"Ad Nauseam Routine."
Developer: Renegade Kid
Publisher: UTV Ignition Games
Release Date: July 26, 2012
It’s not often that a digital download on the Nintendo 3DS launches with a double-digit price tag. Most of these smaller titles cut their cost according to their size, but Planet Crashers will have none of it. Sadly though, the game misunderstands the term content for a repetitive dungeon crawler with little added value. Despite a good first impression, this ad nauseam routine will not match up to its great expectations.
With a cartoony outlook of saturated colors and cute, round outlines, Planet Crashers sure feels like a cheerful game. Players run on planet globes that fit a certain theme and talk to folks or visit the board for quests to fulfill in one of the many dungeons available. In these dungeons, they’ll meet with other warriors blocking their path. A turn-based battle ensues that gives each player a turn at whacking the other upside the head with a wacky weapon, such as a frying pan or a giant fish. Once won, the cycle repeats until enough experience is gained for a new level that heightens either speed, strength or defense. Sporadically, a new skill will also get added and from there the motions go round and round and round. Nothing will ever change, not even the cutesy background track.
Combat itself does have a refined gimmick. When choosing a particular skill, a player needs to time a prompt just right to unleash that attack’s full potential. Since the challenge rating of Planet Crashers is rather intense, timing these events will be vital for survival through some lengthier dungeons. On the other hand, money will need to be invested into potions primarily, as the other objects work mainly inside combat and require taking an extra hit in order to use.
The main issue with the crippling repetition is that Planet Crashers applies it to almost everything and that straight from the start. It’s formulaic to a point: Take a quest, go into a dungeon, fight with the most powerful skill, complete the quest and repeat. Anything from characters, environments and dungeons seem as if merely receiving a new themed skin each time. This, combined with the perpetual cycle of the same commands, makes Planet Crashers beyond dull. It’s as if the developers unlocked the formula to create the basics of the game’s breadth and then stopped trying completely, to create a reason to play. Merely content alone isn’t always enough and this game proves it.
Making matters worse, new blips of content such as skills or weapons are spread much too far apart, leaving little incentive to keep playing. Since unlocking something new will swiftly turn into the new routine, the pleasure induced by this addition is short-lived.
No, Planet Crashers is not worth the time and effort. Sadly, its appealing large world is only worth appreciating from afar. Within, it’s a monotonous chore of inputting the correct prompt and repeating oneself to the point of redundancy. With virtually no drive to play it, it doesn’t even reach above any given Flash game with a similar mechanic that would only require 5 minutes a day to fulfill the need to play. It’s a damn shame.