Petal Crash Review - Super Flower Fighter
Updated: Jul 7
Petal Crash is a puzzle fighting game in the vein of Super Puzzle Fighter, Tetris Attack, or Pokémon Puzzle League, although it relies on a sokobon-esque mechanic rather than falling gems. Any block on the board can be pushed in any of the four cardinal directions ice puzzle-style, and if it hits a block of the same color, both of them will explode. The explosion will catch any other same-colored blocks touching the one that was hit and also push any differently colored blocks away. Those pushed blocks can then trigger their own explosions, setting up the potential for big chains. All the while, new blocks are spawning after every few pushes.
Naturally, you also have to deal with opponents. As in most other games in this genre, they interact with you by making garbage blocks spawn on your board, which can be cleared from nearby explosions but don't match with any block type and can't be pushed. Unlike in those games, you don't need to flood your opponent's board in order to win. There's a weird tug-of-war bar going on at the bottom that tracks who is winning, and pushing it far enough causes damage to the player on the receiving end. After three hits, they're knocked out.
I love the puzzle block-pushing gameplay of this whole system. I'm hardly amazing at it, but chains are very satisfying when you can pull them off, and even getting a more basic match is rewarding when your board is crowded and any move requires a lot of setup. I'm much less of a fan of the damage system - since the only indicator for what's happening is off of your board, you often aren't looking anywhere near it, and I won several matches completely by surprise when I didn't realize anyone had even taken damage. It doesn't have the same tension of the more direct "flood the board" systems of other puzzle fighting games.
Lastly, there's a single player puzzle challenge mode where you have to clear a bunch of handcrafted boards in a certain number of moves. I didn't spend very long on this mode since it's not my style of gameplay, but the boards seemed well designed if you're into that sort of thing. I did appreciate that puzzles are unlocked in a grid, so if you were to get stuck on one, you'd likely have plenty of other options available to work on instead.
I think the key to deciding if you'd enjoy Puzzle Crash is whether you're more interested in puzzle fighters for the actual fighting or for simply speedily exploding a board of gems. Puzzle Crash is very good at the latter, but it's less engaging as a multiplayer experience than a lot of the rest of this genre. Still, it's quite cheap, so it's easy enough to recommend if any of this sounds appealing.
Time to beat: 30 minutes for an arcade run. Much longer for the single player puzzles.
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