I hadn’t even heard of Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl – Gold before it was announced for the Nintendo Switch late last year, despite it already hitting the Nintendo 3DS (albeit in Japan) and having successful anime and manga adaptations. What makes it even more shameful is the fact that it comes from Level-5, who just so happen to be one of my FAVOURITE RPG developers. I know, I know – shame on me, right?
Well, Snack World (we’re not using the full title for the rest of this review!) is now available on the Nintendo Switch, so I’ve finally had a chance to partake in its dungeon-crawling adventure. Is this another hit for the team at Level-5 though or should it have remained a title that I’d never heard of? Spoiler alert: it’s a heck of a lot of fun and I’ve had a blast playing, though it can feel a little bit repetitive at times…
Like a lot of dungeon-crawlers, Snack World sees you beginning your adventure by customising your own character, with plenty of different hair styles and face options in place for you to make your perfect little hero. In typical RPG-fashion, said hero then wakes up with amnesia (of course), which leads them on an adventure where they’ll help the Kingdom of Tutti-Frutti by heading out on quests, slaying the many monsters in their path, and stopping an evil Sultan from resurrecting a dragon to destroy the Kingdom.
Despite Snack World’s narrative being full to the brim with your typical RPG tropes, it still manages to feel unique and quirky thanks to its genuinely funny script, its fourth-wall breaking antics, and its execution of puns at EVERY given opportunity. Whilst it certainly embraces its silliness well though, it also has jokes that can go a little bit close to the edge, with some somewhat mean-spirited remarks and racy themed interactions to be found throughout. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing offensive on show, but despite having all of the hallmarks of a child-friendly game, Snack World has more than its fair share of jokes that will go well over the heads of the little ones. It ticked plenty of boxes for me in that regard and I found that it helped make the game’s tale that bit more silly and fun, though it probably helps that I appreciate jokes that are a bit more immature and cutting.
Snack World’s main gameplay loop revolves around exploring randomly-generated dungeons, each of which is full to the brim with loot to collect and enemies to defeat, but also designed to be quick for players to clear thanks to their short length. It’s definitely a game that’s ideal for short-bursts, which is a change to the norm for the dungeon-crawling genre but ideal for Nintendo Switch gamers who are playing on the go.
Combat is pretty typical of the genre with the player able to unleash both strong and light attacks, change up their gear (known in-game as Jara), and use special abilities to unleash extra damage on their foes. Those aforementioned Jara come with specific attributes that can affect their effectiveness against monsters so it’s worth tinkering about with your gear to see what works best – those who just want to dive right into the action will be pleased to know there’s also a neat auto-equip function in place that keeps things simple. You can also upgrade your Jara with the loot you find on quests, so there’s a real sense of progress that encourages you to really scour through every nook and cranny of a dungeon. It’s really satisfying stuff, with the combat proving to be fluidly fun throughout and the loot-collecting addictive as you progress further on through the game.
You’ll be given different objectives to complete in these dungeons across both the story-based quests and the side quests, whilst some epic boss battles ensure there are plenty of vicious monsters to have brutal showdowns with during your journey. You’ll head back to Tutti-Frutti in-between quests too, where you can visit shops, interact with characters, and even change up your clothing to adhere to fashion trends (which amusingly gives you bonuses in-game). It’s your typical dungeon-crawling setup really, with Snack World keeping things simple but effective throughout.
That’s not to say that Snack World doesn’t bring some unique ideas to the mix though, with the player accompanied on their adventures through dungeons by special allies, better known as Snacks. Now I know what you’re thinking: how will Snacks help me get through a dungeon? Well, Snack World’s Snacks don’t consist of packets of crisps or chocolate bars, but are actually the monsters that you defeat as you work through each dungeon. Once you’ve vanquished a monster a set amount of times, you’re able to recruit them into your team by taking a ‘snack-shot’ and then get to bring them out on quests with you to help beat up some baddies. Starting off with just the one ally, you’ll eventually be able to bring up to three on quests with you, with each having their own unique abilities and personalities that keep the dungeon-crawling antics of the game feeling fresh.
You can even take control of the Snacks yourself if you assign them as a ‘Pocket Snack’, which means they’re not battling alongside you but can temporarily enter the battle as a replacement for the hero. Having monsters battle alongside you is one thing, but controlling them is super neat – there are over one-hundred to find in total too, so there are plenty of different ways to approach battles as you experiment throughout the game.
Knowing which Snacks will be best suited for each quest can be imperative to your success, whilst the fact that you’re able to revive them when they’re downed means that you’ll always have help by your side. You can probably expect to revive them quite a bit mind, with your allies in the game not always the smartest. It’s never too annoying, but seeing them fall for the fifth time in a dungeon can be a little bit wearing…
You’ll also get the help of human allies in the game, with many joining you after you encounter them across the world or after you assist them with a side quest. Snack World isfull of plenty of colourful characters so having them join you on your adventure is certainly a treat. Want to know what else is a treat? Playing in multiplayer, with certain missions in Snack World playable with friends in online. It was a bit of a shame that I couldn’t play through the entirety of the game with friends and I really think the main campaign would have benefitted from it, but it was still a nice treat that added an extra enjoyable co-operative element to Snack World’s gameplay.
Whilst playing through dungeons is certainly fun, Snack World is guilty of feeling a little repetitive at times. On some occasions there could be a real grind to simply level up, whilst uncovering the loot required to upgrade can take time too – the dungeons are randomly-generated after all, so there’s no easy way to obtain specific items or Jara. You’re going to be doing a lot of the same things over and over again at times just to progress, and whilst there’s no denying that the gameplay itself is fun, a lack of variety in places might leave you wanting more.
Still, with secrets to uncover, new loots to be obtained, and all-new Snacks to unlock and add to your Pix-e Pedia (think Snack World’s version of a Pokédex), there really is plenty to work towards. There’s certainly a satisfying reward for all of your work and seeing the story play out is a blast; you’re just expected to have to grind a little bit in order to achieve it all.
One of my favourite things about Snack World was just how pretty it is, with the vibrant world brought to life with some sharp visuals that really show off the creativity in both the environmental and character design. I loved encountering all of the different monster of the world and seeing how their zany personality would shine through, whilst the boss battles could be a real spectacle too – it’s just a great looking game. It all runs really smoothly throughout and feels particularly impressive to play on the Nintendo Switch’s handheld mode, with the frame rate proving consistent (albeit at 30fps in dungeons). It’s just one super pretty looking game.
Snack World offers a vibrantly charming adventure that isn’t afraid to spice things up with its cutting sense of humour, whilst its addictive dungeon-crawling gameplay and clever use of ally monsters (that you even get the chance to control) makes it all the more enjoyable to play.
Don’t get me wrong, it is guilty of feeling a bit repetitive at times and it’s a real shame that multiplayer can’t be enjoyed throughout the entirety of your journey to save the Kindom of Tutti-Frutti, but these flaws certainly don’t stop Snack World from being a silly, satisfying, and charming escapade. Plus, you get to collect monsters… I mean, ‘Snacks’, to help you out on your journey… what more could you want?
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch