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Crush Crush Review

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Crush Crush starts fast and with severe injury.

If that statement gave you mental whiplash, then it sets you up surprisingly well for the remainder of this review, as well as the game itself.

kelly-sikkema-E8H76nY1v6Q-unsplash.jpgCrush Crush starts fast and with severe injury.

If that statement gave you mental whiplash, then it sets you up surprisingly well for the remainder of this review, as well as the game itself.

The Story
A dating sim idle game developed by Sad Panda Studios, Crush Crush revolves around meeting girls through various unfortunate circumstances and eventually developing a relationship with them. The first girl you crush with your bike. The second girl, you crush her high score in a game, along with her hopes and dreams. The third girl, you crush her house. The fourth girl, you crush her perception of reality. In a surprising twist, the fifth girl crushes the fourth wall, as well as a literal wall.

You see the pattern.

This goes on for a whopping total of twenty girls, with even more additionally being available as DLC and phone flings, which are a series of texts and the occasional selfie over time. That's a lot of content (and misfortune for those poor girls).

Gameplay Experience
For all of its content, Crush Crush doesn't compromise on quality. The art is a colorful anime style, and the voice acting is some of the best, easily comparable to and in some cases surpassing more mainstream games. Sadly, though, there is too much of a good thing.

There isn't a lot of variation in the voiced lines for each character. Thankfully there is an option to toggle the voice acting off in Settings. (Save the jokes for later, guys. She wishes she could put you on mute, too.)

Character Interaction
This game isn't about you. It's about the girls who are unfortunate to know you. But boy, does the game create a great set of ladies to interact with! The flavorful dialogue leaves you laughing and wanting more.

Even funnier is the only way you can greet these girls until you level up. Literally, your only option is to say "Sorry" until they forgive you. Once you've finally earned that forgiveness, you can talk to the girls normally, give them gifts, and eventually flirt and go on cute little dates with them.

That said, the girls will only give you the time of day if you fulfill their requirements. Namely, you need to be rich enough, skilled enough, and charming enough for each of their personal tastes. This skill-building is where the bulk of the gameplay comes in.

Skill Building
In Crush Crush, you are allotted a certain amount of resources called "time blocks." These allow you to manage your avatar's life by giving them hobbies (which earn skills) and jobs (which earn money). Each job or hobby costs a specific amount of time blocks. All hobbies cost three, while jobs can cost as little as two to as many as twenty-five. While these are active, you passively gain skills and money, leveling up over time.

It sounds complicated, but it's a simple system in practice, and there's no sort of penalty for suddenly changing jobs or hobbies. The majority of the game is deciding what to pursue when and waiting the appropriate amount of time to reach your goals. As with any idle game, the hardest part is always the wait.

For the record, you start the game with three time blocks but can increase the number by earning achievements or spending in-game currency to buy them.

In-Game Purchases
A free-to-play game, Sad Panda Studios nonetheless wants to turn a profit with Crush Crush, and they do this through both paid DLC and their diamond currency. It is also a "spicy" game; while all of the properly NSFW bits are hidden behind the curtain of a paid DLC, it's still probably best not to "play Crush Crush on max volume in a public library," as one of the girls will dare you.

Still, for those who are looking to turn up the heat, the "Moist & Uncensored" DLC is a reasonable $6.99 (nice) and unlocks new versions of the art and audio for all characters, even ones you purchase through DLC later. Character and cosmetic DLCs are available at various prices depending on what's currently in the store, and diamonds range from bundles of 20 for $2 to 1,700 at $100.

You can get a limited amount of diamonds through gameplay by unlocking achievements, though, so it's best to use those wisely before you start buying. You might want to spend diamonds on time blocks before soft resets or anything else, as a tip.

Resetting the Game
Speaking of which, resetting is also an important aspect of the game. As with all idle games, you'll notice that at some point, the rate at which you gather resources slows to a crawl. When that happens in Crush Crush, you have the ability to reset the entire game, starting from the very beginning and rebuilding your relationships with the girls.

The advantage of doing this is the reset bonus you gain. All the progress you make in this run turns into a score that increases the speed of cooldowns and how fast meters fill up in all subsequent runs. It's a bit weird going through the song and dance again with each girl, but when you consider how long it would take to woo her without this feature it's very worthwhile.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Whether you just want a little flirty fun to pass the time or want to dive headfirst into a hilarious and sexy adventure, Crush Crush is the game for you. The character designs are phenomenal and the gameplay is simple but satisfying. There's very little monotony for an idle game. You can date over twenty girls who are all okay with you dating twenty other girls (barring one notable exception) at the same time! That's a lot of "levels."

In short, this game is a hidden gem, with more heart and polish than some other major titles that we could name. It's absolutely worth a try if you're even remotely interested.

Also, you can date a bear. Not a big hairy man, the actual animal. Do it for Bear-verly, guys.

Crush Crush is available on Steam, Google Play, Apple App Store, and Nutaku.

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