Fight Crab, the latest game by Ace of Seafood developer Nussoft (now Calappa Games) is no ordinary fighting game. No, it’s something more—it’s a title that tries to reinvent the 3D arena fighter genre into something completely new. It delves into the struggle of the survival of the fittest, and the indomitable will to prove yourself as the top of the food chain. Do you have what it takes to become the new champion of the people, the King of Crabs?
Putting aside the unnecessarily flowery introduction, Fight Crab is a game that left me laughing out loud during my time playing it. In what other game are you able to play as a humble snow crab armed with rocket engines to take down lobsters and the largest of foes? While the game itself does have its flaws, I feel like the unique gameplay experience is more than enough of a reason to try out this game.
First and foremost, Fight Crab is an 3D arena fighter, and you play from a third-person perspective from behind your chosen crustacean’s back. By moving the joysticks, you can wave around the crab’s arms upwards and outwards, and you punch with the trigger buttons. Movement is all handled by the D-pad instead. If the controls were meant to put players in the (horse)shoes of crabs, it certainly does the trick. In a way, it’s very much Nintendo’s ARMS in how you have to move and fight, and how it tries to have a unique control scheme for attacks in lieu of efficient movement controls. It’s nothing you can’t get used to though, and it also enhances the feeling that you’re grappling with these other crustaceans in order to survive. Like ARMS, I strongly feel that the game will benefit greatly from the ability to use the Joy-Cons to control the arms directly, so that it doesn’t feel like you are always flailing around in order to grab the enemy.
I was also decently pleased to see how you could utilize the environment to your advantage, something in the genre that has been ditched for more standardized arena rings in recent years. You can pick up trees and candlesticks lying around in order to aid your fight, and the developer has even taken the liberty of adding in the ability to wall-run so that you can attack from anywhere. It’s this aspect and the behind-the-back perspective that turn into the game’s most distinguishable features.
While the premise of the game is simple, it does offer a lot of variation between the different crab species and weapon types you can wield in latter, as well as the situations you are put into. Some of my favorite scenes were the ones where the crabs are put onto a Chinese seafood restaurant table to determine who becomes dinner, as well as a Japanese-themed area where ninja crabs are waiting to dive down from the rooftops to get their revenge.
Thankfully, the game offers a way for you to improve your crab’s stats so you won’t be washed out of the competition, and considering how tough some of the fights can be, I really needed to stat boosts. As for weapons, I could always trust on my tonfas to help me get through the fights, but other weapons included broadswords, maces, axes, hammers, and even lightsabers. If you ever wanted to see two crabs re-enacting Star Wars duels, this is the only game you’ll be able to do so.
As a whole, the standard campaign mode is snappy, and it’s easy to go from stage to stage easily without unnecessary loading. There’s even a majestic, powerful final boss waiting at the end for you to face. But one thing I noticed quickly was that aside from the campaign, the game doesn’t really offer much aside from an empty online versus mode. There are extra stages where you go through each chapter in a row with no breaks or damage healing, but that’s about it. The game really is tailored for you to have a particular experience and pretty much just that—another similarity to ARMS.
Overall, I’m quite surprised by how much I enjoyed this game, cheese factor aside. While it’s slightly clunky to control the crab’s arms, the game definitely provides an experience that you won’t be able to find anywhere else.
Fight Crab is available on PC via Steam. The Switch port will come to the eShop in North America, Europe, and Australia on September 15, 2020. It will release for the Switch in Japan on August 20, 2020.