Fight Crab is one of those games you have to see to believe. But after the charm wears off, you’ll be wondering why you’re still playing it.
Fight Crab is the type of game that when you watch a trailer for it with your friends, it immediately builds hype with how unique and goofy it is. At least, that’s how it was for me when it was announced. There are plenty of games that I still go back to from time to time like this because they have great gameplay and hook, but I can assure you I will likely never play Fight Crab again.
That isn’t to say that I didn’t have a blast playing it. In fact, I often took my Switch to work. For the first few days I was playing it, I was showing it to every one of my coworkers who play games. They got an immense kick out of it. Letting them play it and laugh along with how absolutely ridiculous it is was probably the highlight of my time with the game.
You see, Fight Crab is fun, but it is incredibly janky. The movement feels weird. The combat is clunky. The weapon system doesn’t want to work half of the time. In short: it has some serious problems. I will say though that there isn’t a day that goes by that I haven’t at least thought about these crustacean battles.
Fight Crab lets players jump in with a brief tutorial, get the hang of the basics through a few levels, and then throws some more tutorials in. It’s a smart way of teaching the ins and outs of combat, even if that combat often quickly devolves into a button-mashing mess within seconds of the rounds starting.
Players fight through a variety of stages: city streets, underwater, a Chinese restaurant, a room with medieval relics. The stages are wacky and unique, just like the game. Before entering a stage, players choose from a number of crustaceans that they want to battle with. There is a good selection of fighters to choose from that all come with their own physics system, difficulty, and play style. The game generally won’t give you any of this information, instead opting to let players figure it out on their own.
Similar to how you select a fighter, there are also a large number of weapons to unlock that you can take into battle. There’s everything from pistols to axes and lightsabers. (Did I mention that this game is goofy?)
Immediately entering a level can put you up against either one or a few enemies. Once you do enough damage – which is indicated by a percentage, a la Super Smash Bros. – your adversaries flip over. This isn’t an HP-based game, so you’ll need to literally overturn your enemies to win each fight. Once you’ve dealt with these foes, more enemies appear in waves.
The biggest problem I have here is that the physics system is so janky that you can end up with 200% damage on an opponent that will just refuse to flip over, but they can easily flip you over at 50% or less. It’s annoying and frustrating, especially with how much of a button-mashing mess Fight Crab tends to be. Sure, you can mash a couple of other buttons to help your crab flip back over – something that I didn’t know about until the game told me on a loading screen – but after the first flip, you’re almost guaranteed not to make a recovery.
The combat is incredibly unpredictable too with each side of the controller controlling each arm of the crab. Players can throw and pick up weapons, bash their enemies into oblivion with each fighter’s unique claws, or even unleash a devastating crustacean Kamehameha wave. It’s fun for a bit, but the charm quickly wears off of the whole package long before you complete it.
There are eleven stages here, and none of them take very long to finish. Beating each level rewards players with in-game currency that they can use to unlock new fighters and weapons. Some of it can be expensive, and I can’t imagine a world where someone goes out of their way to play this enough to unlock it all.
Fight Crab is almost worth the $19.99 digital asking price just for the sheer absurdity of it all. It is campy, it controls poorly, and it has a terribly inconsistent physics system that players rely on to finish each stage. I’ll never play it again, but I don’t know if I’ll ever stop thinking about it. Maybe that’s the point?
Game Freaks 365 received a free review copy.