The thing that brings the game to a halt for me each and every time you complete a quest its off to your home for the night to save and repeat the process the next day.
What I will say despite my feelings for the quest system is that it does fit into the cheerful atmosphere and presentation of Planet Crashers. The title is obviously geared for an audience far younger than myself though I couldn't help but like the chibi-like exaggerated features of the characters and their weapons. Every character has an oversized head and weapon that helps add to the cheerful locals like a planet made of cheese, cherries and an assortment of sweets. Even the dungeons which are color coded, green, blue and red by their level of difficulty get the same albeit not as pretty detail to help distinguish one planet's dungeons from another.
The 3D features of Planet Crashers do a good job of adding depth to each planet while on their surface but sadly do little in the way of the dungeons themselves. There isn't much in the way of audio besides the generic sound effects and the reasonably enjoyable background music. This is one game that I actually am happy that there is no voice acting because I don't know how much I could take of a character vocally saying *Jingle* at the beginning and end of every sentence.
Planet Crashers allows for you to take the fight to the streets or the world via local and online play. Unfortunately you won't find any co-op story functions in Planet Crashers but what you will find is the ability to pit your character up against another real player's character in one on one combat. This can be fun at times however this will probably get old real quick unless you have lot of friends playing. The overall game will take around 6-7 hours to complete if you don't complete all the random quests which isn't bad for the $10 price tag.
Diving into Planet Crashers, I expected to find a modern RPG experience with tidings of a good old fashioned turned based RPG like what a used to play growing up. For the most part that's exactly what I got. The quest delivery system is extremely slow for my tastes but I think it will be perfect for young newcomers to the RPG genre.