Crab Cakes Rescue – Review
Follow Genre: indie platformer
Developer: Mission Critical Studios
Publisher: KISS ltd. Maximum Games
Platform: PC

Crab Cakes Rescue – Review

Site Score
Good: at times challenging
Bad: audio, finicky, boring
User Score
(0 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

Another day, another indie platformer. Crab Cakes Rescue is reminiscing of simpler times with minimal controls, basic graphics and a bare-bones story. It plays very much like a flash game, and even feels quite marioesque, but with a small twist to the all too familiar concept. It features nearly 100 (often infuriating) levels, steam achievements and probably the most unique protagonist ever.

Crab Cakes_banner_edited-1


You are a hermit crab. Your girlfriend gets kidnapped. You have to go rescue her.

Except for that first part, this story might feel very familiar. It’s a good thing you don’t get bothered by it to often. Outside of the short cutscenes shown when you complete a set of levels, it’s pretty easy to forget there is a story at all. But there might actually be more to it. You see, Crab Cakes Rescue employs a mechanic where you drop your body/shell when you die, allowing for a maximum of 12 deaths before reaching failure state. These discarded bodies can be used to reach places that were previously out of reach. We all know crabs aren’t the most caring of creatures, so maybe this game is all about survival of the fittest! Use the bodies of your deceased peers for a chance to mate with what is apparently the only female left of your species! Flashy colors and upbeat music cannot hide what is really going on as the onscreen hermit crab frantically tries to avoid deadly traps and other predators (for some reason there is also lava and seagull excrement to avoid), trying to pass on his genes and produce his own offspring. Needless to say, his chances aren’t very good…



Aside from the occasional moving boat and buoy, Crab Cakes Rescue employs static backgrounds, making for a pretty sober experience, despite the bright color scheme. Graphics options are pretty limited as well, giving you only the choice of changing your resolution (to a maximum of 1920 X 1080) and fullscreen on or off. Character design isn’t particularly inspired either, in line with the theme you can expect to encounter some sea creatures like crabs in addition to the aforementioned birds with the digestive tract issues. Then again, minimalistic graphics are a staple of the indie genre. One thing that does stand out is the cringeworthy lava, which is introduced in the second set of levels and looks like a random gif of real lava slapped on the otherwise cartoonish backgrounds.



Unless you’re really into steel drums and hearing loss, you might want to turn off the audio. While the soundtrack is bland, and the effects at best annoying (do we really need a ‘boing’ sound on every jump? Really?) and for some reason heavily distorted at times, the audio at the end of a level where your gold coins are tallied is a straight up attack on the eardrums.


In each level is a door and a key or button, the objective is to grab the key to unlock the door, and then make it to the door in order to complete the level. It’s a good thing Crab Cakes Rescue features full rebindable keys since you’ll be mostly hammering the WASD and spacebar keys for navigating and R to restart a level, with some other keys for your special powers. These powers are shrink, grow, timestop and invincible which are pretty self-explanatory. These are introduced in the tutorial, but In the subsequent levels you need to spend your hard-earned coins in a ‘store’ accessible through the escape menu. These could add a nice addition to the limited gameplay, but although shrink and grow are easy to obtain, their use is pretty negligible. The other two, timestop and invincible sound interesting right? It’s a shame they are crazy expensive, and you won’t get to use them unless you complete most of the other levels. Let’s not forget they are single-use. Did you just spend the coin you’ve been saving up for the last 70-something levels on that sweet invincible power, only resulting in a level you can’t complete forcing you to restart? Too bad, bye-bye coins and bye-bye powerup!


The one feature supposed to set this game apart from other platformers is the aforementioned use of your discarded body/shell. This can be used to ‘build’ new blocks in the level to reach otherwise unreachable places. It does require you to die, and while this is a pretty inventive mechanic and does require you to think in a different way, you also get punished for it in the end. The amount of lives you didn’t spent in a level results in a score multiplier, so the game is effectively encouraging and even forcing you to die, but also subtracting points for it. This means you have to try and complete a stage in as few ‘lives’ as possible. The controls are quite precise, but timing and positioning are the real crucial part here. Expect to hit ‘R’ for restart very often. Some levels really present some seemingly impossible situations with unique solutions, which usually results in a greater satisfaction upon completion. For Crab Cakes Rescue it more often than not results in frustration, it’s just to finicky in the crucial stages, although one could argue this is what platforming is all about.

On a side-note; as the game is now, yours truly found you can actually timestop whenever you need (by pressing ‘F’), even without buying the power-up in the store. To disable timestop, you can simply press escape twice to bring up and close the pause menu. This might be patched soon, but for now it provides great relief for when you just really want to advance to the next level.



Overall just lacking character and flavor, this is not a hidden indie gem. Even looking past that, some of the gameplay is just broken or unbalanced and the sound is just unbearable at times, resulting in a game that is probably only enjoyable for children, or the most die-hard fans of the genre and people looking to test the effectiveness of their anger-management class. It really looks and feels like a free-to-play flash browser game, in which case all of the above would be acceptable, but it isn’t.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.