By: Matthew Striplen
Were you one of those kids who found some sick pleasure in snuffing the life out of tens of thousands of ants? Just me? Well, Krinkle Krusher places gamers in the shoes of a powerful wizard and his trusty sidekick, a talking glove who bears a striking resemblance to the Hamburger Helper, as you defend your castle from countless attacking Krinkles.
Although both the wizard and glove act as the protagonists, the player controls the glove, which consequently casts the spells. The glove only casts spells directly downwards, and movement is controlled by the left analog stick.
Spells are cast by pressing their corresponding buttons, most of which are assigned to the symbol buttons, but two are moved to L1/R1. While the symbol spells feel tight and responsive, these other spells sometimes have a hefty lag, or don’t respond at all.
Krinkle Krusher is a pretty game, with color vibrant enough to be compared to Nintendo titles. The cartoonish look fits well with the over-the-top action. Aiming spells precisely can sometimes be challenging — there’s something about how depth is displayed onscreen makes things a little tricky.
The soundtrack pumps along with catchy and upbeat tunes, all using decent quality synthesizers. No tracks stand out, but the general quality remains good. Unfortunately, the voice acting doesn’t fair quite as well.
Not all dialogue receives acting, and the glove’s voice can be a little grating. Every time the player gets a combo, which is hopefully often, he shouts out a punny compliment using “Krinkle.” Since there is only one exclamation per combo number, they get a little repetitive.
As a casual game, Krinkle Krusher keeps things simple. The premise of each level stays constant from the beginning to end: kill the Krinkles before they destroy your castle. Keeping in line with other casual games, Krinkle Krusher features a star system to grade your performance on each level.
Points are awarded for each Krinkle killed, and more points can be earned by forming combos and, by extension, multipliers. Seemingly the most important criteria for getting three stars, however, is your health. Getting three stars without having a perfect run is near impossible. Although getting perfect runs can be difficult, it is incentivized by the fact that gems are awarded for each three-star set. These gems can then be used to upgrade spells or increase health.
On the subject of difficulty, Krinkle Krusher has a rather odd curve. Nearly all the initial levels prove to be quite grueling, which seems out of place in a game obviously aimed at younger kids. However, if you revisit previous levels after acquiring more spells and power, these early levels become extremely easy. Waiting until you have gained more spells is the easiest way to earn triple stars and gems.
The Krinkles themselves come in a multitude of shapes and sizes. Your average Krinkle doesn’t pose much of a threat on its own, but beware when swarms appear. Elemental Krinkles correspond to one of your spells, absorbing the power instead of taking damage. Killing these charged Krinkles with other elements results in massive explosions. Learning to use these explosions to your advantage proves very useful, especially on more difficult stages.
Krinkle Krusher‘s story doesn’t have much to offer, being a pretty generic “collect the magic crystals” type quest. Unfortunately, much of the dialogue tries a little too hard to be funny, packing half-hearted pop culture references into nearly every interaction.
Most of these references will be lost of the intended audience of children, as they tend to reference more adult-oriented media, such as Game of Thrones. Also, there are a handful of surprisingly dirty jokes, which clash with the otherwise kid-friendly appearance.
Since the game is inherently repetitive, replay value isn’t too high. Although the star and gem system will grab the interest of completionists, most players will complete the game to nearly 100 percent out of necessity.
Krinkle Krusher is a game that struggles to find its audience. On the outside, it looks family-friendly, cutesy and Nintendo-esque, but in reality it has rougher edges. The high degree of difficulty is sure to turn off little ones, and the vast majority of jokes will go straight over most kid’s heads. With the video game market becoming increasingly saturated with casual games, Krinkle Krusher doesn’t quite have enough to outshine the competition.