Swords, lightsabers, guns, and more are all at your disposal in this premiere crustacean combat title, Fight Crab, from developers Nussoft and Calappa Games. You play as a crab armed to the claw, battling other equally-well armed crustaceans in various themed arenas ranging from city downtowns to Chinese restaurants.
From the start screen, your senses will be bombarded with music that could have been ripped straight from a shonen anime as crabs dramatically fight in the background. The bombastic tunes, paired with the premise of combat I’ve never experienced before, did an excellent job getting me excited for the clashes to come. Unfortunately, due to Fight Crab’s rough controls and ghost-town of a multiplayer, it wasn’t long before the game’s novelty had run its course, and I found little desire to venture back in.
For a game that aims to be a silly party game instead of a good fighting game, I find I have a hard time balancing my thoughts. For example, are the controls purposely designed to be rough and overly complicated as an extension of the meme-esque idea, in a similar way as QWOP is? If that’s the case, then it succeeds with spades, and the control does add to that absurd and silly design. On the flip side, if the thought process was to make a system that rewards precise movement and placement and timing your attacks, then the control schemes for mouse/keyboard or controller fail.
On mouse and keyboard, rotating your crab (and thus also the camera) is done by dragging your mouse cursor to one side of a circular zone around your view. It’s awkward and never feels fast enough for what you want it to do. Moving your shelled-fighter is done with your typical WASD keys, with double-tapping allowing you to do a sort of dash in that direction. Each of your claws is controlled with the left and rice mouse buttons, so when all the controls are put together, you will often look and feel like you are just waggling the mouse back and forth as you furiously mash your mouse buttons. In single-player, especially the earlier stages, this tends to be good enough to flip your foes and claim victory.
The controller option doesn’t fare much better, even though it is recommended you play using this method. Each claw is independently controlled via the left and right joysticks, with the triggers controlling the pinching actions. This leaves movement to the directional pad. Now, you may be thinking to yourself, if your thumbs are on both joysticks controlling your claws, how can you also use the pad? Well, that right there is my biggest gripe with that option. You have to take your thumb off on the left stick to move your fighter. Even if the controls are meant to be awkward, that is a bit too much awkwardness, even for this game.
As novel and silly as the premise is, the gameplay loop is straight forward but rather repetitive. Each stage pits you up against waves of enemy crabs with wins netting you points. These can then be taken into the store to level up your crabby-combatant, purchase weapons, or unlock new fighters. Victory comes when either you or the opponent can do enough damage to one another that you can flip the opponent on their back where they remain that way for a three-count. It’s a fun idea, that reminded me a bit of Smash Brothers in the way that it did away with the usual life bar and replaced it with a percentage level. Higher the percentage, the easier it is to flip a crab.
Each win will net the resources that will allow you to go into the store to unlock new fighting crabs, weapons, or boosting your crab’s stats that you can then take into the campaign mode. In very Souls-like fashion, you have a single resource to spend on all of those options, so choose wisely.
From a visual standpoint, Fight Crab is a surprisingly good looking game. While I don’t recall ever playing a crab-focused title before, the sea creatures featured look pretty spot on to their real-world counterparts. If I saw a lobster flopping a set of nunchucks around, I have little doubt they would look just like they do here. The levels also looked good too, though you spent most of your time focused on your enemies than the city or dining tables around you.
Fight Crab is one of those titles, like Mario Party or Jackbox, whose enjoyment is greatly enhanced when playing with friends or after a couple of drinks. I don’t see myself busting Fight Crab out to play the campaign or try online again anytime soon, but I can see myself loading it up if a friend came over or wanted to co-op the campaign. It’s a silly game, but the novelty couldn’t outshine the awkward controls and repetitive single-player. If you are looking for a fun party game to try out with some friends, give Fight Crab a shot. It could lead to some hilarious times. If you planned to play solo or sink time into multiplayer, you might want to crab-walk somewhere else.
This game was played on a PC system with a code provided by PR.