Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl – Gold is a charming little dungeon crawler set on a charming island continent. Battle your way through dungeons and collect as much loot as you can in order to upgrade your equipment, all the while helping to protect the kingdom and see to NPCs’ requests.
Snack World is very heavily focussed on its combat and looting system, delving into dungeons, fighting enemies and bosses, picking up the loot that they drop and heading back to town in order to buy and upgrade equipment. It’s a very satisfying gameplay loop that allows you to feel as though you are constantly progressing, despite how repetitive it may feel during long play sessions. If you complete each dungeon under certain conditions (e.g. not KO’d once, dealing the most damage out of your party, etc.), the king will also reward you with more treasure chests (what a generous king), rewarding you for your skills.
If you ever played Fantasy Life on Nintendo 3DS, you’ll instantly notice the similarities as that game was created by the same development team at Level-5. The combat feels a lot more involved in Snack World, with more special abilities and agile movements.
The weapon management aspect has its pros and cons, with the game simplifying it to a way that becomes somewhat meaningless. Each weapon has a bane, meaning that it’s effective against certain enemies. You’ll equip up to six weapons/shields known as ‘Jaras’ before setting out on a quest, and an icon at the bottom will tell you when to press ZR in order to swap to the most effective weapon. You also don’t need to do much planning prior to a mission as there is an “Equip All” option to simply equip the most effective gear for that specific mission. This ultimately takes a huge chunk of strategy away from the gameplay, but it does help for convenience.
Gameplay can grow repetitive, however I simultaneously always thought to myself, “just one more mission”. Collecting loot and using that to upgrade your Jaras and gear is such a satisfying feeling that becomes quite addictive with each chapter.
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There are only a few instances of HD Rumble, primarily in dungeons when you unlock a door. It’s a nice addition, but having feedback for the combat would have made the game’s primary action more dynamic. There is also no touchscreen which isn’t surprising from a gameplay perspective, but it would’ve been welcomed for the game’s consistent equipment and inventory management.
World / Level Design
The game features very basic exploration that doesn’t do much to break the mould. There are traps, locked doors and mysterious rooms but aside from that, it’s all very simplistic. The idea is to be able to easily jump in and out, focussing more on the fun of defeating enemies and looting. It’s not made to be complex, and that’s okay, but it’s another way that this game shows its humble 3DS beginnings. Each dungeon crawl has you fighting your way through small bite sized levels, perfect for pick up and play on the go, just like it was originally intended on Nintendo’s previous handheld.
The camera control is interesting, and not particularly in a favourable way. When in a dungeon, you can only rotate the camera clockwise 90 degrees back and forth and up and down. It created some moments where I had no choice but to either struggle to see what each enemy was unless I positioned the camera from a sky-view position or have myself running toward the camera which presented the same issue. The boss fights were the only time that the camera can be rotated a full 360 degrees and this was primarily due to majority of the boss arenas being circular without any interference.
The story is certainly a weak aspect of Snack World. There’s a main villain and his motives are entirely two-dimensional. The plot takes the occasional twist and turn, but I was never particularly surprised or intrigued by what was unfolding.
There is a surprising amount of sexual innuendo in the game that frankly, I just did not expect. It starts of subtle at first and then gradually ramps up to what you see below.
The game’s sense of character primarily comes in its charm. There are some outstanding food puns that had me smiling from ear-to-ear, such as the main villain ‘Sultan Vinegar’ and the dragon he’s attempting to resurrect ‘Smorg’, a pun of smorgasbord and ‘Smaug’ from The Hobbit… I presume. Occassional references outside of puns also hit the mark, including the game’s cheekily named coffee shop ‘Covfefe Café’.
Graphics / Art Direction
A remastering of a 3DS game can go one of two ways and thankfully, Snack World looks fantastic in both handheld and docked modes. While the graphics look to be greatly improved, the game’s scope remains the same, with graphics that look very much what you’d expect to see on a smaller screen. That’s not to be say it’s a bad thing, rather it actually comes across as cute.
The character designs are also impressively creative, making each feel distinct with their own charm. Their designs also accurately fit the personalities, leaving each to be memorable. The game teased a potential sequel and with these characters, I can see it happening and welcome it.
Music / Sound Design
The soundtrack is light and colourful, often reminding me of something I’d hear from a Pixar movie. Its tone shifts well and consistently evokes the intended emotions.
In terms of voice acting, it’s lacklustre. The game consistently breaks the fourth wall poking fun at this and there are the odd line or two in very infrequent cutscenes but aside from that, don’t expect much.
Final Score: 78%
Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl – Gold is dangerously addictive, quite like a good snack. You may find yourself mindlessly going through the motions at times and with it initially being developed for the Nintendo 3DS, its base limitations become glaringly obvious on the Switch. However, I would gladly welcome a sequel built from the ground up for the Switch… or a Fantasy Life 2; either-or.
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