Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl is, frankly, a strange game. Everything is named after food but doesn’t look like food. The main city is called Tutti Frutti, but it is just a pretty standard fantasy city. In short, it feels like an odd and occasionally forced premise, but this doesn’t detract from the game at all. The humor can be cringe-inducing, or hilarious, but the game is subtle when it needs to be, and obvious when it doesn’t, and it does more than enough to make things fun.
You play as the ultimate RPG mechanic, a hero who cannot remember anything. While you spend time in Tutti Frutti, waiting for your memory to return, you take the time to help out people who need it by venturing into dark and terrible places and fighting monsters.
The central loop of Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl is that you go into dungeons, smash up some bad guys, grab some loot, and then make out like bandits. It’s a hard loop to crack if combat isn’t fun, or if dungeons are boring, and thankfully the game avoids both of these potholes.
The dungeons are randomly generated, so if you need to run the same ones over and over, they never get boring. It also means you cannot “learn” your way through the tougher ones, as they will always be different each time you go in. This adds a lot to the game and makes investing in your runs important because knowledge of layout from one run doesn’t carry over if you mess up.
Combat is made interesting through the use of Jaras, tiny weapons that you can make bigger when you need them. Switching between Jaras is vital, as certain enemies take more damage from different weapons. All Jaras have a standard attack, a special attack mapped to X, and an ultimate attack that you can charge up in combat, then unleash using A+X. You also can’t use a Jara for too long, as it will run out of energy, and you will need to switch. This leads to some frantic decision making during fights, and confusion is avoided by a mechanic that will automatically equip the best Jara to take on enemies that are close to you when you switch weapons.
You can dodge roll, heal yourself or take potions to improve your stats, and you can be accompanied on your adventure by NPCs and tiny creatures known as Snacks. Snacks are assigned to your Party or your Pocket. Party Snacks will travel beside you, while a Pocket Snack can be summoned during a fight, embuing you with power as you morph into it for a short time. It adds some much-needed variety to a combat system that, while fun, can be a little repetitive. You can also run dungeons in groups of four, so if you have three friends, you can all play online together.
One of the best parts about Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl is that it embraces the idea of just making things easy for the player. You can fast travel to any vital location in Tutti Frutti only by hitting right on the D-pad. Quests are launched from a scroll mapped to the trigger, and just about anything can be done through the use of a Pix-e.
A Pix-e is a smartphone that allows you to do just about every important thing in the game. You can check your journal, your profile, read all about the world you are exploring, and see all kinds of tutorials and guides. This is important because lots of mechanics are briefly explained in conversations with NPCs, and Pix-e assist became vital in making sure we didn’t miss anything important. While the game is ostensibly a fantasy dungeon crawler, developers Level 5 are happy to include anything that makes life easier.
You also need permits for just about anything, and the game will hand these out as you hit certain points. Smithing, making clothes, playing with friends, they will all unlock as you play through the game and earn permits that allow you to do them. It’s all pretty well-timed, limiting the number of different things you need to learn at any one time, and giving you a big signpost to read when something important just happened.
The level grind
Like all action-RPGs, you get stronger as you level up. You can get seemingly endless rewards by running dungeons during story quests and side quests, but you are also graded on your performance. How well you do in battle, how many times you need to heal, it all matters, and it all impacts your rewards at the end of the dungeon. It will take a steady diet of side quests to prepare for the story quests, which tend to involve some steeper jumps in difficulty. You also need to be smart about the Jaras that you bring, as different dungeons revolve around different enemies, which can only be defeated by certain weapons with any degree of speed.
You will also be collecting lots of materials and resources that will allow you to make new clothing, weapons, and hats. Best of all, a double loadout feature where one item can affect how you look, while the other will change your stats. This means you can look fantastic and coordinated while wearing whatever you need to equip to maximize your stats. It’s a great feature that should be standard in more games, and it’s nice to see it included here.
How it looks and runs
Graphically, the game is standard Nintendo levels of cute. You almost feel bad smacking around some of these monsters due to the nature of their design. It’s colorful, and for the most part, it is easy to pick out all the essential information on the screen. Drops in dungeons have map markers, so you won’t miss any potential loot, which is always a blessing.
On-screen readability can take a hit during busier times because enemies tend to telegraph attacks with indicators showing where they will hit. This is very useful, but some hectic fights cause some noticeable slow down of frames when I was playing in docked mode, although this was lessened in handheld mode.
Loading times were great, however, as you go straight from Tutti Frutti, which acts as a hub world, to whatever mission you wish to do using your quest scroll.
You will get plenty of playtime out of Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl, and there is plenty of endgame grind and content to keep you going if you love the mechanics. Fighting and the act of dungeon crawling itself is fun, but it won’t win over anyone who doesn’t like roguelike elements and doesn’t like action-RPG combat.
The campaign can be hilarious, or cringeworthy, and some of the characters feel so blown out of proportion that it becomes impossible to take them seriously.
The best part about the game is just how easy it is to load it up, run a dungeon, and then go about the rest of your day. It’s a fantastic diversion for lunch breaks or traveling, allowing you to get lost in some fun, if not particularly deep, mechanics. People who are veterans of the genre might find it a little twee, and easy, but there are worse introductions for people who are curious about action-RPGs but have never played one before.
Much like the sugary treats, it is named after, Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl can give a fantastic quick hit of gameplay that is satisfying and can keep you coming back for more.
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