Still operating in crossover mode, publisher Nicalis announced Crystal Crisis, a puzzle-fighter that crosses over 19 disparate characters of Nicalis releases including Cave Story and The Binding of Isaac, along with surprise cameos from Astro Boy (also known in the parlance as the Mighty Atom) and Black Jack, both of Osamu Tezuka fame. Johnny Thunder, the would-be mascot of the TurboGrafix-16, will also make an appearance.

Outside of the crossover hook, Crystal Crisis bears resemblance to Capcom’s Puzzle Fighter series, with the appearance of a 1-on-1 fighter contextualized as match-3 puzzle game. Building up combos and matches fills up a “burst gauge” to unleash massive damage to opponents, while the “wrap-around” mechanic lets players move pieces beyond the edge of the play field and onto the other side.

Nicalis also confirmed a selection of the game’s 19-strong roster, each one with their own home stage, attacks, and musical theme:

  • Quote, Curly Brace and Ballos (from Cave Story)
  • Isaac (from The Binding of Isaac)
  • Atom and Black Jack (from Tezuka Productions)
  • Princess Solange (from Code of Princess EX and Blade Strangers)
  • Aban, Tina and Jim Hawkins (from 1001 Spikes)
  • President Thompson and a Zombie (from The Tempura of the Dead)
  • Akuji (from Akuji the Demon)
  • Knight (from Hydra Castle Labyrinth)
  • Johnny Turbo (notorious TurboDuo spokesman)

In addition to established favorites, Nicalis promises new characters, one from an upcoming games and three never seen before:

Helen – a noble warrior inspired by Greek mythology (also appearing in Blade Strangers)
Hunter – a whip-wielding vampire killer
Elise – a bat-winged gothic vampire girl
Ninja – a mysterious and acrobatic shinobi

This certainly won’t mark Nicalis’ first major crossover effort. The forthcoming fighting game Blade Strangers due this summer also features a posse of Nicalis favorites along with some guest stars, including the just-revealed Shovel Knight. Crystal Crisis is due to launch this fall exclusively on Nintendo Switch for $39.99 USD at retail and digitally.

Crystal Crisis

Alex Irish
When he's not writing about games, Alex Irish is an illustrator and animation expert. His favorite gaming franchise is Pokémon, full-stop, but his favorite game of all time is Resident Evil 4. He attended the first-ever IGN House Party and is a five-time attendee of the Ottowa International Animation Festival.