When I agreed to review Fight Crab, I did it because I thought it was going to be a bit of a joke game that felt pretty awful to play. I was sure I’d get around an hour or so out of it before I got fed up of how ‘bad’ it would be, so why not make fun of the game about crabs that fight each other?
Well, it turns out that I’m quite the fan of battling crabs and that Fight Crab is actually pretty fun to play… I’ve put over six-hours in so far and still want more. Who would have thought it, right? Sure, it’s not a flawless game by any means and it won’t be for everyone, but those who want to play something that’s absurd, utterly chaotic, but ultimately enjoyable will certainly want to check this ridiculous game out.
Fight Crab’s gameplay revolves around using crabs to fight each other… the clue really is in the title with this one. Rather than just smashing away at health bars though, the goal is to topple the other crab over in order to be deemed the victor – the higher the percentage of damage a crab has taken, the easier it is to flip them on their backs.
The process of doing so takes some work though, with your claws controlled independently of one another via the control sticks, whilst the pincers themselves are assigned to the shoulder buttons. Movement is performed via the D-Pad, whilst other actions can be performed by combining button presses and so forth. It can actually feel a little complicated at first, but there’s a decent tutorial in place that guides you through all of the mechanics to make it easier on the player.
Or you can button-mash and hope for the best. I did that in more than a few battles and came out on top and it didn’t make the experience any less fun.
Those who take the time to master the mechanics of Fight Crab will see there’s plenty of room for skill and precision though, with the gulf in player ability apparent if you play in multiplayer. When you consider there are weapons to use (which looks hilarious being held in the pincers) and a good variety of arenas to battle across too, you’ll quickly find there’s a surprising amount of depth to Fight Crab.
What helps Fight Crab remain charming to play is just how silly it is. Whilst absurdity in video games can grow tiresome fast, there’s something about the wacky antics of Fight Crab that kept me smiling. It helps that it’s actually a surprisingly pretty game, with plenty of detail to be found on both the crabs and the levels you battle across. The levels have good variety too, with battles to be had in rock pools, cities, dinner tables, a kid’s bedroom and more… there’s a really neat selection that make for some comical battlefields. Add to that additional crabs to unlock and some really zany weaponry and it all comes together to make for an utterly bizarre yet compelling experience.
Whilst there is a single player component to Fight Crab that’ll see you earn unlockables and learn how to play, it’s in the aforementioned multiplayer that players will have the most fun. Battling players in local or online play is frantic and enjoyable, with cross-play with PC players meaning that you can typically find other crabs to battle against most of the time (though I have had a few occasions where no other players were available). You can even play co-op whilst online, making for some intense battles between multiple crabs that are as ridiculous to see unfold as you’d expect. Ridiculous, but entertaining.
It’s in local play that I’ve spent most of my time though, with the absurdity of Fight Crab making for an experience that’s just great to laugh about with friends. As mentioned, you can win by button-mashing, but learning the ins-and-outs of the game and having intense and tactical showdowns in the midst of a rock pool as a pair of crabs just felt glorious. It doesn’t always have the same charm when playing solo mind, with the gameplay guilty of getting a little repetitive when you haven’t got someone to share the silliness with.
Fight Crab is an absurd idea that should probably make for a bad video game – somehow though, it actually offers a mighty fun experience. Between the ridiculous battling, the quirky visuals and battlegrounds, and the addictive multiplayer modes, there really is plenty of enjoyment to be had from the game. Add to that some ‘easy to play but difficult to master’ gameplay mechanics and I’m sure plenty of gamers will be pleasantly surprised at what this silly game offers.
I’ll admit that the single player experience isn’t as fun as playing with friends, but it still offers enough to warrant a playthrough; it’s a small issue in what is otherwise one of the most pleasant surprises I’ve had in a video game for a long time. If you can get some friends together (and maybe some beers), you’ll certainly have a blast battling each other in Fight Crab’s pincer-fuelled showdowns.
Developer: Calappa Games
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC