Pinning a snow crab firing a revolver pistol in one claw and a deadly knife in the other up against a building's side, as I take unimpeded jabs with my right pincer to its exposed body (or shell), is when I knew I loved Fight Crab. A hilariously wacky premise, Fight Crab tasks you with flipping over crustaceans (lobsters and crabs) long enough for a three count. As a dynamic physics-based action game, everything about this game is over-the-top. One moment you are battling against bright colored red crabs wielding lightsabers in a fish market, and the next, you're attempting to block a kaiju-sized spider crab from swinging a giant mace across city streets.
Surprisingly delightful and wholeheartedly silly, Fight Crab has a remarkably engaging combat system, even if it feels unwieldy. The left and right analog sticks control your claw movements, given your actions' free-range. The two triggers allow you to thrust your claws forward to punch, while the shoulder buttons function as blocks and grabs. Latching on to other crabs deals damage, but you can also use object-based physics to flip them over and even steal their weapons. A percentage meter tracks damage dealt, similar to Super Smash Bros. The higher the number, the easier you become to knock out. Whether you purchase equipment from the shop or grab things scattered about the levels, you can wield oversized swords/knives, shields, palms trees, fish, and even firearms.
It is a misconception that crabs only walk sideways, as they can shuffle forward; however, it is easier and more efficient for them to move to the side due to their stiff joints. In Fight Crab, you press one of the directions on the d-pad to start moving in any direction. Double tap, and your crab will begin to sprint. Until you select a new direction, you'll continue moving in the same direction as your last input. Turning can be awkward as you'll need to double-tap and hold the analog sticks, either left or right, spending on which direction you want to go. A lot is going on at once, but even after completing the campaign, I never felt that I needed to resort to using the terrible contorting "claw" method to manage everything.
The campaign mode features over 30 stages for you to dish out seafood justice alone or with a friend. The entirety of the campaign can be played via online co-op. Surprisingly enough, even on Nintendo Switch, the process was simple enough to invite and play through a friend. You can use currency earned to purchase weapons or unlock one of the 23 different playable crabs. There are almost 50 weapons to buy and use for your crabtastic gladiatorial battles. Certain weapons can be manipulated during fights. For example, holding the shoulder button that corresponds to which claw is holding the drill causes continuous damage. Using the drill while hyper mode is active activates assault mode. The ultimate weapon in the game, Excalibur, can unleash energy blasts when hyper mode is activated but must be held using both claws. The stamina meter drains as you swing and are blocked. Once depleted, you'll drop the item you are holding.
Your currency can also be spent to level up your crab's stats, dumping points into your strength to make your punches stronger, resistance to ensure you aren't instantly knocked down, and dexterity improves the movement speed of your arms, and more. All of the crustaceans start with varying stats for their reach, speed, weight, etc. so make sure to view the details to find which one fits your playstyle. During battles, you'll activate hyper mode, allowing you to trigger special abilities once unlocked. There are energy beams straight out of Dragon Ball Z, and even the ability to enchant weapons to make them stronger.
Fight Crab's goofy premise, and at times cumbersome controls are all part of the charm. The game puts over 20 types of delicious crabs in front of you, battling to the death with oversized zany weapons. I couldn't help but chuckle the first time I faced off against a crab dual-wielding shotguns. The added online and local versus multiplayer and online co-op is a treat, especially considering how well the online mode works on Nintendo Switch.Note: Fight Crab was reviewed on Switch. A digital copy of the game was provided by the publisher/developer.