The Nintendo Switch has no shortage of puzzle games, but Nicalis wasn’t daunted when they decided to add Crystal Crisis to the pile. The game is a fairly simple entry into the genre, but there is a surprising amount of depth here. Unfortunately despite the gameplay mechanics Crystal Crisis never quite clicked with me.
The core gameplay of Crystal Crisis is fairly straightforward. Two blocks of random colors drop at a time and can be manipulated to fall into various patterns. Blocks don’t get removed on their own like in Tetris, but instead, require special crystals to drop to act as detonators. The more blocks of a specific color connected together get you more points when detonated, and there are ways to multiply the block values. To add to the strategy – the edges of the drop areas are not solid and you can use this to split blocks on either side.
The upside to these changes is that the game does feel unique within the sea of puzzlers. The downside is that the random factor is amplified significantly. Games like Tetris always have an aspect of randomness built into them, but Crystal Crisis has more to consider. You have to match colors with the blocks you are given, but the addition of required detonator blocks means it is far easier to have your carefully planned color map be disrupted. Combine that with having at least one opponent messing with your board at all times and it becomes difficult to get into a rhythm.
Thrown into the Crystal Crisis mix are the various characters. Plucked from anime and other video games these characters have both attack and defense powers that you can activate. At first, these seem fairly simplistic, but as you progress it becomes apparent that these characters are not plug-and-play. Instead, they will often require changing your own strategy to adapt. You can choose to ignore these powers for a little while, but eventually, you will have to master them if you want to stand a chance.
Crystal Crisis Nintendo Switch Review Final Thoughts:
I could just never quite get into Crystal Crisis the way I could with many of its contemporaries. That does seem to be largely intentional, though. The game does not want you to enter the zen state you can reach in games like Tetris. It wants you frustrated and struggling to keep up. That’s why it uses such small blocks and does not amp up the complexity much. The game was constantly disrupting my flow, and I ultimately found it too frustrating to power through. That will not be the case for everyone, though. It largely depends on what you want out of the game and aligning your expectations.