It goes without saying that Nintendo’s handheld needs games. As the system has been out for roughly eight months. one genre -- more than others -- that could use a little kick on the butt is the one that found such an impressive home on Nintendo’s previous handheld: the RPG.
From the minds at Renegade Kid, makers of the visually impressive Dementium series on the original DS, Planet Crashers 3D tosses out the dark demonic look for a cutesy family friendly vibe. Twisted Santa Clauses, a Halloween planet, and an unknown evil set on snuffing out the sun: these are just some of the bewildering things to encounter when Planet Crashers 3D smashes its way onto the Nintendo 3DS next year.
Planet Crashers 3D (Nintendo 3DS)
Developer: Renegade Kid
Publisher: UTV Ignition Games
Release: March, 2012
At first glance, Planet Crashers 3D recalls found memories of some of Nintendo’s finest games. It sports the charm of Animal Crossing and mixes it with the rotating planet terrains of the Super Mario Galaxy series. The worlds I saw were bright and colorful and full of eccentric characters that should strike a chord with anyone looking for a light-hearted RPG romp on Nintendo’s little device.
Though Planet Crashers 3D supports a joyful look from top to bottom, RPG fans should pay attention. Underneath the modest hood is a fairly deep character customization system that allows for a lot of freedom when designing a protagonist for saving the universe. There’s much to adjust; from eye and skin color all the way to hair and outfit style. It’s not at the level of a Saints Row: The Third character creator, but you will be surprised at the various amounts of freaks that can be birthed in this humble system.
Once my hero was ready, I dropped into the game’s home area, Lush Greeny, and began to explore the vivid surroundings. As I ran around, I was really taken back by how impressive the depth of the 3D is. With small planet worlds to explore, the constant rotation allows for the background layers to stack and increase the 3D sensation. The graphics may be on the more simple side of things, but each of the three worlds I saw had its own distinct personality which helped make them memorable.
The second world I saw, Haunted Reach, evoked a very Nightmare Before Christmas feel in both its look and music. Running around town I talked to a few of the NPCs -- which carry the typical banter one would find in an RPG -- checked out a few shops, and eventually took a quick dive into one of the dungeon areas. As you collect quests from characters or a quest board in each area -- in the hopes to learn enough about the threatening evil to progress to the next world-- eventually you will make your way into the game’s main areas for combat.
Inside Haunted Reach's dungeon I encountered a pair of bizarre and skinny Santa Claus-looking enemies. Combat in Planet Crashers 3D is performed in a traditional turn-based manner, so anyone familiar with the genre's tactics should find combat a breeze.
These were the only enemies I encountered, but I was deviously surprised that I was thwarting the likes of a jolly old St. Nicholas with a giant pencil rather than the typical fodder that is expected. It’s the little quirks like this that remind that the same folks who made the haunting Dementium games haven’t lost their creative touch even when changing up genres and themes.
Planet Crashers 3D is a warm and friendly dungeon crawl that supports visual style made for the Nickelodeon crowd. Dismissing this game on looks alone may be a big mistake as there is a deep customizable RPG to be found underneath all the cute fuzziness. My time with it was short, but the nostalgic feeling it imparted has put the game on my radar. And really, why not as it covers two things the world could always use more of: RPGs and 3DS games.