[Review] Crawlco Block Knockers – Nintendo Switch

  • Developer: Eastasiasoft / CosmiKankei
  • Publisher: eastasiasoft
  • Release Date: 17/12/2020
  • Price: £7.99 / $8.99
  • Review code provided by eastasiasoft

Introducing: Crawlco Block Knockers Switch Review

When YouTube needs you to login so it can confirm your age before showing you a trailer, you know you’ve stumbled on something crazy. Crawlco Block Knockers claims to be a unique blend of reveal mechanics and match-3 puzzle action.

So, there you are; a freshly hired warehouse worker tasked with dragging or kicking blocks of different colours into designated loading zones. If you gather three of the same coloured crates, they’ll disappear and reveal a piece of a picture depicting a scantily clad lady. You can neither shove, nor jump on the blocks you’re about to move. Although, you can jump on any of the other blocks that are laying about and hindering your movements.

Your character is able to kick forward, backwards, or drag your colourful block friends. Oh, and you aren’t alone! That’s not to mean you can get help from another player. Rather, there will be enemies whose contact will take away one of your precious lives! Some enemies are minor threats and can be squished by a well-placed block. While others have higher health and even shoot at you. Then there’s those that are prone to home-in on your position, thus making your life exceedingly difficult – or taking it away altogether.

If this is how warehouses operate…

Crawlco Block Knockers is straightforward. Before the action begins, you’ll have to play through a tutorial. You’ll not be alone during this as a friendly bee – Warehouse bee, what a pun! – will show you the ropes. The real fun begins after you complete this. Crawlco Block Knockers is divided into sections: it’ll consist of two girls, then be followed by a monster. Each girl’s section is made up of three stages. Your task is to progress through these to unlock the next girl. Finish the her stages too, and you unlock the boss stage. Finish off your foe and the next girl awaits you – rinse and repeat.

Your task in the stages is, as I’ve already described above, to get the blocks into the loading zone, thus revealing the hidden picture. You’ll be doing this while also avoiding death by monsters or their projectiles. The loading zone is designated by a thin line on the ground. If you can fill it completely, you’ll earn what is called a Perfect Silhouette. This will unlock the image in your gallery and also award you with a star. Collect enough of these and you can trade them in to skip a boss encounter. This helps in case the boss is too tough for you.

Speaking of boss fights; you’re not supposed to match blocks here. Instead, you hurl them at the boss monster to defeat it. As the monsters are quick and have a variety of moves and attacks, this can be very tricky. So, I recommend you go and collect those stars.

Did you miss getting a Perfect Silhouette? Well, perhaps it was good enough to earn you a Nice Clear. This adds an extra life to your stock. That’s very handy when you keep in mind all the pests that are out for your life. Did you not even get a nice clear? Try again and do better. You might get a better score as well!

… I want nothing to do with them!

Remember the 80s? The neon coloured everythings? The synth music tracks blaring out of ghetto-blasters? If you do, you’ll feel right at home in this game. The aesthetics and music are so down to the 80s that you’ll wonder if your Commodore 64 would be able to play the game. Luckily, that won’t be necessary, as it plays just fine on the Nintendo Switch with no hiccups and stutters. Everything grooves along just fine. For old folks like me, it’s a short trip down memory lane.

That’s a drag!

Very important: Modesty setting!

I have only one gripe; the controls. It’s not that they’re counter-intuitive though. Press ‘A’ to kick, press ‘B’ to grab. Simple, right? Your special move – the backwards kick – however, forces you to press ‘B’, and to keep it pressed before then pressing ‘A’. Get the timing slightly wrong and you’ll either simply grab the block, or kick it in the wrong direction.

To add insult to injury, moving your character around feels sluggish when using both the control stick and dpad of your Joy-Con. Using a controller with a real dpad does mitigate the situation slightly. Then again, playing this game on the family TV might not be the best of ideas.

Conclusion

Where does all of this leave us? Well, the puzzle mechanics are incredibly easy to learn. Mastering them to full potential is going to take practice, and practice you’ll get if you want to unlock all the images. So, replayability is high, even when you’re not interested in getting new high scores. Frustration can easily set in however, especially during the boss fights, since you move a lot slower than your opponent. A dash mechanic would have been nice!

PROS

  • Option to turn off enemies makes the game easier
  • Humorous story
  • Easy to learn but hard to master mechanics
  • Flashback to the 80s

CONS

  • Very tough boss fights – but can be avoided by collecting enough stars in the puzzle stages

Verdict
This game’s a tough cookie. It is a really well thought out demanding puzzle game with good mechanics. Folks into those might object to the brazen nudity present in every level. Others, who seek out such titillation, might find the gameplay too harsh to be stimulating. In the end, a setting in the options saves the day: Crank up the modesty setting and enter hard core puzzler’s delight.

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