Make sure to fasten your seatbelts because this is going to be one hell of a ride.
- System: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4
- Publisher: Nicalis
- Developer: Nicalis
- Release Date: May 28, 2019 (PlayStation 4 TBA)
- Pricing: $29.99
- Rating: E10+
- Genre: Arcade, Fighting, Puzzle
- Players: 1-4
- Official Website: https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/crystal-crisis-switch
Crystal Crisis Announcement Trailer - Nintendo Switch
Who it Caters to
Ever since the release of Tetris 99, puzzle games are seeing a resurgence. This of course we welcome with open arms because for so long, the puzzle genre has been overshadowed by the influx of other genres. One other thing to note is that the industry has become more competitive, which can be clearly seen with the current eSports trend, and now more games are becoming a viable substitute for the typical shooters or moba titles that swarm the marketplace. Puzzle games are definitely a niche, but they most certainly create an exciting and challenging environment, because the element of depth is always there to keep you coming back to learn more strategies. Crystal Crisis is the latest puzzle-battle throwdown title from Nicalis, who have taken all of their most memorable characters along with other iconic faces, and pitted them against one another to see who is the best of them all. If you’re a fan of the head-to-head combat that you typically find in most puzzle titles, then give Crystal Crisis a shot.
What to Expect
Unlike in most puzzle titles where you simply just have to stack shapes faster than the other player, Crystal Crisis takes things to the next level by implementing unique features that add a lot more dynamic to the competitive platform. You get the chance to pick from 20 different combatants, like Curly from Cave Story, Isaac from The Binding of Isaac, and even Black Jack and Astro Boy. This creates an entirely fresh take on the combative element of puzzle titles, and while Puyo Puyo Champions implements a similar formula, Crystal Crisis does so with 3D characters conveying their actions on screen as you go back and forth in battle. Crystal Crisis comes with a wide range of single-player modes to choose from such as Story, Arcade, Tag Team, Survival, Training, among many others. All of these modes capture a different feel and create a diverse selection which can be exciting for both new and veteran players to the competitive puzzle genre. Multiplayer battles allow you to take on opponents locally, but if you’re really feeling hot, then you can also take those skills online and prove to the world just who’s the best. Another additional feature that’s in fact very new is allowing the Crystal colors to be configured for those with color blindness, creating an equal playing field for those engaged in battle.
Crystal Crisis is very distinct in that it combines both 2D and 3D visuals to create a unique gaming experience. You of course have your anime-themed opening cutscene which is very typical of Nicalis and helps to bring the characters to life, along with a 3D interface while battling. This visual technique is nothing groundbreaking in the gaming industry, but it does certainly help to set itself apart from every other puzzle title on the market, which is a plus in our book. Characters use visually explosive special attacks called ‘Bursts’ which act as a comeback mechanic when things just aren’t going your way. These Bursts are all uniquely designed to fit the character using them and really help to create a very robust and exhilarating experience during intense battles. The overall presentation of Crystal Crisis is very well designed, making it easy for players to navigate around on the main menu, and a clean looking Crystal grid that’s fun to play on. Characters are fully animated which helps to bring their performance to life in a big way, so when you get hit with an attack, your character shows it in their expressions. Or when you pull off your special Burst Attack, their animation changes to an even more dynamic one, demonstrating the overall versatility with how character animations work within the game.
Another plus about Crystal Crisis lies within its sound and music department, as each character in the game is voiced with their own cool exclamations. This helps to add that true combat experience as you get to see two fighters talk smack to each other before duking it out on the grid. They not only talk prior to the battle via their introductions but they also speak during their powerful Burst attacks, which once again feels very reminiscent of Puyo Puyo. A fully voiced announcer is also part of the Crystal Crisis experience, which only helps to accentuate the competitiveness of the game and gives players a feeling of really being immersed in an actual bout. As the announcer screams “Ready...FIGHT!”, you wait in anticipation to drop your first blocks, but it’s that very moment that helps to build that hype and excitement, the very same excitement you’d get while playing a fighting game like Street Fighter V.
Crystal Crisis, while maintaining its integrity and sticking to the tried-and-true puzzle formula, really adds a new dynamic to everything thanks to the Burst mechanic. As usual, players must stack and arrange matching colors together in order to create what’s called a ‘wall’ in order to initiate a heavy-hitting combo. What’s different in Crystal Crisis is that these colors don’t collapse on their own once you’ve stacked 4 or more pieces together, so you’ll need to rely on your Crystal piece in order to get the ball rolling. These Crystals come in every color and the objective is to strategically stack as many colors together as possible, waiting for the right moment to send your matching Crystal piece crashing down to create shattering combos. The premise is quite simple, but the strategic methods of pulling off wild and crazy combos can take you some time to understand as proper placement of each Crystal piece becomes more important at a higher level of play.
Each time you shatter pieces you build what’s known as the ‘Burst Gauge’, which allows you to perform either offensive or defensive bursts during heated battles. Where these come in handy the most are during moments where you’re either far ahead in the lead and want to close the game out, or you’re being overwhelmed by pressure and need some breathing room. Knowing how to strategically use your Burst Gauge is what will determine whether you come out on top or succumb to your opponent’s pressure, since just blindly using your gauge will not help you down the road. Think of this meter like you would in a fighting game, where meter management is very important with regards to your survival. Using up your meter just for some extra added damage is fine, but now you’ve used up a resource that could’ve become more devastating if you were able to read your opponent’s patterns, and capitalize off it. This is where the fun factor of Crystal Crisis comes into effect, because it’s not just about simple stacking but rather a strategic combination of aggressive bursts and tactical building to help maintain the lead at all times.
To elaborate a little more on how stacking works in Crystal Crisis versus another puzzle game, the difference is that here you’re able to manipulate your pieces by splitting them apart during battle. To be more specific, if you’re stacking your blocks and for some reason the colors you received just don’t compliment your current stacking strategy, by moving the pieces to the edge of the grid you can split the pieces into two for a more dynamic stacking approach. This new method of stacking adds an entirely new element of gameplay which encourages you to think outside of the box even more, setting up powerful counterplays and surprising your opponent with a devastating Attack Burst.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Since we tend to dabble with fighting games a lot, playing Crystal Crisis felt a lot like playing one, but now instead of pressing specific button combinations to unleash heavy hitting combos, we now must rely on building unique stacks and combo the opponent with Crystal setups along with Attack Bursts. It really does speak volumes on just how well everything seamlessly flows together in Crystal Crisis, from the frantic stacking to the hype comeback mechanics. It’s certainly not your ordinary puzzle fighter, but that’s a good thing because we truly need to mix things up and Crystal Crisis delivers in that department. As far as gripes or concerns, there really wasn’t anything that stood out to us, which of course is a positive, though as far as gameplay overall it does in fact have a learning curve. That in itself may be a con since new players may not understand the concept right away, in spite of there being a relatively decent tutorial that helps to guide you through. Be that as it may, it’s not something to really complain about since that will differ from person to person and so the overall experience will depend solely on the player and not the game itself.
- Fast-paced, frantic, chaotic, and fun!
- The game is quite fun with its single player features, but it’s way more thrilling when playing against someone else!
- All of the gameplay options are entertaining and provide enough stimulation to keep going.
- Characters are fully animated, which helps to bring the battlefield to life.
- As mentioned, the game does have a learning curve to get over, but once you do it’s nothing to sweat about.
Honey's Final Verdict:
We had a wonderful time playing Crystal Crisis, and so we highly encourage any puzzle fans out there to give this one a try. It will certainly provide a rewarding experience! Have you already had a chance to try out this game? Leave us a comment below and share your thoughts with us!
And for all things gaming, be sure to keep it locked right here on Honey’s Anime.