Squish and the Corrupted Crystal Review
Squish and the Corrupted Crystal is a platformer which has the main character, Squish, navigate through many levels to reach the giant crystal at the centre of the island. The crystal, which has brought harmony and propsperity to the land, has been hit by a mysterious object which has corrupted it. Squish must now save his friends and hopefully purify the crystal to bring peace back to the land.
Replayability: Squish and the Corrupted Crystal has replayability due to the vast amount of content bundled into the game. Squish and the Corrupted Crystal contains 5 main worlds and 51 total levels. Most of the levels in the game contain 3 objectives: Gathering all 50 crystals in the stage, finding the secret token and obtaining a gold medal. Crystals are strewn throughout the stage along the path that the player must traverse to get to the goal. As the player collects these crystals, they will be “banked” and the cumulative total of crystals collected across all levels will be used to unlock more stages. Most levels also have a secret token which is normally hidden in hard to reach locations that requires skill to reach. There are also gold medals which can be acquired. To obtain a gold medal, the player must complete the stage within a set time limit, these times are extremely tight, and thus require speed and precision to obtain. Once all 3 objectives are complete, the stage will light up gold signifying total completion. In addition to the 3 objectives, there are also hidden exits. In some levels, there may be more than one path the player can take and some of the harder paths lead to alternative exits. Upon completing the stage through an alternative exit, the player will unlock additional bonus stages in the hub world to play.
Versatility and Gameplay Mechanics: Squish and the Corrupted Crystal starts out as a typical platformer which consists of running over flat surfaces and hills, jumping over obstacles, and rolling into a ball to get through small gaps. However, Squish and the Corrupted Crystal changes the formula by introducing new gameplay mechanics after every world. For example, after completing a world you may obtain an ability to climb up large vertical walls or climb along the ceiling, future stages will then include this mechanic in them to freshen up the gameplay. This is further seen in the last world, where after obtaining all the new powers, many levels will require you to switch between using all the new abilities the player has learnt throughout the game. So what one a simple game which consisted of running, jumping and rolling now contain 4 extra additional mechanics to overcome obstacles seen in stages.
Uninspiring Music: The music in Squish and the Corrupted Crystal is generally upbeat to match the charming art style of the game. Whilst the music does fit the atmosphere of the world Squish takes place in, it is very quick to notice that the same music is often repeated throughout many of the levels. The only times the song diverges from this formula is when the player reaches a different world, fights a boss, or plays a special stage. Due to the repetitive nature of the soundtrack, it often detracts from the gaming experience due to hearing the same beat over and over again as you proceed through the levels of a world. This is further reinforced as the player attempts to repeat levels multiple times for the additional tokens, crystals or gold medals.
Glitchy Nature: Squish and the Corrupted Crystal feels somewhat unpolished with its numerous glitches. Many enemies have incorrect hitboxes, causing the player to get hit and die despite not touching the enemy. Additionally, gameplay elements introduced in the later levels also have associated problems. The water ability that allows branchs to grow sometimes causes players to clip through it and end up on the opposite unintended side resulting in a death or becoming stuck. The same can be said with the magnetism ability. The magnetism ability allows the player to flip metal platforms and to stick to conveyor belts as a mode of transportation. The magnetism mechanic in relation to sticking to the conveyor belt is inherently broken. If you do not activate the magnetism power whilst being in the centre of the belt, you’ll fall to your death. This is another example of the unpolished nature of the game, which mainly revolves around the hitboxes for the enemies and physical objects.
Lack of story: With a name like Squish and the Corrupted Crystal one would assume that there might be a story behind the game, but apart from the opening and ending cinematic the player is given no real dialogue to expand the world in which the game takes place in. After every boss battle, the player is simply told to move on and rescue Squish’s next friend. This formulaic cycle is repeated throughout the game until all the friends are saved. The story leaves much to be desired since the game has an interesting premise and unique characters.
Despite the downsides described in Squish and the Corrupted Crystal, the game goes beyond what is expected of a traditional platformer. Although the game may be glitchy and lack a fundemental story, it is obvious that Squish and the Corrupted Crystal is intended as more of a gameplay-oriented game over a story-based one. Squish and the Corrupted Crystal offers a lot of replayability due to the high abundance of stages and the many objectives the player has to complete throughout the game, compounding this with the additional “powers” the player obtains, it provides a lot of enjoyability.
Squish and the Corrupted Crystal was developed and published by Cheat Code Studios as part of the ID@Xbox program. The game released on Xbox One [reviewed] and PC (Steam) on September 5th, 2017 and August 8th, 2017 respectively. A press review copy was provided for The Hidden Levels. Many studios submit copies for site review but this is in no way factored into our review scores. Games are scored on their individual merits and our rating system is explained here.
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