Crystal Crisis (Switch)

About a year ago, I wrote about a fighting game called Blade Strangers, which featured characters from various indie games like Cave Story, Code of Princess, The Binding of Isaac, and more.  And now many of these characters, plus some new ones, are starring in a new puzzle game for Nintendo Switch.  Two cool things about this game:  One, it plays just like Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo, which is one of my top favorite puzzle games ever.  And two, one of the new characters you can play as is FREAKING ASTRO BOY!!!

So yeah, the game plays almost EXACTLY like Puzzle Fighter.  It’s a competitive style puzzler, so you’ll always be playing against someone else, be it the CPU or another human player.  Colored blocks fall from the top of the screen into a well, and you must try to place the same colors together.  Match the same colored crystal to blocks and they’ll disappear.  You can do things like make squares with the blocks to boost your score.  When you make big matches or do chain reactions, you’ll send blocks to your opponent’s screen that they can’t use until numbers count down on those blocks.  Whoever can make their opponent’s screen fill with blocks first, wins the game.

They’ve added a few new things to this game, though.  One, you can make blocks wrap around your well.  So you can have one block on one side and another on the other.  Also, when you match blocks, a meter will fill up.  When it is full, you can press a button to do either a defensive or offensive attack.  Some characters even have three meters you can stack.  Each characters’ powers are different, and it’s up to you to figure out which ones work best for you.  For instance, Astro Boy has one cool move called Reprogram which makes the other players blocks shift a few lines to the right.  My favorite thing to do was activate this power so the tallest line of blocks would appear just before the next block would fall, causing the other player’s well to fill up and I would win!  Very satisfying.  You can also turn off both these new features if you want a more purist game experience.  Capcom, if you’re listening, THIS is how you improve Puzzle Fighter.  Not by ruining the mobile game, which I don’t even think you can download anymore.

There are several different modes of play.  For single players, you have an arcade mode where you battle through five or so opponents in different ways.  Story Mode has you playing as different characters each round, and there are branching pathways.  Play against a friend locally or if you have a Nintendo Online account, you can play online as well.  Training explains how to play, and you can view artwork and more in Extras.  Options is where you toggle game features and such.  Really the only problem I had with the game is that, probably because of the new powers, the game flow seems a bit slower than in Puzzle Fighter.  But if you love a good puzzler and are tired of waiting on Capcom to make a new GOOD Puzzle Fighter, Crystal Crisis is the way to go.

So I’m about to go a little fanboy here in this last paragraph because I think it’s really cool that Astro Boy is in this game, as he is one of my favorite anime characters (yeah I’m old school).  Astro Boy was created by Osamu Tezuka, who is considered to be the father of Japanese comics called manga.  Astro Boy has been around since the 1950’s, and there was a new anime reboot they did in the early 2000’s that was really good, too.  There is also an Astro Boy game on the Game Boy Advance that is awesome and one of the few Treasure games I really like.  Another Tezuka character, Blackjack, is also in Crystal Crisis, but I don’t like that one as much.  In unrelated news, Johnny Turbo is also in Crystal Crisis.  I only know that name from another game I reviewed a while back.  What do I have to do to get into a puzzle game like that?  And finally, I’m pretty sure Peter Cullen is the narrator for Crystal Crisis, using his Optimus Prime voice.  Either that or they got a darn good imitator.  One more thing, if you get the physical version of this game, it comes with a great full color instruction booklet.  I always like that.

Kid Factor:

Crystal Crisis is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, and Suggestive Themes.  Characters zap and smack each other with silly cartoony attacks.  All the characters are presented in a short, squat chibi form, so I don’t know how the underdressed female characters could be considered suggestive, but there you are.  I didn’t notice any mild language in the text, so it must be used sparingly.  Otherwise I think it’s a great puzzle game the whole family can enjoy.

3 Responses to “Crystal Crisis (Switch)”

  1. Astro Boy!

  2. I love Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. It just got added to backwards compatiblity with Xbox One too. I installed it immediately. I’d play anything similar like Crystal Crisis.

  3. I borrowed this one from our library and took it back right away. It’s a pretty competent Puzzle Fighter clone, but you didn’t mention the abominable load times! Seriously, this is the kind of game where you finish a match and want to jump right back in, but the loooong loading screens totally kill the mood. Puzzle Fighter (from 20+ years ago!) takes a second or two to get from the selection screen to the match, and the same to get back, but this takes something like 10-20 seconds or more every time you do anything. It doesn’t sound like that long, but it really feels like an eternity, and when one match takes a 2-3 minutes at most, it really adds up.

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