There are games out there that show that a joke can inspire something that works equally well as an interactive game. Titles like Surgeon Simulator and Goat Simulator prove that even the most stupid of concepts can hold some genuinely fun mechanics and be more than just a joke. Unfortunately, as funny as Fight Crab is, its limited depth means that I’m not sure it can be more than just a briefly entertaining joke.
The premise of Fight Crab is literally in the name – you’re a crab and you’re fighting other crustaceans to become the strongest there is. As you fight more battles you unlock more points to pour into buying weapons and upgrading your crab’s stats and loadout. There’s a nice amount of customisation here that makes messing around with the mechanics fun, but I’d be lying if I said I felt like I was actually getting stronger or better at the game.
All of this is accompanied by some pretty awesome music and some basic visuals that honestly reminded me of a minigame that could be created in LittleBigPlanet 2. That’s not a bad thing necessarily, but that also applies to the depth of the mechanics on display here. There’s simply just not very much to it so if you don’t like what’s on offer here then it’s not going to do too much besides getting a brief chuckle out of you.
Although I like the concept it’s the actual game side of Fight Crab that simply didn’t do too much for me which is obviously a shame as that’s the most important part of the experience. You control your crab by pressing the d-pad to make them move continually in one direction, whilst you punch and grab with the triggers and shoulder buttons. Besides the weapons that can modify things a little bit and your special meter that allows you to do some funny moves, that’s about all there is to it.
That would be fine if that core concept worked well but controlling your crab is a bit of a nightmare and feels like you’re wading through honey. Although I’m sure there are players out there that will figure out some pro strategies most of my play sessions felt like I was just pressing buttons and hoping for the best.
There are some early moments where the chaos of it all can be really fun but that fun subsides after a few matches of doing the same thing over and over. No amount of character progression or weapon changing made any encounter feel much more different than the last. There’s a decent variety of weapons, crabs and environments but it doesn’t change the base experience enough. If you like that experience then that’s great but if you’re as lukewarm on it as I was then it all feels a little tedious.
The thing is, the joke here can actually be really funny. The first time I saw a Lobster pop onto the screen with a knife and revolver it genuinely got a laugh out of me and there were several times when I really loved how stupid it all was. There’s an element of Fight Crab simply being what it is and not shoving it in your face that I really liked. They could very well have highlighted all the enemies and weapons to accentuate how weird it all is but the game just takes it in its stride. A sense of humour is easily the highlight here but that doesn’t make up for the shallow gameplay and tedium.
It’s hard to complain too much about Fight Crab when you know how self-aware it really is. The troublesome controls and repetitive gameplay are all clearly a part of the joke but even laughing can be tiring if it’s all you’re doing. Fight Crab definitely has its moments of fun and stupidity, but it’s not got enough meat on the bones to make it feel like anything more than a fun concept.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Mastiff