King of Crabs is Fortnite with crabs, and you pretty much have to play it

Pincer movement.

One of the most disquieting things about lobster - a creature that urinates through its face, I have been told, and is therefore at a pretty rarified level of disquiet already - is that beneath the shell they seem to be all lobster. Maybe you have watched lobster being poached in butter on a cookery show. The claw is removed. The shell of the claw is cracked open. And inside, a perfect padded claw-shape of lobster, a novelty lobster claw cushion of meat. And nothing else! How do these things work? How do they get about and skitter around the seafloor? How can they even master the effort required to urinate through their own faces (I have only been told this, I might be wrong) when they're just meat wandering around inside a shell?

Lots of lobsters in King of Crabs. Lots of turtles and sea spiders and, of course, lots of crabs. And there's that awareness of the shell, too: the crunch and crack and then all the meat beneath. King of Crabs, and there is no other way of saying this, is the best crab-based Battle Royale I have ever played. It is so forcefully strange, so certain about itself and its intentions, that after I downloaded it last night and played for about an hour, I had to keep returning to it just to make sure it was real. It is real. Someone has made a multiplayer crab-battling game, and treated it as if it were the most natural thing in the world. It's wonderful.

It's so simple, too. You take a crab and scuttle about the place, eating everything smaller than you, running from everything bigger. This is pretty much the algorithm for crabs, I gather. This is pretty much what goes on in their heads. The more you eat, the bigger you get. Eventually - I have never reached this point - you must be crowned king of the crabs. What a moment that will be! I wonder if crabs urinate through their faces too. I should really look some of this up.

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I completely neglected to mention this elsewhere because I am thick, but this is a smartphones game.

Anyway, there's a PvE mode and a PvP mode and a special mode that throws in a gimmick that changes every now and then. Combat is based around pretty much pushing your crab against another crab and hoping you take chunks out of it quickest. It's a lot of fun to race around the detailed, busy environments, joining a bunch of players from all over the world in a giant lurid crab-off. The more you eat the bigger you get, there are weapon boxes to open, and at some point I even had a shield and a baseball bat. Seriously, a crab with a baseball bat. A lot of things that have happened in my life felt like they had been building to that particular moment.

The front end seems to have taken tips from the way Supercell does things in terms of progression and unlocks. I mention this only because I was greeted at one point with the line: "VISIT THE MAIN SCREEN TO UPGRADE YOUR CRAB." If that doesn't get you downloading this game, I'm not even going to bother telling you about the unlockable crabs.

Every now and then a game comes along which is, in essence, a total wonder. King of Crabs is a dazzler. I cannot believe it exists.

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About the author

Christian Donlan

Christian Donlan

Features Editor

Christian Donlan is a features editor for Eurogamer. He is the author of The Unmapped Mind, published as The Inward Empire in the US.

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