Crystal Crisis Review - Nintendo Switch
Quick Glance - Crystal Crisis By Nicalis
Platform - Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PC
Players – 1-2 (local and online)
Achievements – Yes
Retail Price - $39.99
High Level Premise – Head-to-head battling puzzler
Graphics/Style – Colors are bright and bold, characters remind me of Japanese animation.
Music/Soundtrack – Catchy synth tunes flood the background of this crystal smashing title.
Story – The magic red crystal has been taken and you must choose which of the various Nicalis characters is worthy enough to battle numerous opponents to retake it.
Replay-ability – Very High - With most puzzle games the draw is the replay. Addictive game play allows the player to keep coming back to Crystal Crisis.
Time Commitment – Depends on if you get sucked into the game or not! A typical match lasts no longer than 10 minutes. A very easy game to pick up and put down if needed.
Value – High - Nicalis has done a wonderful job with the Nintendo Switch physical version of this game. Included is a full color manual and a fidget crystal puzzle cube all inside a big cardboard box.
Favorite Element – The vast amount of characters included across various Nicalis properties makes for a nicely well-rounded selection of fan favorites. I also truly appreciate the “color blind” mode included as an option.
Ever since the days of Super Puzzle Fighter II: Turbo, I have been awaiting another puzzle-brawler to add to my collection. Crystal Crisis luckily does not disappoint! Pick from one of 19 playable characters, each with their own unique set of special moves. Favorite stars from indie games such as The Binding of Isaac, Cave Story, 1001 Spikes, and more adorn the puzzle battlefield. The story mode is quite basic. There is a special red crystal that everyone is in search of, and it is up to you to battle your way through friends and foes alike to acquire it. It’s short and to the point and has varying levels of difficulty that you can choose from.
The premise is quite simple, blocks of four different colors fall from the screen in pairs and it is up to the player to chain the colors together. When a spark crystal of the same color falls from the top and is matched up to similar colored blocks, they explode off the screen. When this happens, your opponent also receives “countdown crystals” that randomly appear and are unusable until the timer counts down. The countdown decreases each time a block on the screen is placed, once this reaches zero the blocks turn back into regular crystals and are again able to be matched up with burst crystals. There also is a special poly-crystal that sometimes appears, which allows you to match this up to any color block and having the entirety of that particular color removed from your field of play.
Chaining moves together is essential in Crystal Crisis, allowing your opponent to receive numerous countdown blocks and to fill your burst meter faster. Once the burst meter reaches a certain limit, the player is able to execute a unique special move. Each player has a defensive and an offensive special move, it is up to you to determine what is best for a particular situation. An offensive move might land extra countdown blocks on your opponent’s screen. Alternatively, a defensive move might allow countdown blocks on your field of play to decrease faster. Each character has different “levels” of burst that can be executed, as some take 1/3 of your burst meter, while others may take the entire meter to fill up before utilizing.
Multiplayer is available both local and online, which really sells me on the game’s replay value. I had no issues connecting to a match and playing against someone without any noticeable lag.
I must mention the physical version for Nintendo Switch as like many Nicalis games it comes with extra “feelies” inside of the packaging. Crystal Crisis includes a full-color instruction manual and a fidget puzzle crystal cube that can be turned into different creations for hours of fun. While neither of these directly enhance gameplay, it’s nice to see some extras thrown in for those physical collectors like me that still remain.
Overall I had a blast with Crystal Crisis and you should definitely check it out if you are a fan of puzzle games, especially Super Puzzle Fighter II: Turbo. If you have a Nintendo Switch, it makes it a no-brainer to acquire the physical version as the goodies inside present a nice bonus.