Overview – developed by CosmiKankei and published by Eastasiasoft, Crawlco Block Knockers is a love letter to the sexy puzzle games that were popular across Japan during the 90’s. Push color coded blocks to fill up the marked zones in groups of three or more, unveiling the images under the floor, with a range of modesty options. This title is a console exclusive for the Nintendo Switch. If you want to check out the game a link will be at the bottom of the review alongside a PlayAsia affiliate link if you wish to support the site with your purchase.
Disclaimer and Content Warning: before I get into the review, I want to say thank you to Eastasiasoft for providing the copy of Crawlco Block Knockers used for this coverage. The provision of this title has not influenced the contents of this review, all thoughts and opinions contained within are my own. I also want to point out that this game is intended for mature audiences, there is strong language, nudity and sexual content featured throughout, so discretion is strongly advised.
Now with the introductions out of the way, let’s get into the review. I will be skipping the story section and going directly into the game play to prevent spoilers.
Gameplay – Crawlco Block Knockers is a retro styled puzzle game that attempts to use a style similar to classic adult games from the 90’s. The objective for the game is simple, push, kick and drag blocks into groups of three or more. Each successful match will reveal more of the image below, with a selection of girls to uncover in various forms of undress. Gain bonuses for clearing the silhouette completely, but be aware that there are hazards that will try to get in your way.
During stages, blocks will appear randomly shown as color coded count downs, they can block your path, get in the way of attempted clears and even be destroyed a block is pushed as they spawn. As well as the blocks, enemies can appear (if enabled) moving around the edge of the play field. If the player pushes a block into an enemy, hitting the edge or cleared area the defeated enemy will clear spaces around it.
As the game progresses, the stages will become more intricate and introduce additional hazards for the player to avoid. These include blocks that can only be removed by successfully clearing the surrounding area and death traps that will kill the player. The challenge of these stages can appear daunting, however, taking some time to plan out the approach you want to take helps a lot. Clearing a stage with the entire silhouette uncovered will provide a bonus, uncovering the full image and adding it to the games gallery.
Alongside the standard stages, the player will also fight bosses in tense block pushing battles, with the objective of hitting the boss with the blocks to deal damage and drain their energy bar. Unfortunately, this is where the weaknesses of the game are most prevalent. During the boss battles and to a lesser extent the stages themselves, the player can get caught on the edges of blocks, leaving them open to being hit by the any enemies on screen.
Another minor issue was that the increased action can lead to easy deaths, due to the fact that boss battles have an element of bullet hell to them. The big boss enemies can attack the player with streams of bullets, making the action frantic and this can cause mistakes to occur. If the player loses all lives during a stage, the game is over but they can try again from the stage that they were at, this is frustrating during boss battles, but the ease that extra lives can be earned does balance this out a little.
The last thing I want to talk about is the accessibility and modesty features that the game has implemented. In game, the player can change the color and marking of blocks, this is useful for those who may suffer from an inability to see certain colors and increase the visibility of blocks on smaller screens. Finally, we have the modesty modes, if the sexual imagery is a little excessive for your tastes (or you want to enjoy the puzzles with younger players) then there is the option to obscure it entirely or simply cover the more intimate areas.
Now with the gameplay covered to an extent that I feel comfortable with, I will be moving onto the other aspects of the game, starting with the difficulty.
Difficulty – from the experience that I had, the game has a moderate curve to the difficulty in the early part of the game. However, the challenge can really ramp up during boss battles but there are systems in place that ease this. First, monsters can be turned off during regular stages removing them from the game. Second, players are able to skip some of the bosses, giving the opportunity to enjoy the game at the expense of completion percentages.
Controls – the controls are the biggest stumbling block with this release. While they are simple and try to give the feeling of a classic arcade game, this choice causes some issues with the gameplay. To push blocks is one button, to drag blocks is another but there is a combination button that allows quick push backs, which can occasionally cause missed inputs and errors. The movement has minor flaws too, as running around the stage can feel a little loose which occurs no matter how the game is played.
Presentation – the visual style for Crawlco Block Knockers is pleasing throughout the experience. The neon glow of the stages and the retro aesthetic of the pixel art work beautifully together. The portraits for the featured girls are done well, there are some images that look a little awkward but the overall quality of the fanservice is good. The sound design is a delight to listen to, with a vaporwave styled soundtrack that adds to the charm of the experience, giving the look and feel of a game made/set in the 1990’s.
Final Thoughts – I enjoyed Crawlco Block Knockers for the most part, but the fun was soured a little during the boss stages due to the slightly slippery controls and tendency to get stuck on the edge of blocks. Although the problems faced can be frustrating, the systems that the game has to ease the challenge allows for players to still enjoy the game at their own pace. Overall I can recommend this game to puzzle fans and those who enjoy fanservice, with the modest price point being a bonus.
In the end, I give Crawlco Block Knockers a final score of 4/5. A fun puzzle game that is dripping with the neon glow of the 90’s, there is a good variety to the selection of girls and secrets to unlock. The modesty modes and accessibility features implemented in the game are a nice touch, making it possible for the game to be enjoyed by everyone (with supervision of course if they are younger). If you want to check this game out for yourself, links to both versions of this title will be below.
Link to Nintendo Switch version (HERE)
PlayAsia affiliate Link (HERE)