Fight Crab Switch Review: A Throwback In The Best (And Worst) Ways

6.5
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Fight Crab is out now on Nintendo Switch Mastiff

Games these days generally fall into two categories: there are the AAA major releases like Red Dead Redemption 2 or the more recent Marvel’s Avengers, and there’s the very small indie games created with a team numbering in the single digits. It wasn’t always like this. Back in the day, small studios were able to create mid-budget games that often lacked the polish and production values of the major releases, but shared the quirks and inventiveness of the smaller indie games. Fight Crab on Nintendo Switch brings me back to those mid-tier games, in the best and worst possible ways.

Everything about Fight Crab is absurd. The concept is a fighting game, but all the competitors are some form of crab (with a lobster or two thrown in for good measure). But these aren’t your “ordinary” crab fights, as competitors can bring weapons to the brawl including tire irons, guns, and rockets strapped to their claws. You can even do a Dragon Ball Z-style energy attack at certain moments. The first player to flip over their opponent for three seconds is declared the winner.

While the graphics certainly aren’t anything to get too excited about, Fight Crab does have a fairly unique approach to controls. Players can independently move both big claws on their crab, allowing for blocking, attacking, and weapon use. When playing traditionally, the claws are controlled by the two thumbsticks. However, Fight Crab can utilize the motion capabilities of the Joy-cons, allowing players to replace the thumbsticks with gyro-based controls.

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If any picture can sum up Fight Crab, it's this one... Photo: Mastiff

In short, regardless of which control scheme you use, the controls are very clunky. However, I feel like this clunkiness was very much intentional. Crabs aren’t exactly the most graceful animals, and that is on full display in every Fight Crab match. Simply moving is an awkward experience. To move, you must press a direction on the d-pad/buttons. To change direction, you need to press one of the directional buttons to stop moving, then press the directional button for the direction you want to go to start moving again. It’s just weird, but I feel like it was intentionally designed to be that way.

This intentional design is felt outside of gameplay as well. All text in the game uses basic system fonts, and menus seem like they were designed in Powerpoint. Everything screams “retro budget game,” but in a knowing way.

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...Or maybe this one Photo: Mastiff

There’s not much in terms of overall content in Fight Crab, as the game was mostly designed to be a multiplayer experience. That said, you can plow through the entire campaign in a day, or even an afternoon if you were really dedicated. There are items to unlock, new crabs to buy, and skill points you can purchase to upgrade your fighter. 

Along with bringing back memories of games past, Fight Crab also tackles an interesting question: do games have to be good to be fun? I’d argue no, and can use Fight Crab as a way to back up the argument. Fight Crab isn’t exactly a good game. The controls are awkward, the presentation is pretty terrible, the graphics are mediocre at best, and there just isn’t that much there to do. That said, is Fight Crab fun? Absolutely. I was cracking up every time I took down a lobster with rocket booster claws, and the first time I saw a crab wielding a revolver, I lost it. Get a group of friends in a room together, and they’ll be hooting and hollering over the action on screen.

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Yes, that is a crab with a lightsaber fighting a crab with a scythe Photo: Mastiff

While Fight Crab may seem a little bare-bones, the good news is that developer Calappa Games and publisher Mastiff are really sticking true to the mid-tier game by offering Fight Crab for only $20. This is pretty much the perfect price.

Ultimately, Fight Crab was made for goofy multiplayer battles and short bursts of absurdist fun. It isn’t some epic game with a massive scope, and it doesn’t try to be. If you are looking for an in-depth single-player experience, you’re going to want to look elsewhere. That said, not many games offer the tantalizing prospect of playing as a crustacean, so you might have a hard time finding an exact alternative.

Fight Crab is available now for Nintendo Switch.

REVIEW SUMMARY
Fight Crab
6.5
Fight Crab Switch Review: A Throwback In The Best (And Worst) Ways
Fight Crab is fun in short bursts or when playing with friends, but there isn't much to do beyond that.
  • Goofy, clunky controls
  • Hilarious multiplayer battles
  • Goofy, clunky controls
  • Not much content
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