SNACK WORLD: THE DUNGEON CRAWL – GOLD / DEVELOPER & PUBLISHER: LEVEL-5 / PLATFORM: SWITCH / RELEASE DATE: 14TH FEBRUARY
After making its name in Japan with a highly-rated anime series and a couple of manga adaptations, Snack World makes its way to the west for the first time in the form of Dungeon Crawl – Gold, an expanded remake of a 2017 Japanese exclusive 3DS title that follows an adventurer crawling through countless randomised dungeons hunting for treasure and ultimately looking for revenge against Sultan Vinegar, an evil creature who destroyed your village...
The game itself goes for a Monster Hunter-type structure. Starting off in a hub world filled with shops and people to talk to, you can pick up new quests and trade gear with the local shopkeepers before choosing your next objective and and being transported to the relevant area. Your time will mainly be spent in top-down dungeons where the layouts, enemies and rewards and randomised, but nothing really changes quite enough to make each dungeon feel different from any other. You might need to find a few switches to open a door or locate a certain enemy to win a key, and the environments change as you reach higher levels, but it can be hard to shake the feeling that you're just wandering through the same corridors and hallways over and over again.
As you progress through the game, you'll amass a huge range of easily-upgradeable weapons and armour in all manner of types, colours and styles from a variety of fictional brand-name manufacturers. Your gear's effectiveness is based on the game's in-world trends, which change every real world day. Using the best gear to fit these trends gives you a little boost in combat, but trending gear won't necessarily be the best equipment for the mission you're on so you have to consider your options carefully. Or you can just press a couple of buttons to quickly reassign the most appropriate gear from your inventory before you start a level.
Inside the dungeons, all enemies are weak to specific weapons. Pressing RT automatically chooses the best weapon from the six you have equipped, and you're able to attack with either a regular strike or one of two special moves. The hack and slash-style combat can get satisfyingly frantic when multiple enemies require several weapon changes during a fight, and the unique special moves attached to each weapon helps things to feel consistently varied.
To help you in battle, you're able to equip up to three “Party Snacks” and six “Pocket Snacks.” Party Snacks are additional support characters that accompany you into dungeons, fighting alongside you and reviving you (and each other) when needed, while Pocket Snacks can only be summoned when a meter has been filled, transforming into your selected snack to deal massive damage for a limited time. All enemies in the game have the potential to be turned into snacks, so there are tons of toys to experiment with and discover.
There are more than enough main and side missions to keep you going for at least 30-40 hours, and you can replay any mission if you're grinding for upgrade materials. On top of this, super rare gear can be found in “Mystery Reward” quests which change every 24 hours, so even if you finish the main and side missions, there'll always be something to work towards. More experienced players might find the novelty wears off sooner than expected, but the younger crowd are likely to get plenty of enjoyment out of this.