|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Capybara Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Capybara / Player X||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 8, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Maria Montoro
When the iPhone was released, I don't think many people had anticipated how powerful of a gaming machine it would be. In just a couple of years, the iPhone has become not only an invincible multifunction device but also an amazing moneymaker. Youngsters are getting rich by developing simple applications for it, and indie developers have found an outlet to make their work known and deeply cared for. I've had Critter Crunch on my iPod Touch for quite a while, and no other game has got me hooked as much as this one did - on the iPod, that is.
Feeling lucky and appreciated, Capybara Games decided to launch the creature-munching application for BlackBerry platforms about nine months later, and now, over a year since its initial release, we all have the pleasure of playing Critter Crunch on our beloved but underplayed PS3. But, is it the same wonderful experience we've come to love on the handhelds? All you have to do is read on to find out the verdict!
First of all, for those uninitiated in this delightfully addictive food chain game, let me explain: Critter Crunch is a puzzle adventure to be played at a nerve-racking pace. On the Island of Krunchatoa, you control the ravenous Biggs; the goal is to feed him with luscious jewels formed by putting together explosive food chains. The screen is divided in a number of columns, which varies between levels, and in each of them line up a few different creatures. Biggs' long tongue does it all - just move back and forth with the D-Pad grabbing and spitting out the bubbly creatures so they can all be fed before Biggs gets fed.
The medium size critters love to eat the little ones; give them two of them and they'll just burst out of happiness. For the bigger creatures it's quite a feast - you can give them two medium guys or just one of them that's all chubby after munching on one of the little ones. Either way, they're all meant to burst. Better yet - if a critter explodes next to one or more of the same color, they will all go off at the same time! All these chain reactions help to fill up the hunger bar and raise your score. The faster you fill up the bar and the more chains you do, the better results you'll get in the level. Just one little thing to keep in mind: the creatures keep on coming down, so there's no time to lose!
Though the aforementioned creatures are the most vital to the mechanics of the game, numerous other creatures will also make their presence in the form of rainbows, bombs, etc. allowing for varied chain reactions caused by nearby explosions or by throwing critters at them. Food chains also grant you special power-ups, such as watermelon seeds that let you shoot and pop creatures or garlic cloves that make your breath stinky enough that it pushes everyone up one row.
Critter Crunch has a large map containing several areas with multiple levels. They're all part of the grand adventure, and even though most stages are based in the frantic adventure mode found in the original game, there's also a nice mix of puzzle and challenge stages. Puzzle stages get tough quickly; they give you a given number of moves you can do, and based on that, you have to calculate the chain reactions that will clear the whole screen. Challenge stages have you play in unexpected ways; some of them are crazy, like the one where you have to fill up the hunger bar without causing any food chains, or the one where you protect two little hatchlings from being eaten by the big guys, all the while you keep popping creatures and filling up the bar.
In addition, to the Adventure, Puzzle, and Challenge modes, there's a Survival mode to be unlocked after you get past a certain area of the game. Here you'll just play and play until you're ahem dead. It's certainly not as appealing as achieving success in each of the individual stages, but it's another way to play.