Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl – Gold – Review
Follow Genre: Dungeon Crawler/RPG
Developer: Level-5
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Switch
Tested on: Switch

Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl – Gold – Review

Site Score
8.0
Good: Genuinely funny writing
Bad: Doesn't bring anything new to the table gameplay-wise
User Score
9.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)

The name might not ring a bell here, but over in Japan, Snack World is immensely popular. Starting out as a manga in CoroCoro magazine, the franchise has spawned multiple video games, an anime series and tons of merchandise. Level-5 now hopes that the West will also pick up Snack World fever and is offering Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl – Gold to an unsuspecting audience.

Story

Snack World takes place in the Kingdom of Tutti-Frutti, a place that is all about food. You step into the shoes of a hero of your own design, and the story starts as your unconscious body is found just outside of the capital. When word of this reaches the royal castle, the princess takes an interest in you and demands to see you. Unable to refuse to give his daughter what she desires, the king summons you. An incident during your audience with the king sees you being sent out on your first quest, under the guidance of drill commander Ciderfella. This setup forms the basis of the events in Snack World, and serves as little more than an excuse to send you out on quests. Over time you will start to remember what happened before you were found, and the story will start to flesh out a little bit as it builds towards your confrontation with your mortal enemy: the sinister Sultan Vinegar. 

Full disclosure: we’re not familiar with the source material so we don’t really know which characters are featured in the anime and manga and which are exclusive to the game -although we have a suspicion- nor do we know whether this is an original story or if it follows the manga storyline closely. For the purposes of this review, we’re treating the story of Snack World exactly as most players will: as their first experience with Snack World. As such, the story is very unstructured and feels all over the place. It can be difficult to recall what happened in the story, because there are a lot of unconnected events, and dozens of characters. Fortunately, the story arc isn’t important at all.

Most of the enjoyment comes from interacting with the characters and getting caught up in a genuinely funny dialogue and terrible puns. Snack World is a delight to explore and this game is more about fleshing out bizarre characters in the wackiest way possible while building a world that feels insane, yet real somehow. Fair warning though: everything looks colorful and cute, but a lot of the dialogue in this game isn’t very kid-friendly. Sexual innuendo pops up at various points -including a few awkward scenes with very camp genies- and the occasional swear word makes this a game that isn’t a family-friendly affair, despite appearances. 

Graphics

The polished and simplistic art style in Snack World looks gorgeous. The manga roots of the source material are clear. While the character designs don’t shy away from clichés, you’d be hard-pressed to find a character in the hundreds of designs here that doesn’t feel charming in its own quirky way. Things do get a bit tiny in handheld mode and the colorful world of Snack World is best enjoyed on the big screen. On the plus side, we didn’t spot any frame drops or lag during our time with Snack World, even when things got intense. Even when there is a lot of action on the screen, the game runs smoothly, and is a true showcase of how good a game can look on Switch as long as it is optimized. This is also evident when you start paying attention to the load times, which are virtually non-existent. 

Sound

The upbeat music adds a sense of cheer to the game, and emphasizes the colorful and cartoony setting. Voice acting is present, though very limited. The few audible phrases do add a lot of life to the characters uttering them. The characters do tend to pull from a handful of stock phrases that relate to the on-screen dialogue, but don’t match what they are saying, albeit what you do hear them utter tends to be a similar sentiment to what the dialogue is trying to express. For example, you’ll get scenes where Cinderfella is berating adventurers, and while the on-screen dialogue shows three or four full sentences, all you’ll actually hear is stuff like “Attention!”. This can be a bit odd at first but you’ll get used to it surprisingly quickly. 

Gameplay

The core experience of Snack World lies in its dungeons. You are tasked with completing quests, either story-based or as one of the many side quests from NPCs. After accepting the quest and gearing up, you’re taken to an overhead view of the level, where all the action takes place. There are two varieties: static maps will always have the same layout, whereas actual dungeons are randomly generated. A boss awaits at the end of each multi-floor dungeon, and you have to make your way to said boss and defeat it, slaying enemies and picking up treasure along the way. There are no less than 168 different enemies that will try to end your quest prematurely, and each of them is well thought out in design and oozes with charm. Their names are often groan-inducingly terrible puns, and it’s impressive how creative the localization team got given the Japanese origins of the source material. A favorite example is the wizard sheep, named Shaman Ewe, both a play on shaman, ewe (a female sheep) and of course the phrase “shame on you”.

The enemies are the clear highlight of the game, and all of them can be recruited to fight alongside you as well. This gives the game a Pokémon-esque factor and increases longevity as well, as there is a “catch-em-all”-factor at play. In order to recruit a monster, you’ll need to defeat its species over and over again, growing affinity. At a certain point, you can take a picture of the enemy, adding them to your Snack list. From that point on, they can be chosen to accompany you on your quest. It’s not just enemies that you can add to your Snack list either: there’s almost 100 non-enemy NPCs that can be recruited through a variety of means, including story events and side quests. 

Recruits can be assigned a role as either a Party Snack or a Pocket Snack. Party Snacks are NPC party members for all intents and purposes, while Pocket Snacks work in a different way: when you use a Pocket Snack, your character temporarily turns into the Pocket Snack creature, allowing you to directly control them. This already offers a surprising amount of gameplay depth, but there’s more: the game also features an intricate gear-and-weapon system, with certain enemies being weak to certain types of weapons. Even the outfit you wear can affect your performance in battle, depending on how fashionable you are dressed.

It’s a lot to take in, but fortunately, Snack World never feels overwhelming. During the preparation phase, you can have the game select the gear that would be most suitable for the quest at hand, and weapons can be instantly swapped with a single button. The key is therefore to obtain a variety of gear so that you’re never underprepared for the fast-paced action that awaits in the next dungeon. 

Conclusion

The colorful and simplistic appearance of Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl – Gold might have you believe the target audience for this game is young children. However, the amount of swearing and sexual innuendo quickly make clear that Snack World is aimed at an older audience. Gameplay-wise, it doesn’t bring anything new to the table, but what is presented here is fantastic. 

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl - Gold - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Sebastiaan Raats
Sebastiaan Raats


1 Comment

  1. Ibuki
    Ibuki
    March 7, 2020, 12:32 am

    This one looks quite cool to be honest.

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