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Review: Another Crab’s Treasure

Don’t let its sleekly styled looks fool you – another crab treasure packs a real punch.

As FromSoftware enjoyed a rapid rise to fame for its trademark dark fantasy worlds and challenging, satisfying combat, there have been a number of Souls imitators in recent times. From AAA titles like Jedi: Fallen Order and stellar blade Developers Agro Crabs are the next studio to stick their claws into the mix, thanks to indie efforts like Death’s Door and Hollow Knight.

While on the surface of things (or should we say the shell of things?) Another Crab’s Treasure looks extremely silly, it manages to eliminate the core loop of a game like Souls. Challenging combat, exploration, RPG elements and much more than dying are the key features of this underwater adventure.

Story and theme

In Another Crab’s Treasure, you take control of a hermit crab named Krill, whose shell has been taken away due to missed payments. Determined to get it back and return to a life of doing nothing in the tide pools, Krill soon gets caught up in a story much bigger than himself. As a protagonist, he brings a “I shouldn’t have been here today” feeling to the game.

As you fail to retrieve the krill shell, the state of the ocean is revealed to you, and it is not good. Waste forms the basis of the crustacean economy and is found everywhere. Of course, highlighted by krill using whatever it can find as a shell, trash is omnipresent and can be used for anything and everything from clothing to buildings to currency. Used to be. It’s not all fun and games though, as a mysterious disease called Gunk has begun to affect those most exposed to pollution.

There’s a lot to like about Going Under, another Crab’s Treasure coming from the indie team behind Aggro Crab. It has an extremely strong sense of its genre and wears its humor on its sleeve. In a departure from many of its spirit-like brethren, Another Crab Treasure is bright and colorful. The characters are cartoonish but extremely well realized and distinctive with excellent voice acting.

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Tonight, the game swings between dark humor (“Crabbitlist” will never cease to be one of the best jokes ever written) and existential dread. One way it makes the most of its Souls-like credentials is how it tackles heavy themes throughout the game. For a cute game about an angry crab, that’s tough. The soundtrack can’t be missed without a mention, it does its job very well and creates excitement,

battle

Like any other Souls, Another Crab’s Treasure lives or dies by its battles, and you can tell that Agro Crabs has worked hard to create a system with depth and genuine challenge. There is a huge variety of shells to equip (over 50), with a huge range of special abilities and variations. The fact that they degrade quickly and you often have to run around to find a new shell in the middle of a fight is reminiscent of the weapon drop system in Zelda: Breath of the Wild (which I created (I maintain that it was a good feature), encourages moments of excitement, anxiety, and experimentation.

You also unlock access to more combat abilities through the power of Umami. I found it annoying that parrying and riposte had to be unlocked and weren’t available from the start, but the pose is easy to find and I was fending off enemies in no time. As you defeat certain key bosses, you also gain access to customizations, extremely powerful moves that you can use to get a massive boost in combat. I’m a casual gamer and my favorite was actually Big Punch.

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However, the battle system is not without flaws. Its fast pace can make it difficult to keep track of what’s going on, especially considering that many of the enemy’s attacks will stun or counter-attack for a short period of time. It’s very easy to lose your patience when every attack sends you flying all over the area. Some bosses in particular were made extremely difficult as their attacks were fast, hard to read, and deadly. Dodging was also very hit-or-miss, and enemies’ range was often greater than my dodge. Responding to feedback from demoAgro Crabs stated that they were aware that some players found the combat to be a bit slippery and unpredictable and had worked to resolve this feeling, and while it is certainly better than the demo, it Not the sparkle I’d expect to see from a game where combat is so important to the gameplay.

Exploration and platforming

Like Souls, Another Crab’s Treasure flexes its 3D platformer muscles, and does a great job of making exploration fun and rewarding. There are lots of areas to go and explore, and almost all of them have some kind of reward at the end. The levels make use of verticality very well, and you find yourself repeatedly looping in with unlockable shortcuts and the ideal “doesn’t open from this side” doors.

It’s a universal truth that any game improves by adding a grappling hook, and Other Crab’s Treasure doesn’t make you wait too long to get your claws on. This doubles up for both exploration and combat which makes its inclusion doubly appropriate.

On occasions when on stage or in a fight in a small space, I felt as if the camera was working against me. It would rotate wildly again and again, and the fixed distance between the camera and the krill meant that sometimes I would be fighting for my life inside a room, but the camera would uselessly show me the outer wall of that building Inside which I was. Similarly, when platforming, it felt like you had to make sure the camera was pointing in a very particular direction before you jumped or the Krill would suddenly change direction (and somewhat nauseatingly) and you’d be forced to speed up. They will be moving towards their destruction.

conclusion

Minor annoyances and minor quibbles aside, Another Crab’s Treasure is a gem of a game. It won’t be for everyone, but that’s OK. I don’t say this because it’s hard (although it is), because it has an excellent assist mode with adjustable settings to make the game gradually easier if needed, but because the style and humor are suitable for some people. Not there. The game is equal parts silly and dark, not a mix that everyone likes. I found the escalating story fascinating and it really got me out of the final boss challenge, but it’s hard to sell it if you don’t. Equally, some people may not like the cartoonish graphics, especially when compared with heavier themes.

If the style, humor, and premise appeal to you, I urge you to give this game a try. It really delivers what it promises to do and Agro Crabs should be commended for that. Get your claws on another crab treasure from April 25th.

  • Release date: April 25
  • Platform: Steam, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series
  • Price: TBC
  • Developers: Agro Crab
  • Publisher: Agro Crab

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