Review: Planet Crashers 3D on the 3DS Nintendo eShop
Late last week Planet Crashers from Renegade Kid re-released on the 3DS via the Nintendo eShop. I got a chance to give this downloadable title a spin, and while it has some issues, I still found it to be a worthwhile gaming experience for its price of $9.99. Planet Crashers in its most basic form is a RPG, and for its petite size it actually packs a ton of role-playing game functionalities. It offers a host of different character customizations, as well as plenty of skills and weapons to play around with.
Planet Crashers’ look is akin to a cross between Super Mario Galaxy with its world traversal system, and Animal Crossing with its bobble head sporting characters. The gameplay does get very repetitive, but at the same time I found it hard to put down as I always wanted to see what I’d get rewarded with for my next level increase. For its $9.99 price tag Planet Crashers has a lot to offer, but it also has its fair share of issues. Please continue on after the break to read our full review to see if Planet Crashers 3D is something you should be downloading to your Nintendo 3DS.
Planet Crashers 3D
EB 7 out of 10 Buddhas
- Addicting gameplay
- Great 3D
- Loads of customization
The Not so Awesome
- Uninspired level design
- Too much backtracking
While playing Planet Crashers (PC) I always found it hard to put the game down even though its overall gameplay design is very repetitive. It has that “one more mission” effect on you like other strategy/RPG games that have come before it. It’s simple to navigate menus and quest system make it very easy for a gamer to get hooked on its formula. PC isn’t your standard RPG with long winded story sections and a confusing Japanese plot, so it’s literally all about quests and ranking up. Sometimes that’s all an RPG needs to be successful, and PC definitely doesn’t fall short in that arena.
Even with its limitations Planet Crashers is hard to put down
I promise that you’ll find yourself wanting to quit this game after a long session only to have that little gamer voice in your head urging you to keep playing. PC definitely has some addictive qualities to it that mute some of its major gameplay issues that we will discuss further in the “Not so Awesome” section of this review.
One of the greatest assets of Planet Crashers for the 3DS is its use of 3D. The whole Super Mario Galaxy world traversal method is made for the third dimension, and it shows in PC. If you’re unfamiliar with SMG it basically puts your character on a spinning globe platform that resembles a log spinner running on a a tree in water. PC employs this same method of getting around each level, which really is suited for 3D visuals. When not roaming the world map you’ll be spending time in the game’s dungeons, which also feature some cool 3D effects. Even its super deformed looking characters bode well in 3D, cementing Planet Crashers as a solid offering for gamers looking for another dimension in their gaming.
Notice the Super Mario Galaxy and Animal Crossing feel? They work well in 3D.
Loads of customization
For a $9.99 downloadable title I was greatly impressed with the amount of character customization that Planet Crashers brings to the table. Right from the get go you’re presented with the game’s character creator, which offers a bevy of options for making your character unique from the next. You can change everything about your hero from head wear, clothing, color, and more. Best of all, as you progress through the game you can unlock even more options for tricking out your character.
In addition to the visual customizations, PC also offers a ton of different options for your character’s skills and weapon sets. You can place up to four different skills at your character’s disposal for use during the game’s battles, which resemble old school RPG fight sequences with your hero and the enemy trading blows based on commands inputted by the gamer. Each one of these skills produce different levels of damage, and each has a unique set of QTEs to keep you engaged in the battle so you can nail your enemy for max damage with each attack.
No two PC heroes will look alike
These skills can become even deadlier with the variety of weapons you can equip as you level up. PC starts you off without a weapon, but after your first few battles you’ll find yourself a banana to use, and eventually more traditional weapons. Just like the style and skill customizations, PC offers plenty of variety with its weapon sets. To further increase your character’s ability to kick a*s you are also given the choice of what skills you want to improve with each level increase you get. These can either make your weapons more dangerous, your character a little more tough, or even making your character speedier. Trust me, for a game of this size I was really impressed with the level of customization that I could tweak my character with.
The Not so Awesome
Uninspired level design
Planet Crashers suffers from a lack of creativity when it comes to its level design, which is sad considering how well the 3D effect works with its spinning globe world traversal. Each different planet only offers a new set of colors with nothing else really making them each stand out. If I were color blind I don’t even know if I’d realize that I was on a new level outside of the fact that I have to warp to it through a portal. I would have liked to have a seen a bit more variety in each planet, but I understand that downloadable titles are limited in size, so maybe that’s why Renegade Kid may have tried to limit the scope of each new level.
Each new planet really only offers a new color palette
Too much backtracking
Planet Crashers most glaring issue is its tendency to rely on backtracking through dungeons to complete quests. At times you will find yourself hitting the same boring dungeon multiple times on each planet, and each trip gets more monotonous than the last. Some quests even require you to go all the way through a dungeon to find your quest item, and then rather than teleporting you back to the beginning so you can reap your rewards, you have to walk all the way back through the dungeon via the same way you came in.
Moments like this really wore on me, and they could be a deal breaker for certain gamers. While the allure of ranking up will keep you going for quite some time, I can tell you that after playing PC for an hour or more I found myself getting nauseated with the dungeon backtracking. I would have rather have seen more smaller dungeons than the larger ones with multiple levels that require you to play through them multiple times. It just seemed as if the developers took a shortcut when it came to mission design, and relied too heavily on re-using old dungeons for new quests.
She meant to say, “Will you accept this quest even though you’ve already been in that dungeon 100 times?”
Planet Crashers may have a cute and cuddly look to it, but don’t mistake its visual tones for an easy gaming experience. This game will kick your a*s, especially early on, which could put off some gamers from the get go. The first dungeon’s enemies will easily over power you if you don’t have a steady supply of health potions to stave off imminent death. Unfortunately, you need money to buy potions, and you lack funds to do so when you first start out, so I found myself having to either leave a current dungeon (more backtracking) to get more potions, or just accept my inevitable death as fate.
Considering that you can’t block enemy attacks, and they never seem to miss, I would have liked their attacks to be a little less vicious so early on in the game. I don’t mind a challenge, but I also don’t like having to buy massive amounts of health potions to get through even the easiest of dungeons. Eventually I leveled up to a point where I didn’t need to use a potion every two seconds to live another day, but I would’ve preferred to have been a little more dominant over my early competition.
The Final Verdict
Planet Crashers re-released on the Nintendo eShop for the 3DS last week, and for its price I think it’s a solid game. Although, its heavy use of dungeon backtracking, and uninspired level design really hamper the overall experience. I loved its use of 3D, and it does offer a level of addiction with its myriad of customizable options, but I really think many gamers will be turned off by its repetitiveness. Considering that it’s only $9.99 I can overlook some of its flaws, but I can’t tell you that this is a must play 3DS experience. For this I give Planet Crasher’s eShop debut an EB 7 out of 10 Buddhas. For a better look at this game please check out its trailer below. You’ve been wondering if this is the right type of downloadable title for you or not…
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