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Crazy Construction - 3DS Download Review

Game Info
Crazy Construction

3DS Download | G-STYLE | 1 Player | Out Now (North America) | $4.99
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25th April 2013; By KnucklesSonic8

For the past number of weeks, your neighbourhood has had an increase in noise pollution because of a new building project, and being the curious sort that you are, you decide to get a closer look. But as you peer through the metal fence, you're in a state of disbelief over the carelessness that characterizes the work area: Leaking cement trucks, electrical wires not in their proper compartments, tubes lying on the ground with no real organization, and building materials being tossed down from a few stories high without the use of a crane. Without further scrutiny, the disarray existing here is enough that the site would fail even a casual safety inspection.

    Before getting properly acquainted, hearing the words "Crazy Construction" may prompt this sort of imagery. But in truth, its personality isn't quite so chaotic. In fact, the use of the word "crazy" refers not to the lack of safety measures, but instead the range of unusual materials at your disposal. While this understanding does nullify the referenced lack of stability, don't let that disappoint. Though it is not distinctly wild in what it does, Crazy Construction's uncommon ideas make for an adequate Tetris-inspired offering.

    Players are appointed to a four-person task force immersed in an unprecedented construction project. Forget saving the world from nefarious minions, construction is where real heroes develop their sense of justice -- or so the game infers. A silly storyline is used to sustain the ten-chapter undertaking, with the group having their own theme song and everything as they come up against a team of cronies who set out to halt the project. Each level has you stacking a zany selection of themed materials on a platform to reach to a specified elevation. One by one, items fall from the 3D Screen, and either A and B or the shoulder buttons are used for full rotation as you escort them to the platform on the Touch Screen. While you don't have a fast drop action as you do in Tetris, you can increase the rate of descent by holding Down on the Circle Pad or +Control Pad (whichever you use as your main control method).

    What you're working towards, as part of the aptly-named Sky High Construction Project, is
a gargantuan tower built entirely out of recycled material. I can just picture the enthusiasm during the initial proposal meeting! Materials include ordinary tools you'd find on a construction site, but this later expands to household furniture, Egyptian relics, musical instruments, action figures, half-eaten chocolate bars, and a whole lot more. I'm sure this wasn't the intention, but the collection sure made me think of Paper Mario: Sticker Star.

    The developers have also referenced their earlier DSiWare titles in Moke Moke, Invasion of Alien Blobs, and Galaxy Saver by including plush toys, moai heads and space parts from these games. While some items have quirks that need to be considered prior to placement (gears being among the hardest to deal with), item properties are stable on a general front and the physics perform as they should, not being super sensitive or super stiff. The only exception, I'd say, are wheels, as they only start rolling around when another item touches them, initially sticking to the ground securely as if they had a flat bottom. 

    The more items that fit onto the platform, the more points you'll earn, with up to eight Building Points awarded depending on weight and size. Following the five stages that take place in each chapter (the last of which is a boss encounter), these are tallied for an overall ranking, so while you can aim for a simple pass at 40 Points, it's more likely that you'll try to take on as much load as possible without the stack tipping over. In terms of strategy, everything is left up to you in terms of how items are to be stacked, but there are some platform types that encourage different approaches, such as when there are gaps in the middle, slopes at the edges, or when the entire platform adheres to a triangular formation. But the platform doesn't teeter, so in all cases it is still about symmetry and balance. 

Any item that falls over the edge will add to what's termed the 'Nuisance Meter.' This stays with you across each set of stages, with the whole structure collapsing if this meter reaches to full capacity and thus forcing a re-do of the entire chapter. Building Points earned by the end of each level go towards shrinking the meter's level, giving you another reason to bulk up your supply so you don't have as much heat to deal with in the next task.

    The stockpiling premise truthfully isn't as insane as the game suggests. Sure, disaster can strike when making a bad placement, but you won't really find yourself on-edge or gripping to the handheld harder out of sheer nervousness. And the thing is, the game knows full well that its mechanics wither away after a while, as evidenced by its reliance on gimmicks found on the upper screen.

    Done to provide interference, these gimmicks include both stationary and moving thunder clouds that will revoke control of a respective item, horizontal wind tunnels, and vortexes that swap out one item for another. The only shred of a real difficulty curve stems from these inclusions, with boss battles providing further offset through random status effects of heightened speed or uncontrolled rotations. Admittedly, these become, well, a nuisance in later chapters, just because elements are at times arranged in a narrow, almost devious fashion. But for what it's worth, these disruptions prevent the game's stale moments from consuming the entire excursion.

The four builders (and other NPCs too) are portrayed as chibi-style illustrations and models, with settings grounding the more wacky elements by way of inoffensive, 2D-only visuals. While the tune that's used the most is fitting for the introduction of a superhero, heard again and again, it loses its effect. On the other hand, the final showdown theme is a more energetic highlight. As well, individual clashing and activation sound effects are applied to each item, heard as they make their landing. It doesn't infuse the game with much personality (as it is, the game merely scrapes by in this area), but these small touches help with a more cartoony vibe.

    After completing Story Mode, all that will be left to tackle are chapter rankings and the Endless Mode that then becomes available. And I definitely wouldn't say the game has a pull you'll feel impelled to return to, even as a light-on-the-brain affair. But taken in smaller chunks, the overall value isn't bad.

    Don't go into Crazy Construction thinking it'll be some out-of-control puzzler. Considering its name, it's actually level-headed. The fun factor is a tad clogged and it doesn't keep the game running for very long, with the included gimmicks simultaneously helping and hindering the game's cause. But the overall twist is entertaining for a short while, that much is true. It may seem odd to group it in with Shin'en's Art of Balance TOUCH!, but if you had a blast with those mechanics, then you'll likely find a fraction of that relaxation-meets-tension mix in Crazy Construction.

19/30 - Okay/Average

Gameplay 7/10 - Premise made zany by items, some flexibility in how you approach platforms, physics work fine, relies on gimmicks to sustain interest
Presentation 7/10 - Chibi-style characters and superhero themes help in the way of personality, fairly average visuals, good music but repetitive
Enjoyment 3/5 - Minimal strategy present, tension not gripping, stale at times, disruptions both help and annoy, still mildly entertaining
Extra Content 2/5 - Story Mode will last a few hours, better taken in chunks, can aim for Gold Medals on all chapters, Endless Mode, value not bad

Equivalent to a score of 63% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System

Review by KnucklesSonic8

Crazy Construction
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